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Event Fees and Funding Policy

Background

This Event Fees and Funding Policy aims to provide a clear and transparent framework to event and membership fee and grant/funding setting.

The ECPR is an institutional membership association which, from 2020, organises five annual events held across Europe for the benefit of both its membership and the wider community, as well as many other events organised by its standing groups and research networks. A key benefit of membership is a discount on the fee an individual scholar pays to attend an ECPR event. Over the years, as the events portfolio has grown and the individual events have developed, each has established its own distinct pricing and member-discount structure. As a result, a degree of inconsistency and inequity had developed, which the Executive Committee has sought to address through this policy.

Financial support is provided by the ECPR to enable a number of graduate students and early-career scholars each year to attend its events. As with event fees, the funding pot available for each event had developed to a certain extent in isolation to the others, which has again led to some inconsistencies and opportunities for review and improvement in the provision offered.

Underpinning all of this is the annual institutional membership fee which sets differentiated pricing for a number of geographical regions; this pricing structure had not been reviewed for some time so was included in the project also.

Process

The Executive Committee delegated the task of reviewing membership and event fees and the grant funding it provides to its Finance Subcommittee (FSC), chaired by David Farrell and working in conjunction with Finance Manager Helen Morgan.

To inform this review, analysis was carried out into the membership pricing structure and related benefits afforded by seven other learned societies operating in the field.[1] By calculating the average number of active individuals per member institution we were able to establish a membership fee per individual, which could then be used to draw comparisons with the other associations, which are all primarily individual membership-based. We found that not only is ECPR in the mid-range for individual membership fee, but when calculating the actual cost of attendance of other society events (membership fee + discounted membership rate) the cost to attend the General Conference as an ECPR member was the second cheapest, with discounts available for members ranging from 23% to 47%; with ECPR at 33%.

Using these and other data, the FSC reviewed all areas identified above and submitted a series of proposals and financial models to the EC at its plenary meetings in March and then September 2019, where the final policy was approved.

Key outcomes

The project led to a series of key revisions to existing policies and the development of some new guidelines and frameworks. The key outcomes are as follows:

Event fees reviewed and rationalised

A simplified model for applying the discounts to event fees has been developed. Each year a standard non-member fee per event will be set by the FSC, from which a member, student non-member, and student member discount will then be applied. The same discounts will be applied to all events and will increase each year, which based on current financial projections could reach in 2022-23: 35%, 50% and 85% for students, members and student-members respectively.

Applying the principle of the standard, non-member rate, the disparity between the cost to attend the General Conference and Joint Sessions was evident. The fees have been reviewed and a pricing model developed with the aim of reaching parity in both the base (non-member) event fee and the discounts applied to members, students and student-members between the two events by 2025. The General Conference non-member rate will increase by ECB plus 5% during this period and ECB only in 2025; while the Joint Sessions non-member rate will be reduced gradually each year to bring them in line. The impact of providing the discount proposals is that, in effect, the rate for members at the GC should remain unchanged throughout the period, while the rate for students from member institutions should reduce radically.

Membership fees reviewed and rationalised

A simplified model for institutional membership fees has been developed, set on a base Full Member (Western Europe) fee from which discounts for Associate Member and members from middle- and low-income European Countries will be applied.

We will no longer set a separate UK membership fee in GBP; instead all fees will be calculated and displayed in Euro, which gives flexibility for institutions to pay in any currency.

The category of ‘Central and Eastern European Membership’ and the set of countries included within it was defined some considerable time ago. Over this period the economic situation in many of countries both within this category and others has changed and it was felt that a review was needed to ensure all lower- and middle-income countries are afforded the same opportunities to participate in ECPR events and activities. In order to establish a benchmark applicable to the discipline, the Finance Subcommittee looked at IPSA’s Global South category, which is based on World Bank data. Comparing this to the ECPR’s European membership the FSC identified a revised set of countries which should qualify for a discounted rate. Since the geographical positioning of this group has shifted, the new discounted rate will be called Full Member – Mid- and Lower-income Europe. This new category includes the following countries.

Armenia
Belarus
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria
Georgia
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyz Republic
Kosovo
Macedonia
Moldova
Montenegro
Romania
Russian Federation
Serbia
Turkey
Ukraine

Eleven countries included in the current CEE category will no longer be eligible for a discounted rate under the new model, these include:

Albania
Croatia
Czech Republic
Estonia
Hungary
Latvia
Lithuania
Poland
Slovakia
Slovenia

For those countries no longer eligible to receive the CEE discount, the membership fee will be increased at 10% increments per annum to help mitigate the impact and continue to encourage their participation.

Membership fee waivers for member institutions hosting an ECPR event have been re-introduced – hosts will not pay a membership fee in the year during which they host an event.

Event participant funding centralised and increased

Participant funding is no longer to be considered a cost to each separate event; instead a centralised event funding budget has been created, to be administered by the Organisation Subcommittee (responsible for membership, as opposed to the event-specific subcommittees) thus ensuring that event funding is seen more clearly as a membership benefit.

As a result of centralising the funding streams, the overall budget for funding participants (early career colleagues and graduate students) to attend ECPR events was reviewed and increased from €44,525 to €95,000 from 2020, across all events (including the Futures Lab).

Eligible participants will now also have their registration/course fee waived as well as receiving funding to cover their actual travel and accommodation costs, rather than an arbitrary/standard amount. Together, these revisions will greatly enhance the amount each recipient receives and the overall value of each grant to them.

The number of funding grants a member institution can receive from the ECPR each year has been increased from a total of two per year, to two per event per year. This means that from 2020 (with the creation of the Futures Lab) a member will be eligible to receive up to ten grants per year.

New funding streams created

The ECPR has created a new funding stream, which will ring-fence 10% of any annual surplus for new funding activities (in addition to those listed above) to be set each year by the Executive Committee at its March meeting. Activities identified for 2020 are:

  • A ‘Rising Star Award’ to support an outstanding PhD student without access to other funds, to participate for a year in ECPR activities;
  • An ‘Active Participation’ award, providing one year’s free membership to the ECPR member who had the highest affiliate attendance at key ECPR events proportionate to size, in the prior year; and
  • A Research project grant for a Standing Group or Research Network.

An Anniversary Fund has been created to which individuals and institutions can donate, with a seed fund of £10,000.

Review

The Policy as a whole will be implemented from January 2020 and will be reviewed in 2024.

[1] The study looked at the individual annual membership fee; range of benefits offered for that fee; standard non-member rate to attend their annual conference; and the member discount applied to that rate. The societies included in the study were: American Political science Association (APSA), International Political Science Association (IPSA), UK Political Studies Association (PSA), European Political Science Association (EPSA), UACES (The Academic Association for Contemporary European Studies), Council for European Studies (CES), and the British International Studies Association (BISA).


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