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Multidisciplinary Research

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The Multidisciplinary Research Activities aim at improving the Max Weber Fellows’ understanding of the four disciplines of the Programme.

In particular, we hope to lead Fellows to appreciate the distinctive contribution different disciplines may make to illuminating a given issue or problem, and - more ambitiously - to see the possible advantages and disadvantages of combining them in various ways within an interdisciplinary approach.

There is no requirement on Fellows to become either multi- or inter-disciplinary researchers. The claim is more modest - that we are more rounded intellectually and better researchers if we have a broad grasp of how a given issue or event might involve a wide range of factors that relate to each other in complex ways and appreciate how these can be explored and understood in an illuminating way from a number of disciplinary perspectives.

Multidisciplinary Research Activities


Max Weber Lectures (MWL)

The monthly Max Weber Lectures are given by leading scholars from around the world working in one or more of the four disciplines of the EUI. Attendance at the Lectures is compulsory for all Fellows.  The Programme aims to invite scholars who address topical issues from a multi or inter-disciplinary perspective that will appeal to the EUI academic community as a whole. The aim of these Lectures is to promote intellectual curiosity about the various ways we can study human societies. Hence, speakers should not be expected to be talking directly about the topics any particular Fellows might be researching themselves or to adopt certain methodologies they may be using. Some may do so, but most others will not. But as result, they will expand one's intellectual horizons. Check current MWL.

At least one of the lecturers will be related to each of the Thematic Research Groups (TRG), and every group will have an opportunity to organize a Master Class on the following day with the relevant lecturer. Most lecturers also do a videoed interview on their work with one or more of the Fellows. All lecturers will also be available to discuss the work of Fellows on an informal basis.

Occasional Lectures

The Max Weber Lectures have to be organised well in advance, with suggestions coming from Academic staff and former Fellows. The Occasional Lectures series allows current fellows to suggest speakers who work more directly on their topics and whom they feel may also be of interest to a broad group of Fellows, Professors and researchers. Suggestions should be made to the Director. Occasional Lectures can often be combined with Multidisciplinary Workshops.

Multidisciplinary Research  Workshops (MRW)

All Fellows have an opportunity to organize a day or half-day workshop or mini-conference involving other Fellows, possibly one or two external speakers, and often a number of EUI Faculty and researchers as well. Ideally, workshops should involve Fellows from more than one discipline. The deadline for proposals is in November.

Please check current deadlines at a glance.

Max Weber Conferences

Each year the Max Weber Programme hosts two major conferences: an Academic Careers Observatory (ACO) MWP Conference in winter, which focuses on funding opportunities and the changing career structures of universities; and the Social Issues for Social Sciences MW Fellows’ Conference in June where all current and a selection of former Fellows present their work, and which provides a suitable summing up of the research they have undertaken over the year.

The ACO-MWP Conference brings together an unparalleled group of European, national and international research funders. They will introduce Fellows to the funding programmes and offer advice on potential applications by them. We also bring in a team of experts on writing research proposals. Writing a draft executive summary of a Research Proposal is a compulsory part of the MWP, and Fellows are encouraged to take advantage of this conference for help with this important exercise.

Presenting at the June Conference  - either in a panel or through a Poster - is a requirement of the Programme. Fellows are encouraged to participate in the Conference’s organisation, including in the selection of external paper givers from among up to 20 former Max Weber Fellows and any Marie Curie Fellows who apply. The Organisation Committee can also select one of the plenary speakers, two others being the two honorary doctorands. This Conference offers an overview of what Fellows have been doing during the academic year, and an appropriate conclusion to the Max Weber Programme's activities.

Thematic Research Groups (TRG)

The core of the Programme’s multidisciplinary activities are the Thematic Research Groups (TRG). These groups are organized on a multidisciplinary basis and bring together Fellows from different disciplines working on a similar range of issues. The groups will meet regularly with the faculty members acting as Thematic Leads throughout the course of the academic year. The regular meetings of the groups will consist of presentations of work in progress and the discussion of more general research issues, such as the reading of key or recent works related to the group’s theme. All Max Weber Fellows must produce a Research Proposal and Working Paper, which they can present to their group.

Fellows not allocated to a TRG who would like either to join an existing TRG or suggest a new TRG are free to do so and should speak to the Director. Those already allocated to a TRG may also move to a new TRG or suggest an alternative grouping if they so wish.

Research Proposal

What we call the Research Proposal is a short proposal (typically between 2 and a maximum of 5 pages) conceived as the core section of a possible grant proposal. The Research Proposal is a highly recommended element of the Max Weber Programme. 

All academics will regularly have to write research proposals over the course of their careers, in many cases even to get internal funding from their own institution. Such proposals will often have to be written in English to allow for international peer review. Moreover, they may well be read in the first instance by a multidisciplinary group of selectors. First impressions can be crucial to the success of a research proposal being selected  for more expert peer review. The aim of this exercise is to help Fellows make their research stand out from the crowd and to present their key ideas in crisp and clear English. 

Many Fellows use the Research Proposal as the basis of a further post doctoral Fellowship application to the ERC or Marie Curie Programme or to a national funder, or as the Future Research section of a job application. We suggest Fellows take The Scientific Proposal of an ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grant as a model and do an abridged version. This should cover a shorter version of what is in the current ERC Guide for Applications as Part B2-Section 2: (a) State-of-the-art and objectives, (b) Methodology, and optionally (c) Resources. 

The Research Proposal should be discussed with your mentor and possibly at a session of the TRG. You can also get the advice of the Academic Communications Skills team. Fellows are also encouraged to attend the ACO Funders conference to get ideas and feedback there.

Working Papers

Working Papers (WP) are another compulsory part of the Max Weber Programme. They are a way of ensuring that all Fellows produce a piece of research of publishable quality that has benefited from peer feedback from both a substantive and formal (linguistic and presentational) point of view. We are aware that not all disciplines use the WP format to the same degree; Fellows are therefore invited to view the requirement flexibly as an occasion to produce draft articles or book chapters if these are more appropriate formats in their fields. We would like to see WP(s) appear in the EUI’s open-access repository Cadmus, as this will not only insure that they will be widely disseminated but also provide a concrete output of the research undertaken by Fellows during their time in the Programme. However we appreciate that some Fellows may wish the WP not to be made public, and if adequately motivated this is also an option.

Working papers can be submitted at any time between September and the end of December. Fellows should start work on their papers early in the year, presenting them in the context of their Thematic Group and using the Academic Skills offerings to support their presenting and writing. At least one WP must be sent to Alyson Price no later than 31 March, who will forward it to your mentor/thematic  group convenor for approval.

Extensions are granted in exceptional circumstances; if necessary, please contact Dorothee Bohle.

Working Paper Process

•     present your WP in your thematic group or in an Academic Practice group

•     send your WP to Alyson at any time but no later than 31 March 

•     expect feedback from your mentor/convenor

•     respond to feedback

•     send your final version to Alyson Price for editing

•     accept/reject editing suggestions and return your final version to Alyson

•     paper formatted for Cadmus, you sign off on the final copy

•     your paper appears on Cadmus within a few days

If, for well motivated reasons, you would prefer your paper to go into the Red Number Series, which does not appear on Cadmus, contact Alyson as early in the process as possible. 

Page last updated on 14 October 2019