During the two days of the CIVICA Research Conference, nine doctoral and post-doctoral researchers across the alliance were selected to present their research to an audience of fellow academics and CIVICA community members. The final prizes for the best posters were awarded to Catherine Lefèvre, EUI Max Weber Fellow, and Masahiro Suzuki, PhD researcher at CEU.
"Since joining the EUI, I have heard about CIVICA and its initiatives and events that benefit PhD students and early career academics like myself," shared Lefèvre. More specifically, what motivated her to join the conference was that it focused on some of the key issues that are currently affecting Europe and the world. "The conference offered a great opportunity to discuss these topics and to learn more about areas unrelated to our research, helping young scholars like myself stay up to date with current affairs."
Lefèvre’s winning poster, ‘From Détente to Debt - Creditors in the Eastern European Sovereign Debt Crisis’, presented the research she has carried out over the last six years on the role of the UK government and UK banks in the development of the Eastern European sovereign debt during the 1970s. "It highlights how the UK, as a creditor country, contributed by prioritising its own political agenda despite evidence that this approach led to an unsustainable cycle of debt for Eastern European countries," she explained.
In the poster, Lefèvre featured snippets from the archival files that she used for her research, along with diagrams explaining the links between political and economic actors. She also included a historical map of Europe from the Cold War era, which serves as both an eye-catching illustration, but also a visual reference for anyone unfamiliar with the geography of the time.
"The poster competition was unique in that it required participants to present their research in a different format. This encouraged the development of new skills and challenged us to think about the visual elements of the posters and how to attract wider interest to our research topic," Lefèvre said. She also appreciated seeing other participants’ posters and learning more about their research, as well as how they approached this challenge.
"As the next generation of academics, every PhD scholar and early career academic should be aware of and engage with the current issues affecting the social sciences and academia, in Europe and in the wider global context. The CIVICA Research Conference offers the chance to learn and talk about these issues through a wide range of discussion panels and social events."
With eight panel sessions and one plenary lecture, the first CIVICA Research Conference featured 30 panellists from across the alliance and beyond, and hosted more than 100 participants both on-site and online.
The CIVICA Research Conference is organised in the framework of CIVICA - The European University of Social Sciences. CIVICA brings together eight leading European higher education institutions in the social sciences to mobilise and share knowledge as a public good and to facilitate civic responsibility in Europe and beyond.