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Young Scholars Think Piece Series

February 6, 2014

Invitation for contributions

UNRISD invites contributions from postgraduate students (Master’s degree and higher) to its Young Scholars Think Piece Series. The Series aims to provide promising young researchers with an opportunity to present their research on social development on a wider platform than is possible within a university setting, thereby contributing to the diversity of ideas within the development community. Preference is given to original pieces offering alternative perspectives, highlighting marginalized viewpoints and bringing neglected issues to the fore. Think pieces can be based on previously written essays, dissertations or theses. The think pieces are published on the UNRISD website and promoted through its social media networks.
Photo: Kent Yoshimura via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

First Edition: Extractive Industries

Calls for contributions to the Young Scholars Think Piece Series take place in thematically organized, time-bound editions. This current first edition has a submission period from February to 21 March 2014 and is based on the theme of Extractive Industries and Social Development.
To enable young scholars to feed into debates in this field, UNRISD invites think pieces that speak to issues relevant to social development in mineral-rich contexts and/or related to extractive industries such as:

  • Human rights
  • Environment
  • Business/Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Migration
  • Gender
  • Children
  • Social Policy
  • Social Development
  • Communities/Local Development
  • Indigenous Peoples

For background on related UNRISD work, please visit the following research project pages:

How to Submit a Contribution

  1. Read the terms and conditions below (or as a pdf).
  2. Download and fill in the submission form.
  3. The submission form must be endorsed by a member of faculty in order for the piece to be considered.
  4. Send the proof-read think piece and the endorsed submission form to with the subject line "Young Schlolars Think Piece Series".
  5. The deadline for submissions is midnight (CET) on 21 March 2014.

Terms and Conditions

By submitting think pieces, participants agree to the following terms and conditions.

1. Participation

Participation is free of charge and open to students either currently enrolled in a postgraduate programme (Master’s degree and higher) or who have completed a postgraduate programme (Master’s degree and higher) since 31 December 2011.

2. Submission deadline

The deadline for submissions is at midnight (CET) on 21 March 2014. Late entries will not be accepted.

3. Submission procedure

All submissions must be made via email to Entries submitted by post will not be accepted. Think pieces must be saved as a MS Word (or compatible) file.

Together with the think piece, participants must email the submission form that includes a compulsory section for endorsement by a member of faculty (or research equivalent) familiar with the topic and explaining briefly how the think piece meets the Series criteria of quality, research relevance, innovation and originality.

No responsibility is assumed on the part of UNRISD for late entries or corrupt files. Entries that do not comply with the formal specifications will be automatically disqualified.

4. Selection process

The selection panel is made up of UNRISD researchers. Entries not adhering to the requirements will be excluded, at the discretion of the selection panel.

5. Selection criteria

With this activity, UNRISD seeks high-quality innovative contributions to ongoing debates based on original empirical and/or theoretical research. Empirical contributions are strongly encouraged, as well as innovative theoretical pieces. All entries will be evaluated on quality, research relevance, innovation, and originality.

6. Selected think pieces

Up to 5 think pieces will be selected. They will be published on UNRISD website and promoted through UNRISD social networks.

7. Notification of selected entries

Only contributors of selected entries will be contacted via email.

8. Requirements

Think pieces must meet the following requirements:

  • original and high-quality work based on empirical and/or theoretical research (conference paper, dissertation, or doctoral thesis);
  • if the content is significantly drawn from previously published work, the original publication must be fully acknowledged and referenced as per standard academic practice;
  • written in either English, French, or Spanish; proofread; with a total length between 1,000 and 2,000 words (not including summary and references);
  • contain a maximum of 6 correctly cited references;
  • use of footnotes should be kept to a minimum;
  • include a summary of up to 150 words and a short bio of the author of up to 150 words.

Use of images, diagrams, charts or tables is encouraged but permission for use must be obtained, if necessary. The source must always be properly credited.

9. Preferred style

The following style tips are not requirements, but observing them will make the think piece more readable and may well improve the chances of it being selected.

  • Put the main points at the beginning of sections and back them up afterwards, rather than the other way round.
  • Try to keep sentences short, for example by not adding extra information in brackets or between commas. Break down sentences rather than using long relative clauses.
  • Prefer the active rather than passive voice. So for example: “Sasha Ferner presented the findings” is preferable to: “The findings were presented by Sasha Ferner”
  • Keep paragraphs short.
  • Subheadings are useful for breaking up the text and signaling to readers what’s coming up next. Try to keep the sections quite short.
  • Bulleted lists may be valuable to break up a body of text that contains a series of items, depending on the nature of the content.
  • Avoid abbreviations if possible.

10. Images, diagrams, charts and tables

The use of images to accompany think pieces is encouraged. These may be charts or tables containing data analysed in the piece; diagrams to illustrate complex conceptual relationships; photographs or other pictorial representations relevant to the topic of the piece, such as photos taken during field work.

If any images, diagrams, charts or tables are used, permission must be obtained and the source properly credited.

11. Copyright

As a condition of having their think pieces selected, entrants agree to irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free transfer of worldwide rights allowing UNRISD (or its partners) the following uses including, but not limited to, publishing the think pieces on the UNRISD website and social media sites.

Use of images, diagrams, charts or tables is encouraged but permission for use must be obtained, if necessary. The source must always be properly credited.

The United Nations does not assume any responsibility for the misuse of material in production, reproduction and activities of endorsed partners, nor can it be held responsible for force majeure, should this activity have to be modified or cancelled. Any decision made by the organizers in any matter relating to this activity considered final and binding.