Eu-SPRI Forum Early Career Researcher and PhD Circulation Award: Call Deadline 11th September 2022

Call for proposals for Doctoral Researchers and Early Career Researchers

Thirty Fifth submission deadline: 11th September 2022

The circulation of Early Career and PhD Researchers is an important element of the training activities of the Eu-SPRI Forum network. It is part of the development of the European Training Platform, which the Eu-SPRI Forum aims to develop in the area of science and innovation policy studies. It addresses our objective of offering a European pathway to Early Career and PhD researchers in this field. 

Member organisations are:

  • Université Paris-Est, Institut Francilien Recherche Innovation Société (IFRIS)
  • Copenhagen Business School (CBS)
  • Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Spain
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche (CNR), IRCRES Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth, Rome
  • Politecnico di Milano
  • AIT Austrian Institute of Technology
  • CIRCLE, Lund University, Sweden
  • University of Manchester, Institute of Innovation Research
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • NIFU, Norway
  • University of Twente,  Institute of Innovation and Governance Studies (IGS)
  • VTT, in collaboration with Helsinki Institute of Science and Technology Studies (HIST)
  • UiO, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo
  • SPRU, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex
  • Innovation Studies, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development , Universiteit Utrecht
  • TNO, Netherlands Organisation of Applied Scientific Research
  • UAM, Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and Accenture
  • TUD, Sozialforschungsstelle Dortmund, ZWE der TU-Dortmund
  • Rathenau Institute — KNAW

This call is open to Doctoral Researchers in their second year of PhD thesis or beyond and Early Career Researchers, who have completed their PhD within the past 36 months.

Topic Areas supported

This mobility call is restricted to research topics relating to science, technology and innovation policy including studies of science, technological innovation processes and entrepreneurship which may have relevance for policy.

Candidates can decide to apply for a short mobility call (up to one month visiting) or a regular mobility call (at least 3 months of visiting).

How to apply

  1. You must first discuss your proposed short term or regular visit with a potential supervisor at your chosen host institution. Both the ‘Home’ institute and ‘Host’ institute must be members of the Eu-SPRI Forum Network. You must confirm that they are prepared to accept you if your proposal is selected.
  1. Send the following documents to

(This does not need to be signed by all parties at application stage)

  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter / email of support from Host Supervisor
  • Letter / email of support from Home Supervisor
  • 1 other academic reference
  1. Your application will be evaluated by a committee from the Eu-SPRI Forum Training Group. You will be informed of the outcome when a decision has been made (within 1 month).

Application guidelines

  • The proposed location should be in a different “national system” so that the researcher experiences a different institutional environment. An application to move, for example, within the Netherlands would not be accepted.
  • Length of circulation visit should be at least 3 months for regular circulation and up to 1 month for short-term circulation. The three months can be split into tranches.
  • In the Letter of Intent, be as specific as possible about what you intend to do at your host institute.  Detail why you wish to visit that particular institute; how it will contribute to your research; what you hope to achieve.
  • Prepare your proposal thoroughly, look at the criteria for selection and make a good case.  The awards are competitive and you need to present yourself well.  Have a specific objective for the stay.  This could be to work on an area of theory with experts or to undertake fieldwork in a different country, for example.  Think about the potential benefits which may arise in the longer term.  Make sure you put in sufficient material to convince the reviewers.  If you apply for a short-term circulation you have to clearly explain why such a short-term visiting is sufficient to reach the research objective of the stay.
  • Ensure that the place you want to visit is a good match for you and your work and make sure that the researcher(s) you want to work with will actually be there and are willing to host you.  Making preliminary enquiries about practical arrangements is also a good idea.  However, if someone at another institution has agreed in principle to accept you, your proposal may still be subject to a request for further revision or rejected.
  • Ask someone (perhaps your supervisor) to review your proposal before you submit it.
  • Your research must be relevant to the Eu-SPRI Forum Network. For more information see the website.
  • Both the ‘PhD Home’ institute and ‘Host’ institute must be members of the Eu-SPRI Forum Network. Therefore, you may only apply to institutes that are ‘Early Career/PhD Hosts’ within Eu-SPRI Forum Network. Full members are listed on the website.

 The criteria for evaluating proposals are:

  • Quality of the candidate
  • Quality of the ECR/PhD project
  • Relevance of the project to Eu-SPRI
  • Expected benefits of stay for host institution
  • Expected benefits of stay for research career and/or PhD studies
  • Balance of student flows (only for regular circulation)

Further details

  • Eu-SPRI will award a lump sum of €2,500 per regular visit candidate (for travel expenses and accommodation) and up to €1,200 for short-term candidates.  This will be paid once the awardee is in situ at the host organisation.
  • If your application is successful, the letter of Intent must then be signed by all parties who must agree to the terms outlined in it.
  • On completion of the circulation you must provide a Circulation Report to the Eu-SPRI network which may be placed on the website. This is a mandatory requirement.
  • If you think you need any further information please email: or 


Please check with your proposed host organisation that they are accepting research visitors.

