Report from the Digit / SASE Early Careers Workshop

12 July 2022

Our joint Early Career Workshop with the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) took place on 8 July 2022, at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. 

Digit Centre Manager, Dr Megan McMichael, reports on a lively and stimulating day.

Our one day workshop kicked off with Roberto Pedersini, the SASE Early Career Workshop Committee Chair, and Jackie O’Reilly, Co-Director of Digit and 2022 President of SASE welcoming the 21 participants, most of whom travelled to Amsterdam from North America and other European countries.

We had three main aims:

  1. provide an opportunity for early career researchers (defined a PhD students, or those no more than 3 years post-PhD) to present original research and receive critical, constructive feedback from peers and SASE members;
  2. provide career development guidance, and
  3. provide networking opportunities with other early career researchers, as well as the wider SASE membership and members of Digit. 

Steve Rolf, Research Fellow at Digit, then gave a talk on careers advice and how to transfer research skills across disciplinary boundaries. Himself a former participant at the SASE Early Career Workshop in 2019, Steve was well-placed to give advice from his recent experiences. He described the rather large number of social science PhD graduates who do not go on to pursue academic careers. Why is this? Could it be the increasing number of people getting social science PhDs? And the lack of jobs to accommodate all those obtaining PhD? Or the demands of the process, e.g. the number of publications necessary, and number of rejects of submissions that must be endured? Perhaps a combination? What is clear, is that if the long-term goal of an ECR is to become an academic, there are 4 necessary ingredients: perseverance, resilience, Intellectual curiosity, and … a sense of humour!

During the rest of the day, each of the 21 participants was able to present their papers, and get detailed feedback from 6-7 colleagues. The ECW participants represented a wide range of disciplines – e.g. economics, sociology, law – so often brought a different perspective in their reviews of their peers. 

At lunchtime, there was a presentation by the two new Chief Editors of Socio-Economic Review (SER), Akos Rona-Tas and Alya Guseva. They had a very useful presentation on how to get published at SER, or in other journals. Amongst the takeaways, they emphasised that ECRs need to make sure they submit work that has already been through an informal review process by their own colleagues. And given the high level of papers that do not even make it to review (desk rejects), they encourage resilience. For papers that do get reviewed (& criticised), the first word of advice: calm down! Though the temptation is defensiveness, it’s better to put it aside and get colleagues to also read the reviews before proceeding. And for those that DO get published after ‘revise & resubmit’ phase, remember that publication is not the final product. Promote your work! On social media, blogs, submit it for awards. There are a lot of papers out there, so you have to push your success, which will also help with career progression.

The day ended with a discussion with Roberto Pedersini, Steve Rolf and Imran Chowdhury addressing questions on how to find jobs, both in Europe and the USA. It seems it’s often a matter of knowing the websites and keeping eyes & ears open to opportunities that may arise, and attending conferences. And particularly in the USA, there are also opportunities in larger conferences to have job markets for first interviews. SASE also posts Career Opportunities on their website.

Participants agreed that the day had been useful for their research, for understanding how to navigate next steps in their careers, and for networking. Digit is proud to have worked in partnership with SASE on this Early Career Workshop, and would like to thank all those who applied and the participants who attended, as well as the Committee Members who reviewed papers and worked with the participants. 

Our thanks to…

The ECW Committee

Roberto Pedersini – ECW Chair (University of Milan)
Chiara Benassi (King’s College London)
Ying Chen (The New School for Social Research)
Annelies Fryberger (SASE Executive Director)
Becky Faith (Institute for Development Studies & Digit)
Michelle Hsieh (Institute of Sociology – Academia Sinica)
Astrid Krenz (University of Sussex Business School & Digit Research Fellow)
Steve Rolf (University of Sussex Business School & Digit Research Fellow)

Faculty participating at the ECW

Alexandre Alfonso
Imran Chowdhury
Roberto Pedersini
Steve Rolf
Carola Westermeier

SASE & University of Amsterdam management

Annelies Fryberger
Pat Zraidi
Niels Klein

The participants

Fabio Ascione
Swati Chintala
Joshua Cova
Tommaso Crescioli
Roberto Dorschel
Aida Garcia-Lazaro
Shaquilla Harrigan
Danish Khan
Gustav Kalm
Lukas Lehner
Wendy Li
Kristen McNeill
Andrew Messamore
Barbara Orth
Nicholas Pang
Maria Sagmeister
Josep Serrano-Serrat
Viktor Skyrman
Diederik Stadig
Anna Wozny
Mustafa Yavas

Share this: