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Programme Description

About the Programme

The Max Weber Programme is the largest international and most innovative postdoctoral programme in the Social Sciences and Humanities in Europe. It offers around 60 fully funded Fellowships to suitably qualified researchers from anywhere in the world who work in or across the relevant disciplines of the EUI (Economics, History, Law and Social and Political Sciences and their subfields). The working language of the Programme is English.

The aim of the MWP is to provide Fellows with the experience of membership of a vibrant academic community, to which they make a central contribution. It is unique in offering a structured Programme covering all aspects of an academic career, including support for academic writing in English, applying for research grants, the opportunity to teach in some of Europe’s leading universities and to develop a strategy for a successful approach to the academic labour market.

The activities of the Programme are designed to further strengthen the academic skills of the MW Fellows, while leaving ample time for individual research, and are organized around two core themes: multidisciplinary research and academic practice

The Departments and Mentors

Each Fellow is attached to either a Department or the RSC, some to both, and is allocated a mentor within this unit. Departments and different fields operate in different ways, some having closer and others looser involvement with Fellows. However, at a minimum you can expect to see your mentor at least twice a term, and they should ensure you can regularly attend, and ideally present your research at, the appropriate departmental seminars, and become more generally involved in the life of the department. Mentors should also read and comment on the Working Paper and research proposal and offer career advice concerning publication strategies and job and grant applications. There are also a number of working groups that Fellows are encouraged to join, some operating across departments, like the Legal and Political Theory Workshop, and others more associated with a given department, although not excluding members of other departments, such as the Colloquium on Political Behaviour. These working groups also offer a forum to interact with PhD researchers.

Fellows who have been awarded an extension of the Fellowship are primarily affiliated with their departments during their second year. 

Economics applicants are all awarded two-year Fellowships, while Fellows in other disciplines may apply for a limited number of second year extensions in their first year.The two-year Fellowships involve additional academic activities in the EUI departments, such as limited graduate teaching.

Fellows who have been awarded a two-year Fellowship are primarily affiliated with the Max Weber Programme in the first year and follow more or less the same programme as the one-year Fellows. However, the job search is postponed to the second year and the Teaching Module is expanded over the two years.

In the second year, the Fellows are primarily affiliated with a Department, where they further develop their training in research and teaching. 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.

Second-year Fellows also maintain their affiliation with the Max Weber Programme and are expected to participate in its multidisciplinary research activities.

Multidisciplinary Research

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.

Max Weber Lectures (MWL)
The monthly Max Weber Lectures are given by distinguished scholars from the four disciplines of the EUI. The Programme aims at inviting scholars who address topical issues from an interdisciplinary perspective that will appeal to the EUI academic community as a whole. Attendance at the Book Roundtables is compulsory for all Fellows.

At least one of the Lecturers is related to each of the EUI Interdisciplinary Research Clusters (IRC). All Lecturers are also available to discuss the work of Fellows on an informal basis.

Max Weber Book Roundtables (MWBR)
The Max Weber Book Roundtables introduce major new works in one or several of the four disciplines of the EUI. Attendance at the Book Roundtables is compulsory for all Fellows. The Programme aims to invite scholars who have written major works that we think will influence the intellectual debate for some time to come. The Book Roundtable will involve the author(s), one or several members of the wider EUI community and one or more Max Weber Fellow to discuss the work. We strive to have at least one of the books related to each of the Research Clusters. We also strive to have the authors do a ‘behind the scenes’ session with Fellows where they talk about the process of writing and publishing the book. Finally, we also hope that most authors will do a videoed interview on their work with one or more of the Fellows.

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.

Interdisciplinary Research Clusters (IRC)
The establishment of interdisciplinary research clusters is a new initiative at the EUI, through which the Institute seeks to further increase its strong impact on research conducted in the Social Sciences and Humanities in Europe. The clusters are centred around a topical societal interest; they are broad enough to allow diversity between and within disciplines; and they carry substantial policy relevance, especially in the EU context. The various activities within the clusters will be focused on the presentation and discussion of research. The clusters are led by two or more Professors of different Departments, and they will bring together Professors, fellows and researchers from across the institute.

Fellows who have not yet indicated their preference and would like to join a cluster, can decide this at the beginning of the Academic Year. Those who would like to join a different cluster than that indicated on their application are also free to do so. In both cases, Fellows should inform the MWP of their choices.

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.

Writing for Publication - Draft Publication
The Draft Publication (DP) is another compulsory part of the Max Weber Programme. This is 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. Fellows are invited to view the requirement flexibly as an occasion to produce draft articles, book chapters or working papers.

The MWP supports Fellows’ writing throughout the year. We expect Fellows to select out of their work one DP to submit to the programme by 31 March. The Draft Publications will receive the internal stamp of quality from the Fellows’ mentors and editing by the MWP. If Fellows wish, they can opt at this point to publish on the EUI’s open-access repository Cadmus, insuring their work is widely disseminated and providing a concrete output of the research undertaken by Fellows during their time in the Programme. Instead, if Fellows publish outside the EUI we ask that the MWP is both informed of the publication and credited within it. The Cadmus option remains open to Fellows up until three years after their submission of the DP to the MWP.

DPs are listed by Fellows in the MWP Annual Report and we encourage Fellows to submit information about their publications to the MWP Newsletter.

A Draft Publication can be submitted at any time between September and the end of December. At least one DP must be sent to Alyson Price no later than 31 March who will forward it to your mentor for approval. Extensions are granted in exceptional circumstances; if necessary, please contact Juho Härkönen.

Page last updated on 07/11/2023

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