PhD Kick-Off Event

Call for Abstracts

The ELS Academy Research School invites abstract submissions for its Annual Event, which will be held on 10-11 October 2024 at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. We invite abstract submissions* for empirical papers covering all areas of Empirical Legal Studies (ELS).

ATTENTION: We extended the deadline to submit your abstracts and research ideas for the collaborative project till 30 June!

* Please note that if you would like to submit more than one abstract, submissions must be made separately.

About the Event

The objective of the ELS Academy Research School Event is to bring together early-career and senior researchers in the field of Empirical Legal Studies. The event provides participants with the opportunity to learn about new ELS research topics and methods, develop their academic and professional networks, and improve their research based on feedback from their peers and senior scholars.
With these objectives in mind, we are honoured to host Prof. Lee Epstein – a pioneering scholar of Empirical Legal Studies – as the keynote speaker to this event.
The conference will include a lecture, as well as a short methods workshop by Prof. Lee Epstein, a workshop on ethics and data, an expert panel on measurement issues, and panel sessions where early career-scholars can present their research to an international and interdisciplinary audience. There will be two types of panels: ‘regular’ panels with presentations of completed research projects (with results) and ‘pre-analysis’ panels with presentations of well-developed research designs (that are close to data collection), to receive early feedback.
Finally, as a unique addition to this event, there will be a ‘Collaborative Research Design’ session, in which participants have a chance to win a research grant of €5,000 to facilitate the execution of a to-be-developed research project. This is described in further detail below.

Unique Opportunity: Collaborative Research Design Grant
A unique addition to this year’s research school event is the opportunity to take part in a ‘Collaborative Research Design’ session, with a chance to be awarded a grant of up to €5,000 to support the execution of an empirical project. The development of an empirical project is at the heart of this collaborative session.
Early-career scholars – limited to PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers – are invited to submit, besides abstracts for presentations, a novel and well developed research idea (in the field of ELS). For submission instructions, see below.

The most promising ideas will be selected by the selection committee to serve as a basis for the collaborative exercise. The collaborative exercise is to further develop the selected initial research idea(s) in a group setting. Prior to the event, a list of selected research ideas will be posted, and all early-career participants will have the opportunity to ‘sign up’ to a group associated with a specific research idea. Participants can sign up regardless of whether they submitted a research idea or an abstract for a presentation session. The number of participants per group is limited, and the selection will be on a first-come-first-serve basis until the groups are full.

On the second day of the event, each group – headed by the author of the idea – will receive time to further develop the research idea and prepare a one-page research design, that is to be presented at the end of the session. A jury will then select the most promising research design, which will be awarded up to €5,000 to implement the research project. When making the selection, the jury will consider the novelty, the feasibility, and the relevance of the research design for Empirical Legal Studies.

Submission Guidelines
Abstracts for papers and research ideas for the collaborative session should be submitted, together with a short biography, on the Erasmus School of Law website. The deadline for submissions is 30 June, 2024.

  • Submissions should be a maximum of 500 words.
  • We welcome abstracts of papers for both the ‘regular’ (i.e., completed papers) and the ‘pre-analysis’ (i.e., research designs) panels. Please note that abstracts of papers for the ‘regular’ panels can be submitted without results. In such cases, presenters are only required to make sure that results are obtained prior to the event.
  • Submissions of research ideas for the collaborative session (max. 500 words, excluding references) should include: a background and problem definition, a short state-of-the-art section, a suggested research question, and potential research methods to be used. It is fundamental that the proposed research design is still under development.
  • Please note that if you would like to submit more than one abstract, submissions must be made separately.

Paper abstracts and research ideas will be selected through a peer review process by the organising committee and results will be communicated on 15 July, 2024.

Registration for the ELS Academy Research School Event is free of charge, but mandatory, and is possible from 1 July, 2024 until 1 September, 2024 via the website of the Erasmus Centre for Empirical Legal Studies (ECELS), the co-organiser and the host of the event: 

Registration for the event includes coffee breaks, lunches for both days of the event, and a group dinner on the first day of the event. As we expect a high number of registrations and only have limited spaces, registration means you commit to attend the event. In the instance that you are unable to attend the event, we kindly ask you to notify the organisers promptly, so that we can extend invitations to those that have been waitlisted.

Even though presenters should be early-career researchers (PhDs, post-docs, Assistant Professors), participation is open (and encouraged) to all researchers irrespective of the stage of their career.

About the organizers
The ELS Academy and the Erasmus Centre for Empirical Legal Studies are pleased to host the Empirical Legal Studies Annual Kick-Off Event. The ELS Academy is the leading interuniversity research school on Empirical Legal Studies in the Netherlands. The Erasmus Centre for Empirical Legal Studies is the home of empirical legal research at Erasmus School of Law and provides support and opportunities for empirical legal studies.

This event is supported by ELS Academy and the Sector Plan.