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Standing Groups and Research Networks

Standing Groups and Research Networks are an important and integral element of the ECPR and play a key role in delivering the mission of the organisation to its membership and wider community. The ECPR’s groups and networks provide a basis for the nurturing and development of all sub-fields of political science, whether broad or specialised, reflecting and helping to grow the diversity and inclusivity of the ECPR. 

Standing Groups and Research Networks operate as distinct groups with their own memberships but under the auspices of the ECPR. As such, they can organise and participate in a wide range of activities that enable them to develop and grow their field of research and offering to the scholarly community, and by association enable the ECPR to extend its reach beyond both its membership and traditional boundaries. 

Standing Groups organise significant sub-disciplinary areas or broad research themes over an indefinite time period; they have a sizeable membership base, and they offer a wide range of activities.

Research Networks organise relatively small sub-disciplinary areas or specialised research themes and can operate over a temporary lifespan, possibly testing the viability of a group before applying for Standing Group status.

As integral parts of the ECPR, groups and networks are formally embedded in the academic programmes of the Joint Sessions and General Conference and the editorial structure of the Political Research Exchange (PRX) journal. These formal structures allow Standing Groups and Research Networks not only to help shape the academic content of these important ECPR activities, but also to provide an outlet for research stimulated by the group and produced by its members. 

How to join

The ECPR has over 60 groups and networks covering a broad range of thematic areas; from the well-established Standing Groups on Gender and Politics, International Relations and the European Union, to the more recently formed Research Networks on Food Policy and Governance, Political Culture and Voting Advice Applications.

Membership to groups and networks is open to anyone with an interest in that field and with a MyECPR account. Scholars who are affiliated with an ECPR member institution can automatically join any group or network via the relevant pages on the website. Scholars who are not affiliated with an ECPR member institution can apply to join via the relevant pages but must have their application accepted by the Steering Committee of the group.

There is no compulsory charge to join a group, but some may ask for a voluntary donation to help support its activities. Group membership runs alongside the ECPR's membership year 1 October - 30 September. All members are asked to re-join groups on a biennial basis, through My ECPR.

Explore our Groups and Networks

How to establish

Any scholar affiliated to an ECPR member institution can propose the establishment of a new Standing Group or Research Network via the forms here. The application process requires both detail of the rationale behind the creation of the group and the commitment to join from at least 100 (for Standing Groups) and 20 (for Research Networks) scholars from member institutions. Further guidance can be found in the Framework for Standing Groups and Research Networks or by contacting the ECPR.

How we can help

The ECPR's groups and networks are governed by the Executive Committee and supported operationally by all departments at Harbour House to enable them to develop and deliver a range of activities. This support includes: 

  • The membership management platform held on the ECPR's secure servers, including an integrated messaging system allowing Steering Committees to communicate directly with members lists
  • A free WordPress website, fully branded in line with ECPR guidelines which can then be subsequently maintained by the Steering Committee
  • Financial support for groups and networks to hold their own events and to sponsor those of related organisations
  • Preferential treatment for Workshop and Section proposals endorsed by groups and networks
  • Provision of allocated time slots and meeting rooms providing opportunities for business meetings during the General Conference
  • Annual meetings of Steering Committee members with the Executive Committee and ECPR staff at both the General Conference and a dedicated 'Retreat' over two days at Harbour House
  • Full support of the Communications Department to publicise group activities and publications through email, online and social media

In April 2019 the ECPR published the revised Framework for Standing Groups and Research Networks, replacing the 2014 version. The 2019 Framework builds on the structure of the previous document, developing further the guidance around the governance and operations of both Standing Groups and Research Networks and their intrinsic role in delivering the mission of the organisation.