Early Career Network

The Political Studies Association (PSA) is committed to supporting the next generation of political academics through its Early Career Network. The PSA Early Career Network (ECN) exists to represent the interests of postgraduate students, post doctoral researchers and early career academics within the PSA. It opens a space that specifically addresses the interests and needs of postgraduates and early career researchers in an independent, peer-based environment; while still getting support and guidance from the Executive Committee of the PSA when required.

Membership of the ECN consists of members of the PSA between the period that an individual has started a doctoral degree and three years after the completion of a doctoral viva. All graduate students and early career researchers who join the PSA automatically become members of the ECN.


Early Career Network: 2018 Conference

The Early Career Network will be holding their annual one day conference on Thursday 28 June at University of Sheffield''s Student Union. 

At home and abroad, the political landscape is increasingly characterised by division. In the UK, the 2017 General Election saw a return to two-party politics. Labour, led by its most left-wing leader in decades, presented an unapologetically socialist manifesto. The Conservative Party, under Theresa May, made an ostensible return to a more Burkean conservatism, which commentators like John Gray hailed ‘the end of neoliberalism’. Rumours of a ‘youthquake’ competing against an ageing pro-Brexit population highlighted the division between younger and older voters, whilst a clear cultural divide exists between provincial towns and big cities. For David Goodhart, the UK is becoming more divided along the lines of ‘Somewheres’ and ‘Anywheres’. Internationally, divisions characterise the political cultures of the USA, France, Germany and Italy among others. In each of them is evidence of conflicting attitudes to borders and immigration, debates about protectionism and free trade, and the balancing of regionalism, nationalism and internationalism. Brexit has, more than anything, cast a spotlight on the sustainability of the European Project in general, and the stretched social fabric of its constituent nations in particular.

The ECN conference is an opportunity for early career researchers to showcase and develop innovative ongoing research, to gain feedback from established academics as well as a supportive peer group, and to engage in networking with colleagues at varying stages of their career.

Click here to purchase tickets for the event. Registration starts from 09.30 and the event runs from 10.00 - 17.00. 


Early Career Network: £10 Membership for PhD Students and Early Career Academics

For PhD students and early career academics within three years of their viva, membership of the PSA is now only £10 through our Early Career Network (ECN).

Please select Early Career Network from the membership product dropbox when you join here

The PSA’s Early Career Network is committed to promoting the interests of postgraduate, postdoctoral and early career academic members. The ECN supports its members as they navigate the precarious life of academia, from studying to early research and teaching.

Join the Political Studies Association now for just £10


If you were already a member of the PGN do not worry, you will automatically become a member of the new ECN which will continue to work to represent your interests. 

In the meantime, the new ECN Committee want to hear from post-graduate, post-doctoral and early career members of the PSA. We are keen to be as responsive as possible to the needs of our members and want to hear from you at this inception stage of the ECN's development.

If you fit this profile please take some time to complete this survey


The ECN is run by a committee consisting of early career scholars, headed by a Chair who serves as a member of the PSA Executive Committee. The ECN receives a grant from the Political Studies Association each year. This grant, together with the voluntary work undertaken by committee members, enables the ECN to undertake various activities to fulfil its goals. Some of the benefits of ECN membership include:

  • Annual Graduate Conference - A postgraduate conference is organised annually and provides an opportunity for graduate students to showcase their research, to develop communicative skills and to network beyond their area of specialisation.
  • Travel grants - ECN members are eligible to apply to the PSA's travel grant scheme which enables young scholars and graduate students to present papers at overseas national PSA conferences.
  • Access Fund – ECN members are able to apply to the access fund to help attend the PSA's Annual Conference.
  • Social Media - Stay in touch via the Facebook group and Twitter account. Social networking provides a way for members to stay in contact with one another and to seek advice from members of the community as well as to advertise events/calls for papers that may be of interest to other members.
  • e-Newsletter - ECN Members receive a monthly e-Newsletter outlining news, updates, events, and information specifically tailored to the PSA’s postgraduate and early career membership. You can access previous e-Newsletters here.

On this website, you will be able to find up-to-date information about the ECN, future events, publications, conference notices and general advice. 

All postgraduates and early career academics can join the Political Studies Association at a reduced rate, which includes Early Career Network Membership.

To publicise relevant opportunities and events, please contact Jessica Smith, the ECN's Communications Officer.