For previous applicants who have received notification of an award but who have not yet been able to conduct the research visit  due to the Pandemic please notify Debbie Cox of your new dates, once these are known.  Awards are still valid.


Eu-SPRI ECC Dortmund – Call for Papers – Extended Deadline!

Social Innovation Policy:

Concepts, Methods and Policy Practices

Early Career Researchers Conference (ECC)

21 – 23 September 2022

Dortmund, Germany

The European Capital of Innovation

Call for Papers

In recent years, a new understanding of innovation has been discussed worldwide. This understanding focuses on the importance of innovations in overcoming major societal challenges. Furthermore, there is a growing conviction that social innovations make an important contribution to overcoming these challenges (cf. Howaldt et al. 2019), claiming that only through the change of social practice can necessary transformations succeed. But what does the term social innovation mean, and how can they best be conceptualised? Why are social innovations increasingly becoming the focus of attention, and what opportunities and challenges do they pose for scientific research and innovation policy? How can social innovations be supported in the context of much needed broader transformations? What is the meaning of social innovation for recent ambitions in STI policies (mission and transformation)?

Since the Second World War, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy has been largely focused on technological innovations for economic growth. This situation has changed in recent years (Schot and Steinmueller 2018).With a growing awareness of ‘limits to growth’ and concerns about climate change, sustainability concerns have become more and more prominent in STI policy and a broader understanding of innovation has emerged. The recent ‘Guidebook for the preparation of science, technology and innovation (STI) for SDGs roadmaps’ prepared by the United Nations Task Force, for instance, underlines the importance of a broad understanding of innovation beyond techno-economic innovations (United Nations Inter-Agency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs und European Commission, Joint Research Centre 2021).

Therefore, political interest in social innovation is growing worldwide (e.g. Geels et al. 2019). Social innovations and socially innovative initiatives are omnipresent. Studies of social innovations are booming and cover the entire globe (Howaldt et al. 2019; van der Have and Rubalcaba 2016). Due to the broad understanding and usage of the concept, one finds social innovations – understood as deliberate changes of social practices with the intention of reaching a certain goal (cf. Howaldt and Schwarz 2010) – in a large variety of contexts, ranging from topics of climate change research to urban development and urban agriculture, from health to social inclusion and education. This broad thematic range underlines the importance of better understanding social innovations and social innovation ecosystems for sustainable development.

Since the 1980s, new concepts have emerged in international innovation research that consider social innovations as an independent type of innovation and make them accessible as an object of empirical investigation. The conceptual debate has intensified ever since, and progress has been made in developing a concept of social innovation grounded in social theory and elaborating the significance of the concept in the context of processes of social change (Howaldt and Schwarz 2021; Pel et al. 2020). Similarly, the topic has been linked to the overarching discussion on the fundamental reorientation of innovation policy (Larrue 2021; Wanzenbröck et al. 2020; Wittmann et al. 2021; Schot and Steinmueller, 2018; Edler and Fagerberg 2017; Mazzucato 2018). In this context, the contours of a new understanding of innovation are becoming discernible (Howaldt and Schwarz 2021). The opportunities and challenges of introducing social innovations into the framework of a comprehensive innovation policy will be discussed at the conference.

Accordingly, this ECC offers the opportunity to discuss the future role of social innovation in STI policies from different angles. In particular, we welcome submissions that address (but are not necessarily limited to) the following areas:

  • State of the art of social innovation research
  • Social innovation and transformation
  • Social innovation and new strands of STI Policy
  • Diffusion mechanisms of social innovations and the role of STI Policy
  • Interactions between social innovation policies from different policy fields (environment, energy) and STI
  • Innovation ecosystems, governance models and infrastructures for social innovation (science, society and policy interface)
  • Evaluation, assessment and impacts of social innovation and social innovation policies
  • Interaction between social and technological innovations to address 21st century challenges

Conference structure and format:

The conference will offer a varied programme, including paper presentation sessions, keynote talks, policy and practitioners panel, a conference award, networking sessions, social activities and conference dinner.

Early career researchers can choose one of the two following options to present their work: 1) full paper presentation (15-minute presentation followed by a discussion) or 2) speed talk or poster presentation (5-minute pitches, followed by discussion in break-out groups). The audience is expected (and encouraged) to actively participate in the discussion. For each full paper, a senior and a junior (early career) discussant will prepare direct feedback to the presenter.

