EUROPEAN CONSORTIUM FOR POLITICAL RESEARCH

FRAMEWORK FOR STANDING GROUPS AND RESEARCH NETWORKS

General

  1. One of the constitutional objectives of the ECPR is to make it easier for political scientists throughout Europe to engage in co-operative advanced research, training and research-led teaching (Art 4 Constitution). Among the instruments to advance this goal are ECPR Standing Groups and ECPR Research Networks.
  2. Constitutionally, Standing Groups and Research Networks are Committees established by the ECPR Executive Committee (Art 24 Constitution). As such, Standing Groups and Research Networks have no independent legal status; they are integral parts of the ECPR and must conform to the rules laid out in this framework, to the ECPR Constitution, and to UK Charity Law.
  3. Standing Groups organise significant subdisciplines or broad research themes over a longer time period; they have a sizeable membership base, and they offer a range of activities.
  4. Research Networks are more specialised, and/or have fewer members, and/or are more limited in terms of the range of activities, and/or of a temporary nature, for example to test the viability of a group before applying for Standing Group status.

Establishment and Termination

Standing Groups

  1. Any individual who is affiliated to an ECPR (full or associate) member institution is entitled to propose the establishment of a Standing Group.
  2. A standard form is available from ECPR Central Services to propose a Standing Group. The information required includes a description of the subdiscipline/thematic field to be covered, with an explanation as to why a new Standing Group is needed in addition to already existing groups; a description of the activities planned; an indication of the Standing Group’s governing structure; and the names of at least 100 scholars from ECPR (full or associated) member institutions in at least five countries who want to become members of the proposed Standing Group.
  3. The proposal is forwarded to the Convenors of all existing Standing Groups, who are asked to give their advice within a month.
  4. On the basis of the proposal and any comments received from existing Standing Groups’ convenors, the ECPR Executive Committee decides whether to establish a new Standing Group.
  5. If a Standing Group is insufficiently active, and/or has fewer than 100 members from ECPR member institutions in at least five countries, and/or does not comply with the rules laid out in this framework, the ECPR Executive Committee will contact the Standing Group’s Steering Committee to discuss the prospects for the Standing Group. Ultimately, the Executive Committee may decide to terminate the Standing Group.
  6. Standing Groups are established for 10 years, after which they must be reaccredited.

Research Networks

  1. Any scholar who is affiliated to an ECPR (full or associated) member institution is entitled to propose the establishment of a Research Network.
  2. A standard form is available from ECPR Central Services to propose a Research Network. The information required includes a description of the subject area covered, a description of the types of activities planned, the time period for which the Research Network is intended, and the names of at least 20 scholars from ECPR (full or associated) member institutions who want to join the proposed Research Network.
  3. On the basis of the proposal the ECPR Executive Committee will take a decision on the establishment of the proposed Research Network.
  4. Failure to comply with the rules laid out in this framework may lead the Executive Committee to terminate the Research Network.
  5. Research Networks are established for a period of max. 10 years, after which they must be reaccredited.

Membership

  1. Scholars who are affiliated to an ECPR member institution have the right to join any Standing Group or Research Network that is relevant to their research or teaching interests. They can join a Standing Group or Research Network through their MyECPR account on the ECPR website.
  2. Scholars who are not affiliated to an ECPR member institution may apply for membership of a Standing Group or Research Network if they are actively interested in the field covered by that Standing Group or Research Network. They apply through their MyECPR account and a decision is made by the relevant Standing Group’s Steering Committee or Research Network Convenor.
  3. Annually, members of Standing Groups and Research Networks will be asked to re-register.
  4. A decision whether or not to charge an annual fee for Standing Group and Research Network membership will be taken after the five-year evaluation of this framework. Until such a decision is taken, Standing Groups and Research Networks are free to decide for themselves whether or not to charge a membership fee. If they decide to do so, the fee charged of scholars who are affiliated to ECPR member institutions should be substantially less than the fee charged of scholars who are not thus affiliated. Membership of Standing Groups and Research Networks charging fees becomes active only after payment has been received.
  5. The Standing Group’s Steering Committee or Research Network Convenor has access to the membership list of the Standing Group or Research Network for internal purposes only. A person’s membership can only be made public (e.g. through publication of the membership list on the Standing Group or Research Network’s website) if that person gives permission to do so when registering/applying.

