European Association for Public Administration Accreditation

PhD Pre-conference Seminar


Michiel S. de Vries, Institute for Management Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands 

E-mail: m.devries@fm.ru.nl

Iwona Sobis, School of Public Administration, Gothenburg University, Sweden
E-mail: iwona.sobis@spa.gu.se;

Term: May 18, 2016 and May 20, 2016


On May 18, 2016, the day before the NISPAcee conference begins, a PhD seminar will take place in the venue where the NISPAcee conference also takes place, enabling PhD students to present a paper and have these papers and presentations discussed in more detail concerning structure and content than sessions in the conference themselves allow. Senior researchers will participate as facilitators for the discussions. The goal of the seminar is to discuss with the students ways in which to improve their presentations and their papers.

On May 20, 2016 during the conference, a time-slot will be allocated to discuss topics related to writing a dissertation. This part of the seminar will discuss the preparation of a dissertation, formulating a relevant research question, putting the research question within a theoretical framework and conducting the necessary research in a valid and reliable way in order to answer the research question. It is not so much about writing everything down, but much more about a substantial discussion about what it needs to have the coherent structure of a dissertation and how to fill the gaps and what to do in order to avoid that the research plans fail. This part of the seminar is also open for discussing process-related issues and other pressing issues the PhD students themselves come forward with. Beforehand, PhD Students can put forward issues they would like to have discussed in this regard.


During the first part of this seminar, PhD students will receive information and advice from the Chairs and discuss how to improve the presentation of a paper and how to organise papers in such a way that these papers conform to the standards required to have them published. Hence, five sessions will be organised, during which PhD students learn how to improve their presentations and papers within a trusted environment. One of these sessions focuses on the structure of presentations; the second on the structure of the introduction and conclusion of papers; the third on the theoretical section; the fourth on the methods section and the last one on the section in which the outcomes are presented.

The second part of the seminar addresses topics related to writing a dissertation. This can involve issues related to substance as well as the writing process. In this part of the seminar PhD students present their research plans and/or listen to other PhD students presenting their research plans, discuss these amongst themselves in a closed and trusted environment and will receive advice from the Chairs. Depending on the number of participants, one or more time-slots will be reserved for this part of the seminar.

Application procedure and deadlines:

Applicants should complete an online application form (in English), include an abstract of a paper (maximum two pages - 3600 characters) and attach the actual CV file (maximum 2MB).

Selection conditions:

1. Being a PhD-student from the NISPAcee region.

2. Having a paper in the field of Public Administration the participant is willing to present and discuss or a draft of a research plan for a dissertation.

3. Interest in participating in the entire seminar.

4. Interest in taking a part in discussions about the papers and research plans of others.

5. Interest in reading at least one other paper or draft research plan beforehand.

Paper criteria:

All kinds of papers are accepted as long as they have an empirical component, be it a case study or a comparative study, and irrespective of whether it is a draft or a final version.

PhD students who submitted a paper proposal for other conference WGs/panels can also apply.

The selection results will be available by the end of November, 2015.

Full papers should be submitted by April 10, 2016.


All accepted students should register online for the conference and pay the relevant conference fees. There will be special reduced fees for PhD students with a paper presentation. Registered students can participate in other conference activities afterwards.

Online registration for the conference will be open in December 2015: