JESP/ESPAnet Doctoral Researcher Prize 2017/2018- New deadline is Sunday 25th of February 2018

The Journal of European Social Policy (JESP) and the Network for European Social Policy Analysis (ESPAnet) are offering a prize to the best paper by a doctoral researcher presented at any of the ESPAnet conferences, workshops or seminars in 2017.

The prize-winning paper is provided with high-profile publication in the Journal of European Social Policy, and the winner also receives 1 year’s free subscription to the journal.

Extended Deadline: Sunday 25th of February 2018

The authors may themselves submit papers they have presented. The author(s) must not yet have been awarded a doctorate at the closing date of February 25th, 2018.

Last years winner Tijs Laenen’s paper “Do institutions matter? The interplay between income benefit design, popular perceptions, and the social legitimacy of targeted welfare” will be published in the first issue of JESP in 2018.

Tijs Laenen says the following about winning the prize: 

“In addition to being an honourable recognition of your hard work, the JESP/ESPAnet Doctoral Researcher Prize is a great opportunity to take one of your papers to the next level. At the ESPAnet conference in Rotterdam, where I presented my paper for the first time, I was already under the impression that it was well received. Some of the participant’s words of praise even convinced me to submit to the prize. The detailed feedback of the anonymous reviewers, however, made me realize that much work remained to be done, as they made it clear that there was still ample room for improvement. Thanks to their stimulating feedback, the paper evolved from a Dutch case study to a study whose findings and implications stretch far beyond the Netherlands, and hopefully inspires future research on the link between welfare institutions and welfare attitudes in other countries. To all PhD-students who are in doubt of submitting their paper to the JESP/ESPAnet prize, I can only tell: If you want to better your work, do not hesitate to participate!”

Criteria for assessment

All submissions will be judged by two Board members of ESPAnet and two Board members of JESP. The judges are particularly looking for exciting, innovative and scholarly work, which challenges existing perspectives; poses new research problems and develops answers which offers sophisticated or subtle insights and interpretations from empirical evidence; and/or which develops new methods, or applies old methods in new ways to illuminate our understanding.

Judges are specifically requested to assess and rank the submitted papers in terms of:

  • their scholarly interest and originality;
  • analytical, and where appropriate methodological, rigour;
  • quality, coherence and structure of argument;
  • publishable quality following one set of relatively minor revisions, and where necessary, clarification/improvement of language.

Please note: if there are no papers which meet the standard required, the panel need not award a prize.


Submitted papers will be sent to the judge by early March 2018. The judges will evaluate, rank and return the papers and their decision to the editorial office by April 2018. Candidates should receive feedback and the results of the competition by late May 2018. The winning author(s) must return their final version paper, conforming in length and style to JESP requirements, to the JESP office by mid-July 2018. A formal announcement of the prize-winner is made at the annual ESPAnet conference in the autumn.

Submission process

To enter this prize authors should email their papers to on or before the above deadline. In the main text and subject line of the email please state, “Doctoral Researcher Prize entry 2018.”

Please attach the following to your email (in MS word format):

  • A separate title page containing the title of your paper, your full contact details,
  • institutional affiliation, name of PhD supervisor, and ESPAnet event at which the paper was originally presented.
  • An anonymous separate word document containing the paper’s title and abstract (abstract of no more than 150 words).
  • A separate document containing the main text of the article. This also should be anonymous.

Submissions must have a file name which includes their surname (this includes the anonymous documents outlined above. The editorial officer will make all papers fully anonymous before the assessment stages).

Style, format and guidelines

  • Style, format and guidelines Papers should not exceed 8,000 words, all included.
  • Papers should be written in English.
  • Please avoid footnotes; endnotes can be used.
  • Please use the Harvard system for referencing (i.e. include authors and year of publication in the text and the full reference in a List of References at the end).
  • Tables and figures should be kept to the minimum essential to your paper’s argument. Please put them in a separate electronic file, submitted with the main body of the paper, clearly labelled; the file name should include the author’s surname.
  • Submissions should follow the JESP house style. Details are available on the journal website and on the inside back cover of each issue.

Submission rules

Papers must have been presented at, or contributed to, an ESPAnet workshop, conference or seminar during the competition year. At the closing date authors must not have been awarded a doctorate. Jointly authored papers are acceptable, provided that none of the authors has been awarded a doctorate at the closing date.

Submissions must address an aspect of comparative social policy with relevance for European countries and they should make a contribution to our understanding of social policy in Europe. Otherwise papers are free in their choice of subject, country/countries, theoretical perspective, methods and discipline.

Authors are free and encouraged to revise their papers in the period between presentation at an ESPAnet event and the submission deadline, responding to the comments they will have received. Authors may be required to revise their submission in the light of judges’ comments before publication as a condition for receiving the prize. If the judges conclude that none of the submitted papers is of a high enough standard, the prize will not be awarded. The prize-winning paper will be published in the Journal of European Social Policy in the first issue of the subsequent volume. The winner(s) will receive 1 year’s free subscription to the Journal.

For further information please contact