ESIL is committed to fostering collaboration and mentoring opportunities for emerging scholars and professionals across its activities. We strive to ensure that key ESIL events and activities are organised in an inclusive manner, to reflect ESIL’s commitment to promote scholarly co-operation and excellence at the highest levels, whilst remain open to all and ensuring a respectful and welcoming environment.

To that end, ESIL has embedded opportunities for emerging scholars across all of its activities. The ESIL Annual Conference regularly sees early-career scholars presenting in the main conference as well as side events, and there are several specific events (networking, career support and mentoring) developed for early-career scholars. What is more, ESIL’s premier early-career event, the ESIL Research Forum, is a small, intensive scholarly event aimed specifically at emerging academics, so they can present and discuss their research and receive feedback from established ESIL members and their peers in a robust, constructive and supportive environment.

In 2022, ESIL formed the Early-Career Network, sending out an announcement to find members to create an early-career committee. The Committee liaises directly with the Board to promote the active engagement of emerging scholars and practitioners in ESIL’s activities and events and also spearheads a number of initiatives specifically of interest to the latter with the support of the Society. These may include organising side events during the ESIL Annual Conference, running sessions focused on professional skills development, and facilitating mentorship opportunities for early-career international lawyers.

ESIL warmly encourages any emerging professionals interested in international legal scholarship to participate in our activities, whether the Annual Conferences and/or Research Fora, the events of our Interest Groups, and various ESIL Joint Events and ESIL Supported Events that are held throughout the academic year.

ESIL Interest Groups are well-tailored for active involvement, with many early-career scholars being elected convenors. Interest Groups hold events in specialised areas of international law, often in conjunction with the main ESIL events, and often in collaboration with other partners. We encourage early-career scholars to approach convenors of ESIL Interest Groups with ideas or proposals.

Besides scholarly events, ESIL also offers a range of initiatives to support early-career scholars. You will find relevant links on this page.


The ESIL Research Forum is ESIL’s premier event that showcases the work of early career scholars within the Society. Convened annually, the Research Forum is a focused, scholarly gathering that promotes engagement with research in progress by members of the Society. It has a small and intensive format.

The Forum targets, in the main, scholars at an early stage of their careers, with a particular focus on advanced PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. Approximately 15 – 20 papers are selected from a competitive submissions process. During the Forum, paper presenters receive feedback and discussion on their papers from members of the ESIL Board and invited experts.

Previous research fora have been held in Florence (2015), Istanbul (2016), Granada (2017), Jerusalem (2018), Göttingen (2019), Catania (online only, 2021), Glasgow (2022), Tartu (2023), and Nicosia (2024).

The next Research Forum will be held in Catania (2025).

Student Membership rates, at substantial reductions, are available for members who are enrolled full-time at a recognised institution of higher education, whether at the undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral level. Student members can benefit from the student membership at a discounted rate, and will be entitled to the full benefits of Society membership.

Further information is available on the individual membership page.

In line with ESIL’s goals of encouraging high-level scholarship, developing a greater awareness and understanding of international law, and promoting early career researchers, the ESIL Board awards the ESIL Early-Career Scholar Prize (previously known as Young Scholar Prize) at each ESIL Annual Conference for an outstanding paper submitted and presented by an early-career scholar. The Prize was first awarded in 2015.

The Prize consists of two years’ free membership of the Society, plus a contribution towards the costs of travel and accommodation at the conference.

The winner of the ESIL Early-Career Scholar Prize is announced in the Conference Programme and the Prize certificate is awarded during the Conference Dinner. The Prize-winning paper is invited to submit their paper for publication (subject to successful peer review) in the European Journal of International Law.

The Teaching Corner is an online resource exclusively for ESIL members to share syllabi, module outlines, reading lists, and other international law teaching materials and tools. Our idea is to encourage the dissemination of sample materials and good practice amongst ESIL members, and especially to provide support for early-career researchers who may be designing a course for the first time. By seeing the innovations and ideas of others, we hope to nurture and inspire innovative teaching both in Europe and beyond, and support each other in teaching preparations.

Access to the Teaching Corner (for ESIL members only)

How to access the Teaching Corner on If you have been a member of ESIL for some time, you should have received a login username and password in the monthly ESIL Updates. If you have lost the credentials or are a new member and do not know the password yet, please contact

The ESIL Board member responsible for liaising between the ESIL Board and the ESIL Early-Career Network Coordinating Committee, and facilitating their activities, is Veronika Fikfak.

In January 2022, an announcement was shared with all ESIL members about the creation of a "Young ESIL Network". The deadline for expressions of interest to become part of the Co-ordinating Committee of such Network was 15 March 2022. Read the full announcement here.

After a call for interested candidates, which received a range of excellent applications from across the Society, the Board is delighted to announce that the ESIL Early-Career Network Co-ordinating Committee will be composed of the following Members:

  • Gergo Barna Balázs
  • Helga Molbaek-Steensig
  • Emma Nyhan
  • Matina Papadaki
  • Silvia Karin Steininger

The Board is grateful to the five appointees and looks forward to working with them; and wishes to convey its thanks to all members who expressed interest in joining the Early-Career Network Co-ordinating Committee.

Should you wish to get in touch with the committee, please write to

In occasion of the 2022 ESIL Research Forum in Glasgow, a special session dedicated to early-career researchers took place on Thursday 31 March.

  • Special Session on Engagement and Mentoring: A Conversation with Early Career Researchers.Informal discussion convened by Neha Jain, Gleider Hernández, Pierre d’Argent, Evelyne Schmid, Silvia Steininger, Gail Lythgoe and Jessica Schechinger.

Please read the full programme here.

The ESIL Early-Career Network Co-ordinating Committee also organised informal networking events on the occasion of the 2022 ESIL annual conference in Utrecht and the 2023 ESIL Annual Conference in Aix-en-Provence. During the 2023 ESIL General Assembly the group also presented the results of a survey carried out among ESIL members. The full report is available here.

The ESIL Early-Career Network Coordinating Committee also participated in the 2024 ESIL Research Forum in Nicosia. First, the Committee hosted an online Pre-meet for the Research Forum participants on Friday, 12 April 2024. The event was well attended and served as an icebreaker connecting participants and local organisers. On the first day of the in-person conference, on 18 April, the Committee facilitated a World Café discussion on: “Engagement and Mentoring: A Conversation with Early-Career Researchers”. This format allowed ECRs to approach, discuss and ask advice from members of the ESIL Board on the topics of teaching, work-life balance, time-management, publishing and securing funding.

2023/2024 Mentoring Programme

In September 2023 the Committee launched the first edition of the ESIL Early-Career Mentoring Programme. The year-long program aims at building a close-knit network inside the broader ESIL community, which will facilitate closer engagement between early-career and established ESIL members as well as complement existing activities for early-career ESIL members. The Programme is run by the ESIL Early-Career Network Co-ordinating Committee with the support of the ESIL Board. It consists of four online group meetings.

The ESIL Early-Career Mentoring Programme aims to provide additional support in two crucial stages:

  • starting-out phase: mentees typically in the first year(s) of their PhD (mentors are advanced PhD candidates (final years) and postdoctoral scholars
  • building-on phase: mentees typically in the final year of their PhD/first year after submission (mentors that are established academics or international law professionals)

The ESIL ECR Network Co-ordinating Committee was incredibly touched by the outpouring of interest in the programme with 125 applications.

Though not exclusively for early-career scholars, ESIL offers a range of supportive Travel and Carers’ Grants to facilitate attendance to ESIL Annual Conferences, ESIL Research Fora and other events, with a particular regard for those whose circumstances make it challenging to attend.