2016 Graduate Student Conference, Tartu 

The sixth ECPR Graduate Student Conference took place at the University of Tartu between the 10-13 July 2016. Nearly 350 participants took part in some 73 panels across 30 sections over four days. For many, this would be their first taste of an academic conference or an ECPR event, and we hope they were not disappointed. The event started on a high note with a Viking Icelandic chant to the long life of the local hosts, led by ECPR Executive Committee member Olafur Th. Hardarson, followed by a fascinating plenary lecture by Chrstian Welzel, which tested Evolutionary Emancipation Theory (EET) as an explanation for why people are less likely to wish to sacrifice their own, and others’ lives in war. The welcome address also included contributions from the University of Tartu’s Vice-Rector for Development, Erik Puura and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Raul Eamets as well as the founder of political science in Estonia and Professor Emeritus, Rein Taagepera. Video of the full welcome address, including the plenary lecture can be found on the University of Tartu’s website

Alongside a high quality academic programme, ran a series of roundtables, of which two looked at key isuses facing young scholars – how to get published and how to write a research proposal. These events were recorded and are also on the University of Tartu website to watch back.  The third roundtable took a regional perspective on an international issue, studying relations between Russia and the West from a Baltic point of view.

A number of social events were organised throughout the conference to help participants feel at home and make those essential first contacts in the profession. These included watching the Europe 2016 football final and a boat trip on the Emajõgi river, but the highlight was undoubtedly the Estonian food event at the AHHAA Science Centre. Participants were not only treated to a delicious array of Estonian delicacies, but full access to the science centre – see photos from this unique evening in the gallery above.

Just before the Conference proper got underway participants also had the opportunity to extend their time in Tartu and get a taster of the ECPR’s acclaimed methods training via a series of short courses run on the 10 July. Three courses were on offer:

Cross-National Survey Data and Analysis, Irena Vipavc Brvar   
Process-Tracing, Hilde Van Meegdenburg  
Interpretive Methodologies and Methods: Introduction and Overview, Dvora Yanow


Thanks go to all participants who made the trip to Estonia and this event such a great success; and to the wonderful organisation and hospitality of Vella Pettai, his team and the University of Tartu.



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