Held between the 13 to 24th July (2020), #BecauseTheInternet was the PSA’s first fully online conference organised by our Early Career Network. It brought together 249 PhD Students and early-career researchers to network, present their research, to receive feedback, and to engage in a number upskilling workshops.

A range of presentations given at the conference are archived on the Early Career Network’s Youtube Channel for you to access.

The conference has been a highlight of the PSA’s programme of work this year. PSA Chair Roger Awan-Scully commented that:

“While Covid-19 meant that the ECN conference could not go ahead in its normal format, it is greatly to the credit of the leadership of the network that they responded to these difficult circumstances in such a positive way. The online virtual conference was an enormous success, and could well offer a valuable template to the whole academic community for how these things can be done"

PSA Chief Executive Michelle Doyle Wildman added:

“It was brilliant for the PSA Team to be able to support so many ECRs in this initiative. I loved the format where high-quality presentations could be enjoyed at the time of my choosing. And being able to comment on far more panels than I would have managed at a traditional conference was very compelling! Congratulations to the PSA ECN Committee and to everyone who took part.”

As part of this conference the Early Career Network Committee hosted a virtual prize giving to highlight significant contributions and academic excellence from the participants. These awards were a result of discussant and committee nominations.

The following prizes were awarded:

Best Paper Awards:

  • Best Overall Paper – Antonia Vaughan (University of Bath)
  • Best Paper in Political Theory – Saptadeepa Banerjee (University of Calcutta)
  • Best Paper in International Relations – Sophie Crowe (Queen Mary University)
  • Best Paper in Political Science – Thomas Ron (University of York)


Special Awards:

  • Best Overall Contribution – Ellen Watts (LSE)
  • Most Innovative Use of Video – Vanessa Sant’Anna (University of Vienna)
  • International Contribution Award – Obafemi Awolowo University (Abdulmalik Adesola Rufai, Boluwalife Ajibola Solomon, Damilola Temitope Olorunshola and Mayowa M. Adeniji
  • Best First Year Paper – Alice Sibley (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Outstanding Relevance to Recent Events – jointly awarded to Kelly Kennedy (University of York) and Sylvia Nissen & Raven Cretney (Lincoln University, NZ)


For paper details and judges commentary read the ECN’s award’s twitter thread here.

The Political Studies Association (PSA) is committed to supporting the next generation of political scientists through its Early Career Network (ECN). The PSA ECN exists to represent the interests of postgraduate students, postdoctoral 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.

You can be a member of the PSA’s ECN from when you started a doctoral degree until three years after the completion of a doctoral viva. Only £20 a year Membership – it’s a full PSA membership, at a reduced price. Click here to join.