This Early Career Conference addresses the guiding theme “Social Innovation Policy: Concepts, Methods and Policy Practices”. The conference is organized in streams according to the above thematic fields.

The conference will take place in person in Dortmund, Germany (if possible).

Anticipated list of speakers/teachers:

  • Jakob Edler / Katrin Ostertag (Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Karlsruhe)
  • Jürgen Howaldt / Christoph Kaletka (TU Dortmund University, Faculty of Social Science, Social Research Center sfs)
  • Julia Wittmayer (Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences ESSB, Rotterdam)
  • Klaus Schuch (Centre for Social Innovation ZSI, Vienna)
  • Judith Terstriep (Institute for Work and Technology IAT, Gelsenkirchen)
  • Mike Asquith (European Environmental Agency, Copenhagen)

Registration, fees and accommodation:

  • Registration:
    • Free for Eu-SPRI/ESSI members
    • 250€ for non-Eu-SPRI/ESSI members
  • Accommodation (2 nights), lunch and dinner included
  • Travel expenses will not be covered (a limited number of grants for widening countries’ participants will be provided upon request)

Paper submission (instructions & deadlines):

Early career researchers interested in participating in this ECC must submit an extended abstract (750 to 1,000 words, including key references) as well as a short motivation letter (1-2 paragraphs, max 1 page) no later than 16 May 2022 via email to:

Rick Hölsgens:

The decision will be communicated to the authors by the 7th of June 2022. If accepted, (draft) full papers must be submitted 3 weeks prior to the conference, i.e. 31st of August (speed talk submissions only need to submit their presentation as pdf).

Evaluation and selection criteria of submissions is based on academic quality, thematic relevance and motivation.

Time table:

  • May 16, 2022 – Deadline for extended abstracts (750 – 1,000 words)
  • June 7, 2022 – Notification of acceptance
  • August 31, 2022 – Deadline for (draft) full papers (5000 – 7000 words) (or slides in the case of speed talks)
  • September 21-23, 2022 – Conference


In case of any question, please contact the local organising team: Dr. Rick Hölsgens at:

Scientific and Organising Committee

Prof. Dr. Jakob Edler
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Howaldt
Dr. Rick Hölsgens
Dr. Katrin Ostertag
Tanja Kaufmann
Dr. Karina Maldonado-Mariscal
Dr. Klaus Schuch
Dr. Judith Terstriep
Dr. Julia Wittmayer
Marthe Zirngiebl


Edler, J.; Fagerberg, J. (2017). Innovation Policy: What, why, and how. Oxford Review of Economic Policy 44 (1), 2-23.

Geels, Frank W.; Turnheim, Bruno; Asquith, Mike; Kern, Florian; Kivimaa, Paula (2019). Sustainability transitions. Policy and practice. European Environment Agency. Copenhagen (EEA Report, 9/2019).

Howaldt, J.; Kaletka, C.; Schröder, A.; Zirngiebl, M. (Eds.) (2019). Atlas of social innovation: 2nd volume: A world of new practices. Oekom Verlag.

Howaldt, J.; Schwarz, M. (2021). Social innovation and social change. In J. Howaldt; C. Kaletka; A. Schröder (Eds.), Research agenda for social innovation. Edward Elgar Publishing

Howaldt, J.; Schwarz, M. (2010). Social Innovation: Concepts, research fields and international trends.

Larrue, P. (2021). The design and implementation of mission-oriented innovation policies: A new systemic policy approach to address societal challenges. OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers.

Mazzucato, M. (2018). Mission-oriented research & innovation in the European Union: A problem solving approach to fuel innovation-led growth. Brussels. European Commission. Directorate General for Research and Innovation.

Schot, Johan; Steinmueller, Edward (2018). Three frames for innovation policy. R&D, system of innovation and transformative change. Research Policy 47, 1554–1567.

United Nations Inter-Agency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs; European Commission, Joint Research Centre (2021): Guidebook for the preparation of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for SDGs Roadmaps. Luxembourg: Publication Office of the European Union. Available online:

Van der Have, Robert P.; Rubalcaba, Luis (2016). Social innovation research: An emerging area of innovation studies? Research Policy 45 (9), 1923–1935. DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2016.06.010.

Wanzenböck, I.; Wesseling, J.; Frenken, K.; Hekkert, M.; Weber, K. (2020). A framework for mission-oriented innovation policy: Alternative pathways through the problem–solution space. Science and Public Policy 47 (4), pp. 474–489.

Wittmann, F.; Hufnagl, M.; Lindner, R.; Roth, F.; Edler, J. (2021). Governing varieties of mission-oriented innovation policies: A new typology. Science and Public Policy, 48 (5), 727-738