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PhD Student Information

Amsterdam, Netherlands
July 8 - 10, 2018
VU University Amsterdam


The fourth ISTR PhD Seminar will take place at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, from the 8th to the 10th of July 2018.

Stockholm, Sweden
June 26-28, 2016
Ersta Skondal University College


The third ISTR PhD Seminar took place at Ersta Sköndal University College in Stockholm from the 26th to the 28th of June 2016, i.e. on the days before ISTR’s 12th International Conference was organized at the same venue. All in all, 51 PhD students from 26 different countries participated. 


The seminar started with a welcome event on Sunday, June 26th, which was followed by a joint dinner in a classic Swedish restaurant. The main program started on Monday morning when the students came together in pre-defined working groups of eight or nine participants. In addition, each group was joined and supervised by two members of the faculty. 

To learn more, please click here.


2016 PhD Seminar Impression
by Santiago Sordo Ruz, PhD student at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico

This past summer I had the opportunity to take part in ISTR’s PhD Seminar in Stockholm. I had attended some regional ISTR events but this year’s seminar and conference were going to be my first international events, so my expectations for both events were high.

It all started at the welcome meeting where I realized the event, in its third edition, had a much larger scale and diversity than I had imagined. Not only were there participants from every region of the world very diverse backgrounds, and stages of their programs, but also an interesting group of very qualified scholars that would lead the different sessions and activities. It seems the seminar is well on its way to becoming an ISTR institution.

The ice was broken from the start, as the organizers did a nice job at creating a very friendly environment for us. The first dinner, where we had the chance to try some delicious local food, allowed us to get to know each other and our research interests and expectations.

The following morning we split into groups of 8 to 9 participants that were created based on our research topics. Despite the diverse nature of our projects and profiles, my group’s topics were very closely related and we were able to get up to speed on each other’s research fairly quickly.

I chose to be the first to present as –I must admit- I was a little anxious about sharing my project with my colleagues and was looking forward to some relief. The participants listened carefully for about 10 minutes and what followed was a round of feedback from every other group member and leading faculty. Even when it is hard to provide valuable feedback based on an abstract and a 10 minute overview, the participants in my group provided me with useful insight, questions, tips and –what I consider most valuable- a fresh, qualified perspective on questions I have been asking myself for years. In the end, there wasn’t much to feel antsy about.

Unexpectedly, and thanks to the friendly and honest atmosphere under which the sessions were carried out, the seminar turned out to be a very nice space to vent our anxieties and worries. As many of you must know, life as a PhD student can be very challenging on a personal level. It was nice to find that, despite our different cultural and academic backgrounds, we were able to relate and share not only our concerns but also strategies to achieve a better balance.

As you can see, the PhD seminar is a unique opportunity to get quality feedback, season your communication skills and meet fellow students and faculty with an interest in the Third-Sector. If you are considering applying for the next seminar or now someone that could, I definitely recommend it.

Finally, I would like to thank ISTR for organizing such an enriching experience for us students and for providing the much needed travel support without which many of us would not have been able to participate.



ISTR 2014 PhD Seminar Report


In the run-up to the 11th International Conference, the second ISTR’s PhD seminar brought together 46 students from 22 countries at the political science department in Muenster from Sunday July 20th to 22nd . Established two years ago in Siena, the seminar aims to provide doctoral students from the broad variety of third sector research with the opportunity to receive extensive intellectual and methodological advice on their doctoral research, to introduce them to main theories and developments in the field, to reflect upon publication and career strategies, and to provide a unique opportunity to network with junior and senior scholars within the international ISTR research community. For this purpose, ISTR successfully recruited a faculty team of twelve experienced researches from different disciplines all involved in PhD education programs at their home institutions: Anna Domaradzka (Poland), Kari Steen-Johnsen (Norway), Ronelle Burger (South Africa), Ruth Phillips (Australia), Maria Radyati (Indonesia), Gabriel Berger (Argentina), Greg Witkowski (USA), Johan Hvenmark (Sweden), Naoto Yamauchi (Japan) and Matthias Freise (Germany) who also served as the local organizer of the PhD seminar. The faculty was completed by ISTR president, Wendy Earles (Australia). 

The seminar was sponsored by ISTR which covered the accommodation of the participants and the faculty. Furthermore, the Society was able to dedicate US $10,000 for travel grants and covered two evening events. The seminar started with a welcome event on Sunday, July 20th which was followed by a dinner in a restaurant at the lakeside in Muenster. The main program started the next morning. The students were divided into six thematically related working groups of six or seven participants. Each group was supervised by two members of the faculty. The three working group sessions on Monday and Tuesday morning formed the heart of the PhD Seminar. Every student had the possibility to present his PhD project and discuss key questions and theoretical and methodological issues on a peer basis with the other group members and with the faculty. 

To learn more, please click here.



ISTR 2012 PhD Seminar Report


ISTR held its Inaugural PhD Seminar immediately prior to the 2012 conference in Siena. The seminar is part of the Society’s mission to build the field of third sector research and focused on providing extensive intellectual and methodological advice on the participants’ doctoral research, introducing students to the main theories and recent developments in the field, guiding reflection upon publication and career strategies, and providing a unique opportunity to network with junior and senior scholars within the international research community. 

A PhD Task Force with 7 postdocs and junior Faculty from across all regions was installed to organize the Seminar, and a call for participation was launched in September 2011. The interest in the first Seminar was overwhelming: we received 81 applications from 29 countries, and had to decline a dozen more after the deadline. Based on a double peer review process, the 50 best-reviewed applicants were invited to the Seminar. A broad and inclusive group of 45 students from 21 countries eventually participated in the Seminar. Participants had to become members of ISTR and register to attend the general conference as well. Participants were covered by ISTR for two nights of accommodation as well as coffee breaks and meals during the Seminar. 

The seminar consisted of both plenary sessions and parallel group sessions in which the participants had the opportunity to present and discuss their doctoral research with peers, junior and senior faculty. Participants were grouped thematically, but the groups’ composition was heterogeneous in terms of concrete research topics, disciplinary background, research stage, method, and regional affiliation. The group sessions were structured in an egalitarian and informal style, assigning about 50 minutes to each student. Eleven faculty (from Australia, Belgium, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Sweden, and the USA) were critical to providing guidance and focus for the discussions. Professor Steven Rathgeb Smith enhanced the program with his keynote address, “Government, Markets and the Third Sector.” More practical workshops focused on publishing and writing, career strategies and the tension between fundamental and applied research.

To read the full report, click here.


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