Young Scholars Program aims to promote co-operative research among new academics

26 Aug 2014

The International Co-operative Alliance’s Committee on Co-operative Research (CCR) has developed a Young Scholars Program to promote co-operative research among new scholars. Launched at the Global Research Conference in Croatia in June, the scheme helped bring together emerging scholars studying co-operatives and well-known academics in co-operative studies. The Young Scholars Programme is open to new researchers studying co-operatives, whether graduate students, post-doctoral students and young scholars within two years of receiving their degrees.

Around thirty new scholars attended the conference as part of the Young Scholars Program, with 14 of them receiving €500 worth scholarships from CCR to cover some travel expenses. They also benefited from a reduced registration fee. All young scholars presented research papers in sessions that featured established academics.

Chair of CCR, Sonja Novkovic, explained how the Young Scholars Program was designed to enable new scholars to engage with established academics and exchange ideas. The conference had a multi-disciplinary approach, giving young scholars the chance to explore different issues such as co-operative law, agriculture, economic development, micro finance lending or ethical banking.

All young scholars participating were invited to submit research papers for a special issue of the Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management. This year’s edition of the Review of International Co-operation will also focus on co-operative research and will feature contributions from new scholars.

Ann Apps, one of the young scholars speaking at the conference, said: “The June conference in Pula, Croatia, was the first ICA Research Conference I have attended and it was an extremely worthwhile and rewarding conference experience”.

Ms Apps is a lawyer and lecturer at Newcastle Law School, University of Newcastle, Australia. She has recently commenced her PhD candidature and she is researching the contribution of legal frameworks to co-operative identity in Australia, Fiji and Solomon Islands.  

“The conference was a wonderful forum to present my early research. The Young Scholars Program was launched and it gave me the opportunity to meet and network with a group of young and emerging scholars with interests in a diverse range of topics relating to co-operative enterprise”, she said.

CCR is a thematic committee of the International Co-operative Alliance designed to bridge academic research and the co-operative world. According to Ms Novkovic, the Young Scholars Program is very important because “co-operatives have been missing from textbooks in research agendas”.

She added: “We strongly feel that need to reinvigorate co-operatives as a topical interest.” She explained how co-operatives have been marginalised from research into law, marketing or business fields.

“We need to give co-operative research a boost. This is one of the initiatives that is going to help us do that.”

CCR is also looking to engage with online audiences and has recently launched a new website, which has a special section on the Young Scholars Program.

Photo: Emerging scholars attending the Young Scholars workshop at the Research Conference in Croatia. This workshop was delivered by Pierre Laliberte of the International Labour Organization.