IEE Newsletter No. 28

7th PhD Conference on International Development – A Great Success

Anne Siebert reports on the PhD Conference on International Development

On 8th and 9th November 2018, the seminar rooms of the convention centre at the Ruhr-University Bochum were packed with about 70 PhD students and recent graduates. Many guests travelled from far and wide to join the conference (e.g. from Ghana, India, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines, Réunion, Uganda, South Africa). This year, the PhD Conference on International Development was held by PhD students of the IEE and funded by the RUB’s research school. This international student-led event is part of IEE’s cooperation with the School of International Development (DEV), University of East Anglia; the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex; the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University of Rotterdam; and the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) and the Institute of Political Science (IfP), University Duisburg-Essen. The annual conference is organised by each institute in turn, allowing for interaction between young researchers in the interdisciplinary field of development studies.

The PhD students of the IEE were particularly interested in six broadly defined fields in the development context: alternative development discourses and responses from below, business and labour ethics, resource extraction and community development, migration, innovative research methods, as well as food security and food safety. After receiving more than 100 applications, the organisers added additional sessions on water usage and water governance, housing and citizenship, finance, and development cooperation. Between four to six young scholars presented their work in each session. Senior researchers from the IEE and its partner institutes chaired the presentation sessions.

Pic 1 Oral Presentation 1Britta Holzberg presented her research on the quality of work in Egypt and Jordan (photo: IEE)

In addition to the oral presentations, a number of PhD students took the opportunity to present posters of their projects.

Pic 2 Poster Presentation 2

Callistus Agbaam presented a poster on his project (photo: IEE)

The IEE’s PhD students were also keen to get some guidance in the current methodological and theoretical debates in the broad field of development research. Thus, they invited two keynote speakers: Laura Camfield (School of International Development, University of East Anglia) shared her experiences on how to address diverse development realities methodologically, and Shelley Feldman (Cornell University, USA) discussed the critical notions in development theory and how to deal with these challenges.


Keynote speaker Laura Camfield shared her experiences on research methodology (photo: IEE)

As a whole, the conference provided a platform for exchange, networking, and vital discussions.

Pic 4 Break 1

Pic 5 Break 1
Vital exchange during the breaks (photos: IEE)

“I enjoyed every moment of the conference in Bochum; starting with my trip to Germany, the warm welcome, the great feedback on my work, the opportunity to join the conference dinner, and getting in touch with many passionate scholars.” Conference Attendee from India

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) will host the 2019 PhD Conference on International Development. At the end of this year’s conference, PhD researchers of the IDS took the opportunity to announce their commitment and invited the participants to join the 8th PhD Conference in Sussex, UK.

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