Brexit and the future of the UK as a “global trading nation”

The question of international trade has been the central tenet of several leading Brexiteers. Theresa May herself qualified Brexit as an opportunity to transform Great Britain into a “great, global trading nation”[i], although she did not campaign to leave the European Union (EU). These Brexiteers often argue that the regulatory framework that allows the functioning of the European single market is too stringent, and holds British businesses back. They also remark that some developing countries have been growing faster than European countries, making them attractive trading partners. They conclude that leaving the EU and the single market would make it easier for the United Kingdom (UK) to strike bilateral trade agreements with the rest of the world and to become a champion of free trade. It is also not unusual for them to argue that the history of the UK as a colonial power, and the existence of the Commonwealth, would be an asset after leaving the EU.[ii]

     This article will not discuss how colonial nostalgia sometimes shapes conservative thinking in the UK or in Europe[iii]. It will instead focus on the economic and political reasons to believe that it is only illusionary to expect the Brexiteers’ view of the world to lead to a bright (trading) future.

The fundamentals of International trade

In the present context, it might be important to start with a simple description, or reminder, of the forces that actually drive international trade today. This is easy to do because it concerns one of the most robust empirical findings in economics. Bilateral trade between two countries is proportional to their respective sizes (measured by the wealth they produce, i.e. their gross domestic product), and inversely proportional to the geographic distance between them.  This observation is widely known as the Gravity Model.[iv] It is also well known that countries tend to simultaneously import and export similar goods. Paul Krugman earned his Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2008 for explaining this observation.[v] If we are to sum up the essential features of modern international trade in a few words, we can say that similar countries trade similar goods with their close neighbours. It is therefore not surprising that roughly half of the total trade of the UK is done with EU countries. The narrative according to which the UK could become a champion of free trade by turning its back on the single market is thus in direct contradiction with the economic forces that shape international trade today. Irrespective of how romantic the idea of sending ships to former colonial and exotic territories can be to some people, Antigua and Barbuda, South Africa or Australia will not replace the single market as a trading partner.

     Unsurprisingly, the Brexiteers have tried to call into question the robustness of the Gravity Model, and also tried to argue that the trade of services could be different from the trade of goods, but the evidence is strong.[vi] And this is only one of the many reasons to be sceptical of Euroscepticism.

Developing countries are no cornucopia for the UK

The claim from Brexiteers that several developing countries have, on average, been growing faster than the EU is factually correct. But the interpretation they make of this fact is very questionable. The group of countries known as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have experienced impressive growth since the 2000s. But this does not mean that they are destined to become trading partners of the same importance as the EU, and certainly not in the short term. The economic health of Brazil and Russia is highly dependant on world commodity prices (gas and oil for Russia, iron ore and agriculture for Brazil). Brazil is in the midst of a political crisis that has damaged its economy. Russia is under international sanctions. China faces at least two major challenges that the government sees as priorities to access the full rank of a major world economic power. Firstly, it is operating a necessary, but very delicate, change of economic regime (from a model based on mass exports to a more balanced model with a stronger domestic market). The new regime will inevitably be associated with a weaker growth if it is successful. Secondly, China wants to internationalize its currency, and thus needs to open itself to the international flows of capital. This last objective includes major risks for the stability of the domestic and global financial system. The Indian government is persuaded (with good reasons) that further development will only be possible if the country can improve the technological content of its production and trade. So, whoever wants to trade with India (and have easier access to its 1.3 billion potential consumers) will face Indian negotiators asking for technologies and intellectual property rights to be transferred to their country. Overall, in contrast with the enthusiasm the BRICS have generated until recently, the prevalent opinion about their economic performance is now more moderate.[vii]

     The conclusion is that even if these countries have, or had, impressive levels of growth, they also have their weaknesses, their own priorities and their own interests. They are not simple trade reservoirs, idly waiting for the UK to exploit their potential. It is certainly in the best interest of the developed economies to have trade agreements with the BRICS. And for once, the Brexiteers share a common opinion with the other European countries since the EU already has an agreement with Russia and South Africa, and is currently negotiating with India and Brazil. But the process of trade negotiations is far from straightforward and not the panacea that would transform the UK into a champion of international trade.

Bilateral agreements do not rule iternational trade, regional agreements do.

In any case, trying to multiply bilateral trade agreements after leaving the single market is hardly a viable strategy at all, for at least two reasons.

     Firstly, the UK joined the European Economic Community in 1973, and as such, has not negotiated any trade agreement on its own for 45 years. All the trade agreements in which the UK participates today were negotiated by the EU, to the benefit of all its members. This fact has a concrete and very serious consequence: the UK administration is left without experienced international trade negotiators. Crawford Falconer (a former New Zealand ambassador to the World Trade Organization) has been hired by the Department for International Trade to address this shortage of competence. However, in a response to a written question in the Commons in October 2017 (16 months after the result of the referendum), the department’s minister could not cite the name of any other official employed in the department with « substantial experience of international trade negotiations »[viii].  This should be a particularly worrying observation given that the UK will lose the benefits of the more than 100 trade agreements (already in place or being negotiated) that the EU has with third countries,[ix] irrespective of the result of the Brexit negotiations. According to the data collected by the Peterson Institute for International Economics  it takes on average 45 months for a team of experienced American negotiators to start the implementation of bilateral free trade deals after the opening of negotiations.[x] How many bilateral trade agreements would be necessary to the post-Brexit UK to become a champion of free trade? How long would it take for the UK to form a team of experienced negotiators ? How many negotiations could be held in parallel ? All these questions are crucial to determine how long it would take to achieve the Brexiteers’ stated objective of becoming a champion of free trade. But these questions are virtually totally absent from the current debate. “A long time, certainly” is the best answer we can reasonably give.

     Secondly, no single country can pretend to be a major world economic power without being part of a trading bloc. There are no less than 420 regional trade agreements in place in the world today[xi], and every continent, or even sub-continent, has its own major trade area. Some Brexiteers cite Singapore as an example for the future of the UK after leaving the single market. However, they conveniently forget that Singapore is already part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (which is one of the world major free trade areas, and attracting new members) and is also part of the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is deemed to become an even bigger trade deal. In the modern world, it is simply impossible for any country to consider itself as the centre of international trade, and to expect its economic interests to prevail by occasionally striking simple bilateral trade agreements. The economic world is organized in large, wealthy, and politically influential blocs. Any country which refuses to see this reality is doomed to remain at the margin of world affairs. The EU is by many measures one of these major blocs.[xii] It is for instance the world’s first exporter and importer. It is also the top trading partner of about 80 other countries (the United States in comparison are the top trading partner of about 20 countries). The irony, of course, is that it is precisely in this context that the UK has decided to leave the EU, without a clue about how to retain its place in the world after that.

And let us not forget the domestic political aspect

     There are many more reasons to be doubtful about the promises of the Brexiteers, in particular for those interested in more technical aspects of the question. But among all the points neglected so far, there is one consideration that deserves everyone’s attention far above all the others. The consensus among economists, and also among the political class, is that, overall, international trade can be beneficial to every country. However, at the individual level, some agents in the economy do suffer from adverse effects when their country is open to trade. In other words, the gains from international trade are not equally distributed in the economy. Those who lose are dissatisfied with the economy and become easy targets for populist politicians who never waste an opportunity to point at foreign scapegoats. Then, when the populists are getting started with scapegoating, they inevitably reach an even wider audience of people beyond their core target of “economically dissatisfied” people. Irrespective of any other consideration, the UK cannot be a “great, global trading nation” if this project is not supported by the overwhelming majority of the British electorate. Obtaining this support requires paying much more attention to the distribution of the gains from trade, and depriving the populists of any room for manoeuvre.

 

Date of publication: December 2017

Author: Mallory Yeromonahos, Post Graduate Researcher in Economics at the University of Birmingham and member of the GCfE’s committee. I am studying the role of household debt in the economy and the consequences for monetary policy, with a mostly theoretical approach.

Links to references and articles of interest:

[i] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/17/theresa-mays-brexit-speech-full/

[ii]This view is often expressed in The Telegraph. For instance:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/12193101/Brexit-will-allow-Britain-to-embrace-the-Commonwealth.html

[iii] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/boris-johnson-poem-burma-rudyard-kipling-mandalay-a7975246.html

[iv]You can find here an academic paper with a presentation of the Gravity Model. It is not the most recent on the question (2010), but it is relatively easily readable for the most part, and it gives a good overview

http://www.nber.org/papers/w16576

[v]Find P. Krugman’s Noble lecture on this question here:

https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/2008/krugman-lecture.html

[vi] https://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21707912-brexiteers-need-respect-gravity-models-international-trade-down-earth

[vii] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/04/what-is-the-state-of-the-brics-economies/

And also

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29960335

[viii] http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-10-12/107364/

[ix] http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/negotiations-and-agreements/#_in-place

[x] https://piie.com/blogs/trade-investment-policy-watch/how-long-does-it-take-conclude-trade-agreement-us

[xi] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/05/world-free-trade-areas-everything-you-need-to-know/

[xii] http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/eu-position-in-world-trade/

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Film Series on Terrorism

The Graduate Centre for Europe invites you to our film series on Terrorism:

 

Romanzo di una strage (Marco Tullio Giordana, 2013)

introduction : Dr. Alan O’Leary, University of Leeds

when: Tuesday, 19 November 2016 – 6-8 pm Westmere House, University of Birmingham

 

The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach, 2006)

introduction: Dr. Christopher Finlay, University of Birmingham

when: Tuesday, 31 January 2017, 6-8 pm Westmere House, University of Birmingham

 

Battle of Algiers (1966)

when: Tuesday, 28 February 2017, 6-8 pm Westmere House, University of Birmingham

 

The wolf (2004)

when: Tuesday, 28 march 2017, 6-8 pm Westmere House, University of Birmingham

 

Combat girls (2011)

when: Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 6-8 pm Westmere House, University of Birmingham

 

Made in France (2015)

when: Tuesday, 30 May 2017, 6-8 pm Westmere House, University of Birmingham

GCfE Newsletter: Issue 5 Online

We are pleased to announce that the fifth issue of our GCfE Newsletter is now available, although we do apologise for the delay. The final issue of the 2014/2015 offers a re-cap of our 9th annual conference as well as a farewell address from the GCfE’s academic Dr Nick Martin, who has been with the forum since its inception. We are delighted to announce that Dr Isabelle Hertner, who has been involved with many of our events in the past and has even provided a short article on our conference keynote in this newsletter, will be taking over as the new academic director in the 2015/2016 academic year. Next year will mark the 10 year anniversary of the GCfE and it will certainly prove to be an exciting year. With the new postgraduate space opening in Westmere House next year we definitely aim to make this interdisciplinary forum a more integral part of all college’s at the university. The forum is open to all postgraduates at the University of Birmingham, research and taught, and is a great way to network with peers researching into any aspect of Europe, as well as gain experience planning seminars, workshops and conferences. Initial plans for next year, including developing the conference theme, are already underway and if you would like to get involved with the forum please feel free to drop us an email at gcfe@contacts.bham.ac.uk or visit us at our welcome lunch when the next academic year begins, more details about that will of course come at the end of the summer break.

We want to thank everyone who has come to any of our events this year and of course to our fantastic committee, in particular this year’s Events Co-Chair Emma Gardner. None of this would be possible without the hard work of the postgraduate students who steer and lead this academic forum. Thank you again to Nick for all you’ve done for the forum over the year, we hope you will still be able to visit us from time to time. Finally, many thanks to Isabelle for agreeing to work with such a diverse group of postgraduates, which will hopefully lead to the group moving in new and exciting directions in the next decade of European studies.

The GCfE Newsletter is now online on our publications tab available here: https://gcfebham.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/gcfe-newsletter-no-5-spring-2015.pdf and should shortly be on our university webpage www.birmingham.ac.uk/gcfe.

Happy summer everyone, we look forward to seeing you next Autumn!

Upcoming Conferences on Europe

A few upcoming conferences may be of interest to GCfE followers:

The first is Imagining Europe: Cultural Models of European Identity, 1814-2014 which will take place on 15 July 2015.

Imagining Europe is the final event in a programme that aims to consider the extent to which alternative politico-cultural imaginings of Europe are influenced by factors including religion, ethnicity and national identity. The last day to book your place for this conference is the 3rd of July and you can find the booking form along with the programme for the day here: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/birtha/events/imagining-europe/conference/

For more information about Imagining Europe please visit: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/birtha/events/imagining-europe/

The second event is the 24th annual conference of the European Reformation Research Group (ERRG) which will take place on the 9-11 September 2015.

The ERRG has been the UK’s principal forum for research into the religious history of early modern Europe. The conference is unthemed and invites papers connected to researchers current work as it relates to European reformations. Papers are particularly welcome from postgraduates and early career researchers, but is also open to established scholars. Abstracts of 200 words for 20 minute papers should be emailed to theerrg@gmail.com by Friday 26 June 2015.

The conference registration form can be found here: ERRG 2015 Registration Form

More information about the ERRG can be found at their new website available here: https://theerrg.wordpress.com/

Newsletter CFP

If you would like to submit a short article for the final issue of the GCfE Newsletter for this academic year you have until Friday to do so. The Newsletter runs 2-3 issues per academic year and alongside publicising our GCfE events also looks to feature short pieces by postgraduates. Submissions might include brief articles about your work or current research in your field, conference and seminar reviews or opinion pieces. Feel free to submit anything from your thoughts about the election results to the upcoming Women’s World Cup. We’d also be willing to run original creative pieces such as poems, cartoons or photography.

Please send your submission to gcfe@contacts.bham.ac.uk by 22 May 2015. Please include your name and any affiliation details (e.g. university, degree, etc) you would like published alongside your piece. You can also request to have your submission printed anonymously.

Past newsletters can be found on our publications tab or on our academic website available here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/gcfe/news/index.aspx.

Call for Papers

The Graduate Centre for Europe publications team has a couple of cfp announcements for our end of year GCfE Newsletter and the Birmingham Journal for Europe.

First, our GCfE Newsletter is open for submissions for short articles on any topic. This can include reports of recent conferences and seminar series, new research and works, collaborative projects, opinion pieces and so forth. The Newsletter would also be happy to run artistic pieces such as original poems, sketches and photography. For the Newsletter submissions do not have to be linked exclusively to European research, although the GCfE always loves to see more topics of this nature. If you would like to submit a short piece for publication within our final newsletter of the 2015/2016 year please email your submission as a Word Document to gcfe@contacts.bham.ac.uk by 22 May 2015. If you have any queries feel free to send those our way as well. Previous versions of our newsletter can be found here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/gcfe/news/index.aspx.

Second, our cfp for the next issue of the Birmingham Journal for Europe is open for article submissions. This issue is accepting articles on any topic relevant to research in Europe. This is an interdisciplinary publication which is peer-reviewed by relevant academics at the University of Birmingham. In previous years this publication has been linked to our conference themes, and articles related to this year’s Dissidence theme or last year’s Travelling Europe theme are certainly welcome as we do not have journal issues on these topics. However, articles touching on other themes, topics and ideas are also encouraged as the journal moves to broaden its scope over the next year. Articles should be approximately 6000 words in length and adhere to the MHRA referencing guide. The full cfp for this issue is available on our publications tab and articles should be submitted no later than 30 November 2015. To see the previous issues of our journal please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/gcfe/journal/index.aspx

Finally, if anyone is interested in getting involved with the GCfE committee and/or publications team we are always looking for new members to get involved. The committee organises a series of events and an annual conference and the publications team edits and publishes the journal, a newsletter and this blog. If you would like to get involved please do get in touch. Official positions may be advertised soon, but there is always room for members who would like to participate in the forum without taking on a dedicated role.

