The Joint Sessions of Workshops have been hosted annually in March or April in an array of different European cities since 1973. They have been referred to as the 'jewel in the crown' of the ECPR and are recognised as one of the major highlights of the world's political science calendar.
The workshops are designed to be a forum for substantive discussion on research in progress and collaboration among scholars. They are gatherings of approximately 15 to 20 participants from several different institutions, lasting for about 5 days. The topics of discussion are precisely defined, and only those scholars currently working in the workshop's field are invited to participate.
The main objective of the workshops is to facilitate and encourage participation, equality and collaboration between younger and newer members of the profession, advanced students, and well-established professors. In order to achieve this, the size of each workshop is strictly limited. Each participant is expected to be carrying out research in the field of the workshop, so that he or she is both able to present a paper or research document for discussion, and participate in the discussion of the other papers presented. Participants may attend only one workshop and should stay for the duration of the Joint Sessions. It is hoped that some of these workshops will lead to publications and the creation of permanent standing groups, in addition to continuing collaboration between members.