Governance

  1. As long as a Standing Group has not adopted its own constitution and filed a copy with ECPR Central Services, its governance is regulated by the Default Standing Group Constitution (see Appendix).
  2. To be valid, such a constitution should minimally contain:
    1. Provisions for the existence of a Steering Committee of at least three persons. The majority of the Steering Committee is affiliated to ECPR (full or associated) member institutions, including a Convenor who serves as main liaison with the ECPR, and, depending on Art 26, a Treasurer.
    2. Provisions for the election of Steering Committee members by and from the Standing Group membership for a term no longer than three years (renewable);
  3. Standing Groups can have Sections devoted to subfields within the general remit of the Standing Group. If such Sections exist within a Standing Group, the Standing Group’s constitution should also include provisions on the relationship between the Sections within the Standing Group and the Standing Group.
  4. A Research Network should have at least one Convenor/Treasurer.

Finances

  1. Standing Groups are eligible to apply for ECPR grants. Any such grants or other income is to be spent on legitimate Standing Group activities; Standing Groups are not expected to contribute financially to the ECPR, except through reimbursement of the cost of particular services provided at request.
  2. All financial transactions of Standing Groups and Research Networks must take place through an account opened by the ECPR. No bank account will be opened for Standing Groups and Research Networks that inform the ECPR Treasurer that they do not anticipate any financial transactions and will forfeit any income nevertheless received to the ECPR; in such cases the Standing Group or Research Network need not have a Treasurer (Art. 22).
  3. The Standing Group Treasurer or Research Network Treasurer has full access to his/her Standing Group’s account and is accountable to both the Standing Group/Research Network membership and to the ECPR Treasurer for the account.
  4. For accountancy purposes, all Standing Group/Research Network funds should pass through their account as they are received, expended, or invested.
  5. In addition to the Standing Group Treasurer, the ECPR Director holds signature authority over the Standing Group account. This is to take care of unforeseen circumstances, but will not be exercised in any way inconsistent with the relationship between ECPR Central Services and the Standing Groups.
  6. The prior approval of the ECPR Treasurer or ECPR Director is required for any single expenditure of more than €3,000 and for any contract involving long-term financial obligations and/or obligations in excess of €3,000.

Liaison with the ECPR

  1. There will be an annual meeting of Standing Group and Research Network Convenors with representatives of the ECPR Executive Committee.
  2. The ECPR Executive Committee makes funds available to support selected Standing Group activities.
  3. The ECPR Executive Committee consults Standing Groups and, where appropriate, Research Networks in the planning of Panels at General Conferences and Graduate Student Conferences, and Workshops at ECPR Joint Sessions and Research Sessions.
  4. ECPR Central Services supports Standing Groups and Research Networks through the provision of membership lists, a bank account, and a website (subsequently to be maintained by the Standing Group/Research Network).
  5. ECPR Central Services provides advice on Standing Group/Research Network activities. Subject to mutual agreement, ECPR Central Services may provide further support such as conference registration, against reimbursement of the costs of such support.
  6. Standing Groups and Research Networks are free to organise conferences, summer schools, establish awards, issue newsletters, publish journals or engage in any other activity that they deem useful to further the purposes of the Standing Group/Research Network, under the general constraint of Art.2 of this framework.
  7. Standing Groups and Research Networks may set up their own website displaying the ECPR logo, as long as the website contains a link back to the ECPR website.
  8. The Standing Group/Research Network Treasurer is required to submit an annual statement of account for income and expenditure to the ECPR Treasurer. A standard form will be available.
  9. The Steering Committee/Convenor is required to submit an annual report on the Standing Group’s/Research Network’s activities to the ECPR Executive Committee. A standard form will be available.
  10. Notwithstanding Art.9, the Executive Committee has the authority to suspend Steering Committee members/Convenors, when their actions are in breach of UK Charity Law and/or ECPR regulations and constitute an urgent threat to the interests of the Consortium. In such cases, the Executive Committee informs the Standing Group/Research Network’s membership and calls for new elections of the Steering Committee/Convenor.

TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

  1. Upon its publication, this Framework replaces any prior rules regarding Standing Groups, including the ECPR Standing Groups Guidelines and Procedures (SG GAP).
  2. Standing Groups existing at the time of publication of this framework must comply with the provisions within this framework as soon as possible.
    1. All Standing Group members will be required to have a MyECPR account, through which they will be asked within six months of the facility becoming available, to register their Standing Group membership;
    2. Any membership fees set by Standing Groups will first be charged for the first calendar year following publication of this framework.
    3. Existing Standing Groups have two years from the time of publication of this framework to meet the criteria of scope, level of activity, and minimum number of Standing Group members. Existing Standing Groups that are unable to, or decide not to, meet these criteria can apply for transformation into a Research Network.
    4. Existing Standing Groups will be provided with an ECPR bank account within six months of publication of this framework. Standing Group funds currently held in other places should be transferred to this ECPR bank account within three months of the account being in operation.
    5. For the purpose of reaccreditation of Standing Groups after 10 years, existing Standing Groups are assumed to have been established on the day of publication of this framework.
  3. Within five years of publication of this framework, it will be evaluated by an ad-hoc committee set up by the Executive Committee and including two representatives of Standing Group and Research Network Convenors. The committee’s report will be discussed at the annual meeting of Standing Group and Research Network Convenors before the Executive Committee takes a decision on the report’s recommendations.

(Enacted by the ECPR Executive Committee on April 14, 2014 at its meeting in Salamanca, Spain)

APPENDIX: Default Constitution for ECPR Standing Groups

General

  1. The ECPR Standing Group aims to contribute to the further development of teaching and scholarly research within the field outlined in the application for Standing Group status.

Membership

  1. In addition to scholars affiliated to an ECPR member-institution who automatically become members of the Standing Group if they register as such through MyECPR (subject to receipt of membership dues if required), others who may apply for membership can be admitted by the Standing Group Steering Committee if they show an active interest in scholarly study in the Standing Group’s field. Such membership becomes effective as soon as the Steering Committee informs ECPR Central Services of its decision (subject to receipt of membership dues if required).

Governance

  1. The Standing Group is governed by a Steering Committee consisting of three members elected by and from the Standing Group members for a period of three years, renewable.
  2. At least half a year before the Steering Committee’s term of office expires, it invites candidates from among the Standing Group members to nominate themselves within one month. If after that deadline fewer than three candidates and/or fewer than two candidates affiliated to ECPR member institutions have nominated themselves, the nomination period is extended for another month.
  3. If only three candidates have nominated themselves, including at least two candidates affiliated to ECPR member institutions, they are declared elected
  4. If more than three candidates have nominated themselves, but only two candidates affiliated to ECPR member institutions, the latter two candidates are declared elected; elections will be held only to assign the remaining seat on the Steering Committee to one of the candidates not yet declared elected.
  5. If sufficient candidates have nominated themselves to have elections for all or part of the seats, the Steering Committee notifies ECPR Central Services within a month after nominations have closed of the names of the candidates, and of the number of seats to be filled.
  6. ECPR Central Services will notify all Standing Group members of the period within and manner by which they can cast their vote.
  7. The electoral system is STV as used for ECPR Executive Committee elections.
  8. If all three seats on the Steering Committee are to be filled, and the candidates who meet the electoral quota do not include at least two candidates affiliated to ECPR member institutions, the non-affiliated candidate meeting the electoral quota with the lowest number of votes is removed. This procedure is repeated until at least two candidates affiliated to ECPR member institutions are elected.
  9. At its first meeting, the newly elected Steering Committee elects its own Convenor, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Convenor and Treasurer are affiliated to ECPR member institutions. The newly elected Convenor immediately notifies ECPR Central Services of the names and functions of the new Steering Committee.
  10. Annually a business meeting is held to which the Steering Committee invites all Standing Group members. The business meeting is held during the ECPR General Conference or, if applicable, during the Standing Group’s main conference in a given year.
  11. This Constitution can be amended by a two-thirds majority of Standing Group members voting in an electronic ballot, provided at least thirty percent of Standing Group members cast a vote.

"Politics determines the process of "who gets what, when, and how"" - Harold Lasswell


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