Europe Day

The 5th May 2015 is Europe Day, and in coordination with The Europe Direct Information Centre the GCfE would like to invite anyone interested to attend the event at the Library of Birmingham. Europe Day commemorates 9 May 1950, when the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organised Europe, to help maintain peaceful relations between European countries. Known as the ‘Schuman declaration’, this proposal is considered to be the act that created what is now the European Union. This event will be aimed at individuals and businesses in Midlands and will showcase how best to access support and advice on European matters. Partner organisations will also be present for advice, support and networking on European matters.

Two seminars will be taking place during the day.

MEP’s debate: What are we doing for you?
11:00 – Registration.
11:30 – 12:00 – MEPs’ the role of an MEP and how they represent us within Parliament.
12:00 – 12:30 – Q&A session.
This is a unique opportunity for you to put your questions to them and to discuss how best they can represent you within the European Commission.

Business Masterclass – With Simon Topman MBE CEO of J Hudson & Co.
13:00 – Registration.
13:30 – 14:30 – Masterclass.
14:30 – 15:00 – Q&A session.
A former President of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneur in Residence to the Library of Birmingham Business & Learning Team,this is for all new and existing business owners You will get to learn how Simon has developed his business into one of the world’s most popular brands.

For more details and to register please visit: http://www.birmingham-chamber.com/BCCG/Events/EventDetails.aspx?event=4475

GCfE 9th Annual Conference: A Guide to Publishing and Editing

The GCfE roundtable session on publishing featured presentations by Zainab Naqvi, a second year Law PhD candidate and the current Publications Co-Chair for the GCfE; Gail Mobley, a third year English Literature PhD candidate and the Publications Co-Chair for 2013/2014; and Dr Stephen Forcer, a senior lecturer in French Studies at the University of Birmingham and an editor and referee of numerous academic journals. For this session our participants provided background on their individual experiences with publishing and editing and then held a more open floor Q+A style discussion.

Q: The REF

The Research Excellence Framework is the method of assessing the quality of research at higher education institutions in Britain. Although according to Stephen, the REF may find itself exported to other parts of the world sometime in the future. The REF is a points based system, 0-4, and generally to be hired for an academic position today you will want publications scoring a 3 (internationally excellent) with the potential for 4 (groundbreaking). Researchers must submit 4 items to the REF for evaluation, a monograph counts double. So generally speaking academics are submitting 3-4 pieces over 7 years for evaluation.

Q: The value of peer review

Like the REF, peer review ensures the quality of an academic journal article, book chapter or monograph. Having your work peer-reviewed and published in a peer-reviewed collection ensures that standards are in place to measure the suitability of a publication, and that not just anything will be published. It is important to keep in mind who might be peer-reviewing your work when submitting. If your peer-reviewer is a major specialist in your field and your paper doesn’t even mention them this might give them pause, and not just for reasons of vanity. It shows you don’t know enough about relevant researchers in your area, or that you have not done the proper legwork in submitting your paper.

Q: Impact, and does this mean publications?

Publications are the strongest way through which to make an impact within academia, and certainly the key consideration of things like the REF. However, one thing that higher education institutions are increasingly looking for is impact outside of academia. In the Arts and Social Sciences this relates to defending potentially more obscure research. Public engagement activities and social media are other ways in which to ensure your research is relevant and can be pitched to a wider audience. The Research Poster Conference hosted by the University Graduate School annually enables researchers to present their work to a non-specialist audience, providing the opportunity to think about how you would translate your work to an audience outside of your field, and potentially even outside of academia. Social media platforms like Academia.edu, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs (such as WordPress) provide a platform to get your voice, research and ideas out to a wider audience.

