UCD’s Professor David Farrell was recently appointed as Chair of the European Consortium for Political Research, the scholarly society, based in Colchester, England. Celebrating its 50th year, the ECPR is the leading scholarly society for political scientists in Europe and one of the largest worldwide, drawing its membership from more than 320 universities.

Farrell, who is Head of UCD School of Politics and International Relations and the first Irish person to be elected to this position within the association, will take up his three-year term beginning in May 2021.

This week, The College Tribune spoke to Farrell to learn more about the ECPR’s mission, what his role as chair will entail, and how this would complement his work at UCD.

Farrell described many of the ECPR’s day-to-day purposes. The organisation publishes four different political science journals, provides multiple funding supports, and runs many major conferences year in and year out. Among its main function, Farrell set out that the association acts as a professional and top range provider which acts as a facility for political scientists within their discipline to network, share ideas and publish research in an extremely effective environment.

Describing its governance structure, Farrell noted that the ECPR is overseen by an Executive Committee of 12 trustees, tasked with the responsibility for the formulation of long-term strategic development of the association. This is particularly around areas such as Finance, Publications, Organisation and Events management.

As chair, Farrell will head up the grouping which stays in place on six-year staggered terms. He expressed that, in his role, a lot of travel is involved – ‘at least once a month,’ during non-Covid times, whilst also noting that the consortium hosts two major conferences ‘at least once a year,’ and other small events throughout intervening months.

Relating his work at the association back to home, Farrell stated that his focus is on raising the profile of the ECPR within the EU, and most importantly at UCD. Asked what potential the organisation could bring to graduates and current students looking to enter the discipline, he expressed that ‘a lot of the work the ECPR do is focused on training.’ He stated that he hopes to raise the profile of the consortium in this way during his term.

Stephen Kennedy – Politics Correspondent