Early Career Researchers

As a community of scholars who are committed to the future of French Studies, the Society recognizes the importance of supporting early career researchers across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Early career colleagues face a series of complex challenges, including fewer permanent posts, short and fixed-term contracts, a decreasing number of departments to work in, and a generalised precarity across the sector. The Society appreciates the emotional and physical toll casualisation brings with it, and the unhealthy competition that this climate creates among early career researchers. We feel strongly that this climate is intellectually damaging in the long term to language learning and modern languages research at university level.

Being a learned Society with a Charitable status, there are limitations to how much we are able to do on our own to rectify such concerns. Nevertheless, in recent years the Society has made a number of significant contributions to the material and intellectual development of early career colleagues in French Studies. We have been working closely with colleagues at other organisations such as the University Council of Modern Languages and the British Academy, and will continue to lobby on behalf of all of our members, including early career researchers.

We aim to support as many ECRs as possible through both pastoral and financial means. At all stages of their studies or careers, members of the Society embrace the opportunity to engage in frequent intellectual exchange. Our Annual conferences provides a convivial space in which to share research, encouraging scholars to collaborate and communicate in an effort to build a strong and resilient early career community. Postgraduate conferences facilitate networking opportunities both with established faculty, offering the chance to learn about publication, application, and pedagogical trajectories, as well as fostering a vibrant community of burgeoning scholars.

The Society’s eminent publications champion early career research. The Legenda series, Research Monographs in French Studies, has a long history of transforming pioneering doctoral research into monographs of up to 85,000 words. The Society's journals, French Studies and French Studies Bulletin, welcome contributions by early career colleagues, which make up a significant proportion of the articles published. The innovative research of ECRs underpins so much new learning in the field, and our mission as a Society is to foster the collegiality in which early colleagues are supported as equals.

Through direct member contributions and other funds, the Society also offers a Prize postdoctoral fellowship, which offers the successful fellow an award, to be taken flexibly over a period of six months full time, or twelve months part-time, to develop a research project of their choosing. This sizeable ECR funding award is intended to run every two years, alternating with the existing Prize research fellowship scheme aimed at researchers in permanent posts.

In addition to funding, the Society also offers the annual Malcolm Bowie Prize, in honour of the late Malcolm Bowie, which recognizes outstanding publications by early career researchers in the broad field of French Studies. The winner is awarded a cash prize of £1000, expenses-paid travel to the next annual conference, and mention in the French Studies Bulletin as well as on the Society’s website.

The Society’s Executive Committee has a number of early career colleagues as members in a variety of key roles, and support for ECRs is at the heart of our activity and commitment to the field. We always welcome thoughts or suggestions on how we can continue to support early career academics working in all fields of French studies. Please contact Sinan Richards (sinan.richards@kcl.ac.uk) or Joanne Brueton (joanne.brueton@ulip.lon.ac.uk).

Learn More:

> Publications

> Conferences

> The Postdoctoral Prize Fellowship

> The Malcolm Bowie Prize

> Join the Society

> Executive Committee