Q: Publication and Post Doc

At the end of your PhD you should have clear intentions about publications/publication opportunities going into a post-doc. Turning your PhD into a monograph is one possible outcome of your studies, and you will need to think about where would be the best place to aim your research. In regards to the publisher you use the REF is not concerned, as they only care about the quality of the work. However, hiring universities will likely weigh where you have published, and not all publishers are considered equal. Hiring departments and what they look for vary. When it comes to interviews for academic positions its also worth keeping in mind that sometimes extra places appear. Even if you know you are interviewing against someone more qualified, with more publications, it doesn’t mean you won’t both get the job. Or that you are actually a better fit for where you interview.

The GCfE committee would like to thank everyone that came along to this session, as well as our speakers, and hope that those of you reading at home find this small snapshot of the session useful. For more about the conference keep an eye out for our next newsletter which should appear near the end of the summer term. See our publications tab for information about our recently opened journal cfp, and check back next week for more information about the journal, the newsletter and another potential Cambridge Scholars Publishing opportunity.

GCfE 9th Annual Conference: How to get the most from your PhD experience

The GCfE has had a bit of a longer holiday than previously planned, but we are still aiming to get updates about our conference onto the blog shortly. For anything that doesn’t make the blog we hope to have featured in the final newsletter of the year. Check back in a few days for a cfp for newsletter articles if you are interested in putting forward a short piece on anything related to Europe, including what’s going on in the UK.

Re-capping the conference in a bit of a reverse order, this post is dedicated to a summary of our second roundtable featuring guests from The University Graduate School, Careers Network and an academic speaker. This session focused on how to tackle the thesis, relationships with supervisors, conference opportunities and how to mentally cope with the pressures of graduate level research.

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Our first speaker was Jim Bell, the Marketing and Events Officer of the University Graduate School. The Graduate School have always been a great support to the GCfE and it was great to have Jim join us for this panel. Jim kicked off the session with his 3 key ideas for how to get the most from your PhD.

1. Start off doing stuff

2. Organisation
-> figure out your motivation, why you’re doing the PhD and your end goal

3. Take ownership of your PhD
-> Don’t just do what your supervisor says, the PhD should be a conversation between you and your supervisor.
-> Be proactive, responsible and self-promoting
-> UGS offers several resources, including inductions and skills sessions
-> You need to decide what you want to take advantage of

Next up was Holly Prescott, who finished her English Literature PhD in 2011 and is currently the Careers Network Postgraduate Liaison with primarily taught students. Prior to this she worked in postgraduate recruitment. Three was a popular number for the panel as Holly also came along having prepared 3 key things. For Holly these were a bit more of abstract ideas than an active to do list.

1. Do not isolate yourself
-> Don’t let your circles get to narrow, especially if you aren’t planning to go into academia
-> keep your career options open
-> Allow yourself different types of models, influences and opportunities

2. Don’t put up too many barriers
-> Take a wide view and don’t limit opportunities to what fits your research

3. Smash your comfort zone
-> PhD offers an independence not available in other parts of life, take advantage.

Our final roundtable participant was Dr Isabelle Hertner, a Politics Lecturer in German. She’s been with the University of Birmingham for 4 years now, and has chaired about 4 or 5 Vivas. Currently she is supervising 4 PhD students, with her first supervised student competing the Viva this past December. As a PhD supervisor it is probably obvious that her first piece of advice was that the PhD must come first, but it’s also a good point to be reminded of. She goes on to say that you need to know what you are doing, but in today’s academic climate the PhD is just not enough anymore. Teaching is a good way too boost the academic CV as well as offers an opportunity to practice your presentation skills. Just remember to not take on too much as, of course, the PhD comes first. PhD candidates will also want to take the opportunity to publish (keep an eye out for our upcoming publishing roundtable post), but within the parameters of your PhD rather than new material which will take a significant amount of time away from your research. Finally, she offered a few comments on the relationship between the supervisor and student. One thing you’ll want to be clear on is the expectations from both the student as well as the supervisor. The relationship is one of time management on both ends.

