Programme Description 2013-2014

Below you will find a description and explanation of the structure and content of the different academic acitivities of the Max Weber Programme, current year. 

The activities of the Programme are designed to further strengthen the academic skills  of the postdoctoral fellows, while leaving ample time for individual research agendas, and are organized around two core themes: Multidisciplinary Research and Academic Practice

To develop and enhance the fellows' individual research agendas, each fellow is affiliated with one of the four EUI departments which provide a faculty member as mentor. 

The working language of the programme is English, hence, a series of activities are offered by the in-house (EUI) members of the FIESOLE Group under the umbrella Academic Communication Skills to meet the varied needs of the Max Weber Fellows. 

1-2 year Fellowships:

The Max Weber Programme offers 1- and 2-year fellowships.

In addition to the mentioned activities, the 2-year fellowships involve additional academic activities in the EUI departments, such as limited graduate teaching.

For the fellows who have been awarded a 2-year fellowship, in the first year the fellows will be primarily affiliated with the Max Weber Programme, and the activities are on the whole similar to the one year fellowship, with the exception that the job search is postponed to the second year, and the Teaching Module is expanded over the 2 years. In the second year the fellows are primarily affiliated with the Department, where they will further develop their training in research and teaching, possibly starting at the end of the first year. The fellow is expected to teach and mentor PhD students in the department for no more than a total of 30 hours over the 2 years. The fellows will also maintain their affiliation with the Max Weber Programme, being expected to participate in its multidisciplinary research activities.


Read the testimonial by Giunia Gatta: 

“The Max Weber Programme is a wonderfully unique institution in academia.

Where else will you find a team whose only job is to help you be successful? Sure, your departments have an interest in that when you are a graduate student and when you are faculty. But that is not their mission, or primary goal.

At Villa La Fonte, you are given an attractive office, an idyllic setting for thinking beautiful, pathbreaking thoughts.

You have plenty of colleagues to think with (a rarity, in postdoctoral programmes in the Social Sciences), and when the thoughts are down on paper, a professional team of language specialists to make sure your argument is as effective as it can be.

One day a week, you have the opportunity to wander from your own little garden of thoughts into a broader landscape of themes in Economics, Law, History, and the Social Sciences in general.

Or you may receive more practical training in curriculum development, time management, and the technicalities of job-finding. And one of the most beautiful cities in the world is just outside the door. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of all this.” 
Giunia Gatta, Max Weber Fellow, SPS, 2009-2010, 2010-2011 .

Multidisciplinary Research Activities

The Multidisciplinary Research Activiteis aim at improving the Max Weber Fellows’ multidisciplinary understanding of the four disciplines of the programme, and consist in: Max Weber Lectures, the Multidisciplinary Research Workshops and the Max Weber Conferences.

Max Weber Lectures (MWL)

The monthly Max Weber Lectures are delivered by distinguished scholars representing the four disciplines present in the programme. However, the programme aims at inviting scholars who have a special interdisciplinary focus which will be of broad academic interest to all members of the EUI community. These lectures are always at 17.00 and are followed by a cocktail.

Multidisciplinary Research Workshop (MRW)

The aim is to enhance multidisciplinary understanding between the disciplines present in the programme through participative workshops showing either how some new advances in a particular discipline can be of interest to other social sciences of humanities, or how different disciplines contribute to a better understanding of relevant issue. The workshops are organized by MWP in the 1st term and each Academic Practice Group will be responsible for one MRW during the 2nd and 3rd term. The sessions are based on input from an outside speaker, fellow or EUI faculty.

Max Weber Conferences

Each year the Max Weber Programme hosts at least three major conferences: an Academic Careers MWP Conference in the fall, a Classics Revisited MWP Conference in the winter, and in the spring a Social Issues for Social Sciences MWP Conference. Fellows are encouraged to participate actively in their organization.  

Academic Practice Activities

The Academic Practice Activities on the other hand are oriented towards reflecting on, and acquiring, the best standards in academic writing, presenting and teaching as well as in other key scholarly activities such as academic job search, grant application and management, and ethical issues. The Academic Practice Activities consist in: Academic Practice Workshops, Academic Communication Skills offerings (including disciplinary Writers’ Groups) and Academic Practice Groups.

Academic Practice Workshops (APW)

The APWs are divided into three modules with an individual focus on really developing to be internationally competitive. The modules overlap in time to allow for continuity and follow up sessions on activities within the discipline groups (APGs) and Academic Communication Skills (ACS) support within the programme. Currently the APWs are concentrating on three themes:

Academic Practice Groups (APG)

The Practice Groups are intended to complement the Practice Workshops and can serve as follow-up sessions on the workshops. They are discipline-bound and organized independently by the four discipline groups (ECO fellows, HEC fellows, LAW fellows & SPS fellows) and allow for more in-depth exchange of ideas and experiences. After a general introduction to their aims in the beginning of the academic year, each APG will arrange its own schedule, preferably Wednesdays at 2 pm.

Writers’ Groups (WG)

Writers' Groups is the third component of the Academic Practice Activities. See more below under the Academic Communication Skills.  


Academic Communication Skills

The various Academic Communication Skills offerings (ACS modules, tutorials, support for job market and teaching exchanges) are designed to meet the varied needs of the Max Weber Fellows. They are offered by the Academic Communications Staff/FIESOLE Group on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

Writers’ Groups (WG)

Writers’ Groups are an integrative part of the APW Publishing and Writing component of the programme.

Experience with postdocs and junior faculty in various contexts (UK, Australia etc.) shows that Writers’ Groups provide an effective setting for giving and obtaining peer feedback on the readability and effectiveness of texts before submitting them for publication, thus supporting the publishing process and helping to boost output. Groups (normally 4-5 fellows per group) are organised on a disciplinary basis according to fellows' writing aims for the year (publication of articles in peer-reviewed journals, book proposal plus monograph, etc.).

Facilitated by a writing expert (and practising academic) from the English Unit, groups meet once every three weeks and are aimed at both native and non-native speakers of English. For fellows on the job market, specific sessions in October-November will include support for job-market related writing.

Academic Communications Skills Modules

The ACS modules are designed to assist fellows in fine-tuning their academic communication skills in English.Two modules will be offered in 2013-14, focusing on (i) public speaking and presentation skills, and (ii) writing for publication.

(i) Public Speaking and Presentation Skills (3 sessions) 
This module is designed to assist fellows in improving the effectiveness of their spoken academic English in research and classroom settings, by focusing on aspects of verbal and non-verbal communication that contribute to successful communication in large-group settings, with particular attention to international audiences. The module will be tailored to specific problem areas emerging from September presentations and will provide opportunities for rehearsing and obtaining feedback. Non-native speakers of English may integrate this module with tutorial or small-group work focusing on specific segmental and prosodic features of spoken English.

(ii) Writing for Publication (4 sessions) 
This module focuses on structural, rhetorical and stylistic aspects of writing for academic journals, starting from targeting a specific journal to revising and dealing with referee feedback. A special session session will be dedicated to how corpus linguistics tools (concordancing software and disciplinary-specific corpora) can be used to support the writing process.


Weekly tutorials provide the opportunity for individual sessions with a member of the English Unit to discuss and revise writing in progress. These sessions can also be used to practice ‘dry runs’ of seminar/conference presentations or job talks, check slides, cover letters, etc. Fellows can also arrange for on-site observation and feedback on small and large-group teaching.


Page last updated on 04 September 2019

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