Nurturing the thriving scientific field of philanthropy


Tjeerd Piersma


On Wednesday 3 July, one day before the official start of the 2019 ERNOP conference, the PhD workshop took place. In the oldest university building of Basel, with a magnificent view of the Rhine, twelve PhD students discussed ongoing research and gained inspiration for their future studies.

On an early, sunny morning, twelve PhD students were welcomed by Prof. Dr. Georg von Schnurbein, director of the Center for Philanthropy Studies at the University of Basel. In three consecutive sessions, all PhD students got the chance to present their ongoing research project, showing the great diversity of studies across the scientific field of philanthropy. Topics ranged from funder-grantee relationships to reflections of gap-year students who volunteer in Tanzania, and from venture philanthropy in Australia to scale-development for measuring online transparency of non-profit organizations.

The presentations led to lively discussions. How do I formulate a focused research question? What are the right methodological choices to answer this question? And what are the most relevant theoretical directions to frame my studies? Questions of which the answers brought new and useful insights for all the participants.

After a short walk through the old town of Basel and a delicious Italian lunch, Jeff Brudney concluded the workshop with a presentation on the challenges of publishing papers. Based on his extensive experience as editor of NVSQ, Jeff provided a lot of practical tips on how to ‘solve the publication puzzle’. Jeff repeatedly emphasized to keep in mind that editors and reviewers are not your enemies but your allies in working towards a better research paper. Make sure to address all their concerns but at the same time, remember that you do not have to adopt all their suggestions as long as you clearly formulate solid arguments.

The day ended with the pre-conference meet-up, a prelude for two great days of ERNOP 2019. The participants of the workshop would like to thank Georg von Schnurbein, Michaela Neumayr, Jeff Brudney and Tobias Jung for organizing this inspirational day! Days like these are beneficial in the development of young philanthropy scholars and it might be interesting to think of other ways to bring together PhD students and postdocs outside the conference season.

Tjeerd Piersma, Sanquin Research Center for Philanthropic Studies

The European Research Network On Philanthropy is an association of more than 250 academics aiming to advance philanthropy research in Europe. Learn more about their work by visiting the website and sign up to the quarterly newsletter.

Tagged in: #ERNOP2019

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