The roundtable then opened the floor for a bit of Q+A, and this post will conclude with a recap of a few of the most stimulating questions.

Q: How should you approach the Viva?
A: (Jim): UGS used to run a preparation workshop but the feedback was that it wasn’t discipline specific enough so for now there is an online course available to help with preparation, see the UGS course page for details.
(Holly): Distance yourself from the horror stories and just focus on the task at hand. Don’t compare yourself to others and give yourself spatial isolation (e.g. work in a space where you can avoid the noise). Most importantly, keep in mind that this is the only examination that you will ever take that is on a book you wrote. View it as an opportunity to talk in depth with people who have looked closely at your work.
(Nick, GCfE academic adviser): Also keep in mind that you have a choice in your examiners.

Q: Regarding the job market as you are close to submission. You have no publications but are running out of money. Submit or starve, what should you do?
A: (Jim): You have to consider which direction is your end goal, academic or not. (Holly): If it is not academic than take an opportunity to go into that area and gain some experience and potentially an income while finishing.
(Isabelle): If the aim is academic, apply for academic jobs you are qualified for and want to do, e.g. temporary lectureship. Don’t waste your time going for things you aren’t suited to, and look into whether you can start a position before the Viva as some opportunities will offer more flexible start dates.

Q: Thoughts on other activities and responsibilities during the PhD?
(Nick): Do mix with non-PhDs. You want the thesis in and passed as quickly as possible but at the same time you’ll need to have other interests and activities, which will help you to reach the primary goal. (Holly): It is re-invigorating and motivating to have more than your thesis in front of you.

Q: Interview advice?
(Isabelle): Develop and demonstrate skills, e.g. conference organising, managing a budget, etc. (Jim): Interviews, whether academic or not, are about providing evidence that you are qualified, but evidence can come in a variety of different forms.

We hope those of you who made the session found it fun and informative, and that those of you that weren’t able to join us have found this re-cap to be of interest. Of course the GCfE again wants to thank Jim, Holly and Isabelle for taking the time to put together this interesting and useful session.

For more on what the University Graduate School has to offer please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/support/dr/graduateschool/index.aspx

For the Careers Network please visit: https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/employability/careers/index.aspx

Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Last year the Graduate Centre for Europe publications committee decided to publish a collection of the 8th Annual Conference proceedings with Cambridge Scholars Publishing. The collection enabled our editorial team the chance to work on editing and producing a book, and features the scholarly work of postgraduates across all fields of European studies working in the UK and across Europe.

Travelling Europe

We tweeted about the collection’s release a few weeks ago, but officially decided to publicise the collection in conjunction with our 9th annual conference. Congratulations to all the contributors as well as our hard working editorial team for making this happen.

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Wine Reception

The GCfE committee are considering producing another collection in conjunction with our 9th annual conference theme. If you would be interested in contributing to a collection around the topic of Dissidence in Europe, from the perspective of any discipline, please keep an eye on this space as we will shortly be deciding whether we will go forward with a second publication. The cfp for the next issue of the Birmingham Journal for Europe will also be available soon. BJfE is a peer-reviewed journal run by the GCfE publications team, more information about which can be found on our publications page.

For more information about the Traveling Europe collection, or to order your own copy of the book, please visit: http://www.cambridgescholars.com/travelling-europe

More updates about the 9th Annual Conference, including our keynote and roundtable sessions will be appearing in this space over the next few weeks. We would like to thank all our participants, roundtable speakers, panel chairs and our keynote Jolyon Howorth. The GCfE conference would not be possible without such fantastic contributors. We hope to see many of you back next year for what will be our 10th annual event.