The Max Weber Post Doctoral Programme at the EUI is widely considered as the leader of its kind in Europe. It is one of the most selective – attracting around 1400 applicants in the fields of political and social sciences, economics, law and history for around 55 available positions. Its placement record is second to none: Practically all Max Weber Fellows secure academic positions in the finest institutions around the world upon completion of the programme.
Part of the explanation for these truly extraordinary indicators is its institutional environment: Situated at the European University Institute, Max Weber Fellows enjoy superb research facilities (including an outstanding library, a shared office space, a personal research fund of 1000 euros) and are part of an Institution dedicated entirely to post-graduate research: The EUI’s education mission is focused solely on doctoral and post doctoral studies.
But in addition there are specific features of the Max Weber programme which help define its unique identity and explain its popularity and success.
Unlike many post-doctoral programmes which consist of little more than a stipend and a place to work, the Max Weber is actually a programme with a decided philosophy of post doctoral studies. Prominent aspects of this philosophy are the following:
- A belief that intellectual community, interlocutorship and scholarly synergetic exchanges are fundamental to the early phase of one’s academic career and significantly enhance the quality of the individual research undertaken during the postdoctoral fellowship.
- A belief that a successful academic career (and success in the so called academic ‘market place’) do not only depend on high quality research and publications but also on learning and understanding the world of ‘academic practice’: Teaching, examining, writing and speaking well, competitive bidding for research funds and the like.
Several features of the programme give expression to this philosophy.
1 – Intellectual Community: The Thematic Groups
Typically, Max Weber Fellows will find themselves belonging simultaneously to three interlocking intellectual communities:
The first is, of course, the Max Weber Programme itself – with several programme wide activities such as theMax Weber Lectures.
The second are the departments or the Research Centers of the EUI to which each fellow is affiliated.
The third is a “thematic research group” of Fellows working on related research interests in different disciplines which meets on a regular basis to discuss each others projects and work, give feedback from different disciplinary perspectives and engage in other activities (e.g. reading groups) of shared interests.
There are two types of thematic groups. In each year the programme announces a few broad preselected themes such as, for example Inequality and Efficiency in Education and Labour Markets precisely in the hope of attracting applicants interested in these broad areas and thus facilitating the creation of these synergetic groups.
In addition, in examining the corpus of admitted Fellows we are usually able to identify various potential synergetic research themes and put together such spontaneously formed thematic groups. Sometimes they will fall neatly into ongoing Seminars in the departments or research groups in one of the RSCAS programmes or Centers, such as the working group on legal and political theory.
In the application forms we ask applicants to indicate whether they are interested in one of the announced themes; It helps our planning to be able to estimate the potential size of these groups.
We wish to underscore that there is neither advantage nor disadvantage in terms of the prospects of admission to the programme of indicating an interest in one of the pre-announced themes. For example, shaping one’s research interest to coincide with one of the themes would be entirely counterproductive. Fellows will be chosen by the three selection criteria.
2 – Academic Practice
The Academic Practice activities form one of the most distinctive aspects of the Programme. These seek to foster the on-going professional development of Fellows by improving their communication skills (writing, presentation and teaching), helping them with the development of a publication strategy and applying for research grants, and, in collaboration with the Academic Careers Observatory, preparing them for the job market by helping Fellows to identify potential employment opportunities, supporting them with the preparation of their application, and arranging and giving feedback on mock job talks and interviews.
Fellows are also provided with a range of teaching-training opportunities (within the EUI, Florence and with a number of presitigious universities abroad) and the possibility of acquiring the MWP Teaching Certificate.
For the Academic practice activities Fellows are organised into disciplinary based Academic Practice Groups.
The Programme is open to applicants who are within 5 years of the completion of their PhD from anywhere in the world, regardless of nationality, and is not restricted to citizens of the EU. The language of the programme is English and applicants must fulfil the English language requirements as outlined in the section on Eligibility.
The vast majority of Max Weber Fellowships are for one year. Most applicants in the field of Economics are selected for a 2 year fellowship, which involves additional activities, such as limited teaching in the department, in the second year. Applicants in other disciplines may apply for a limited number of second year Fellowships during the course of their first year. In exceptional cases, three year Fellowships may be offered. Candidates are asked to indicate the desired length of their Fellowship (1, 2 or 3 years) when applying. However, the decision to extend a Fellowship to 2 or 3 years will be made by the Department and the MW Steering Committee on the basis of their evaluation of the candidates and departmental needs.
To apply to the Max Weber Programme please see the following pages:
and then go to the How to Apply page.