Doctoral and Early Career Researchers

Brief background to the area of Special Interest:

The Doctoral and Early Career Researchers’ Special Interest Group exists to support the development of networks of support not only for students at various stages of their PhD but also early career social work researchers. The network offers opportunities to discuss methodologies, funding, supervision, research topics and peer support.


We are keen to develop ideas about ongoing mutual support for doctoral students and early career researchers across the whole of Europe. A main goal of the SIG is also to assist doctoral students and early career researchers in developing their academic and research career and by doing this, we are committed to developing and sustaining the capacity and sustainability of social work research across Europe

Activities (past, planned):

The SIG convenes meetings annually at the European Conference of Social Work Research. The meetings offer the opportunity to meet, share experiences of the doctoral experience, discuss funding and employment opportunities. Following the Conference in Ljubljana 2015, a shared need was raised among the SIG members to organise a pre-conference event at the Conference in Lisbon 2016. This was organised and it involved presentations of academics on crucial issues related to the doctoral studies and research career development as well as a 3 Minute Thesis Competition, where students presented their PhD at a panel of academics. This event was a very successful beginning into making the above goals concrete. We plan to continue inviting experienced researchers and academics to present to members on skills and strategies that are pivotal in completing the PhD journey as well as planning for members’ future academic and research career. The Doctoral and Early Career Researchers’ SIG already has an active Facebook page titled ‘ESWRA Doctoral and Early Career Researchers’. Members are already using this to keep in touch between conferences, access information related to PhD writing, researching and publishing as well as events and conferences of interest. The annual meeting at the conference allows us to review the goals of the group, develop our ideas further and strengthen our networks.


During ECSWR 2021:

We are organizing a pre-conference event at the Conference in Bucharest 2021 (online event, 5-7 May 2021)

  • Talk on publication
  • Call for contributions - Social Work PhD/Early Career Researcher Challenges (and Solutions) During the Pandemic (opportunity for book publication)
  • Call for contributions - 3 Minute Challenge (100 € prize)

For more information, please contact:


Social Media

Web page and contact

A new Call from The NBSW Summer School 2021

12th Summer School 11th-14th October 2021 Helsinki, Finland

Experiences, encounters and engagement in social work research 

to be hosted by the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki (Finland), in cooperation with the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki and Sosnet – The Finnish National University Network for Social Work.


The Nordic-Baltic Doctoral Network in Social Work (NBSW) is a joint network of the doctoral schools, universities and other institutions in social work in seven countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.

We invite PhD students from the Nordic, Baltic and other countries to participate in the summer school. It aims to bring together PhD candidates in social work for five days of intensive lectures and discussions on experiences, encounters and engagements in social work research. Submission of a paper (optionally short or long, see further instructions below) related to an aspect of the theme of the summer school is a prerequisite for participation.

During the Summer School 2021, special attention will be paid to the different, yet interlinked aspects of experiences, encounters and engagement(s) in social work: What is the role of the experiences of various actors in social work? How do factors like an increasing application of technological tools, new working methods, social policy reforms and new organizational models affect encounters in social work? What are the possibilities of furthering engaged social work practices? A new question, which may affect all above aspects, is the possible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The role of experiences is vital within social work education and practice: Experiences during education and field placements have a substantial impact on students’ identities and future choices. The experiences of social workers regarding different aspects of their work are central to their views, reactions and actions. Clients’ experiences of encounters with social services are essential indicators of social work relationships and practices.

Social policy reforms and technological development(s) (automatization, digitalization etc.), partly in response to the pandemic, affect not only the working environments of social workers but also the service encounters and experiences of clients.

Thus, the Summer School will also focus on the changing faces of encounters (close encounters, distant encounters, or lack of encounters). Recent national and international studies have pointed to the various consequences of the “technological revolution” in social work. Some technical solutions have enabled closer and more meaningful encounters between social workers and clients. Other technological developments - often connected to more overarching administrative reforms - have, however, lead to more distant, shallow, or even non-existing encounters within social work. Thus, what are the future possibilities and challenges for meaningful encounters and relationship building in the changing context of social work?

The concept of engagement can be understood as the key ingredient when conducting meaningful social work in a modern society. How can social workers engage to meet future challenges, ranging from questions of digitalization, growing structural inequalities and discrimination, social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, to climate change and environmental deterioration? Engagement is also a central aspect in terms of how social work organizations can engage social workers to remain within professional social work. How does one make social work engaging when social workers experience that they have too little time and too heavy a workload?


The Doctoral School will be held from Monday, the 11th of OCTOBER 2021 13:00 – through Friday, the 15th of OCTOBER 2021, until 13:00


University of Helsinki, circumstances permitting, otherwise online


University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Science
Snellmansgatan 12, University of Helsinki 00014, Finland

For inquiries, please e-mail:


More info on how to apply will be given in a 2nd announcement on 26 April. 

The 2021 Nordic-Baltic Doctoral Network Summer School is organized by the University of Helsinki in cooperation with the coordination group of the Nordic-Baltic Doctoral Network in Social Work.

The summer school entails a course which provides 4 ECTS credits with a short paper (1000-2000 words) submission and presentation and 7.5 ECTS credits with a longer paper (6000-7000 words) submission and presentation. Papers and presentations must connect the participant’s doctoral research project with the theme of the summer school.

26 April - 2nd Announcement on the Doctoral school with info on how to apply
28 May- Application deadline
11 June - Decisions about participation will be announced
16 June - Literature list for reading, practical information for participants
10 September - Paper submission deadline & confirmation of conference format (in person or online)



Join the discussion of the Doctoral and Early Career Researchers Group on Facebook HERE.