Announcement of a Special Meeting:

Founding a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) for election studies

The Consortium for European Research with Election Studies (CERES) has recently learned of a new opportunity for European national election studies to be placed on a “roadmap” to infrastructure status. A proposal would need to be submitted by the end of August 2017. Details are given in an addendum appended below.

This Call is addressed to you as a CERES member or as someone identified as a past or present election study Principal Investigator (please forgive duplicates). If your term as PI has ended would you PLEASE bring this Call to the attention of your successor(s). In any case please do forward it to anyone who you think might wish to receive it.

In order to consult with likely beneficiaries of the proposed infrastructure, a meeting will be held on Saturday April 8th at the University of Vienna for which we solicit requests for invitations by current PIs of national election studies in Europe and other members or would-be members of CERES. Priority will be given to the PIs of election studies or their delegates (one individual per election study per country). Additional participants will be invited as space allows.

A fallback date of Saturday April 21st is envisaged in case the number who can attend on April 8th would not be sufficient. We ask you to please indicate your availability on both dates (and, if you are unable to attend on one or both dates, the availability of a delegate of your choice).

The reason for the short notice is the brief amount of time available before universities in Europe start to shut down for summer vacations. We envisage a need for perhaps extensive consultation by PIs with their institutional administrations and with the government agencies that fund their electoral research activities. We picked two Saturdays because we suppose that these are days that are less likely to be already booked for meetings and, above all, for teaching duties.

The idea is that conference invitees would assemble on the Friday evening in time for dinner and depart on the Sunday after breakfast. There would be a meeting of the CERES Board on the Sunday morning to which some additional participants might be co-opted as needed.

A critical topic for discussion at the conference is how far to extend the remit of the proposed infrastructure beyond the conduct of traditional survey-based post-election studies. The PIREDEU design study (see Addendum) additionally included components studying candidates, manifestos and the media. We might want to extend our reach to include those who study parliamentary behavior and perhaps even agenda-setting.

A further urgent matter is to find an institutional home for the new infrastructure, should one be founded. We need an institution willing to make an administrative investment in the preparation of a proposal that, if successful, could pay off for that institution in terms of millions of Euros per year. For a mixture of administrative and legal reasons it seems that the Robert Schumann Centre for Advanced Studies at the EUI (the institution that provided the administrative home for PIREDEU) will not be able to play this role when it comes to an ERIC.

We also need to find individual scholars willing to spend at least some of their time overseeing steps to be taken in particular countries towards acquisition of roadmap status. Generally these will be individuals already involved in election study activities but might be scholars who would like to lay the groundwork for the eventual foundation of an election study in their country. The conference will devote a session to discussing what would be involved for anyone committing to such activities.

There will be space for at least one additional session, perhaps several if they were made to run concurrently. Please mention any requests you may have for topics that you feel should be addressed.

A meeting room and catering will be provided but we as yet have no other funding. So individuals soliciting invitations should preferably be in a position to fund their own travel and accommodation. We are attempting to acquire supplementary funding with which to cover travel and accommodation for a small number of individuals whom we would like to invite but who have no institutional or grant-based support. We should know about this by the time we issue invitations. So if you have no prospect of funding but really want to be invited, please tell us that.

Mark Franklin (Founding Chair) and Sylvia Kritzinger (Current Chair), Consortium for European Research with Election Studies

Mark N. Franklin, Independent Scholar             Phone: +1 860 995-5722
Co-convener of the Harvard Center for European Studies Elections Monitor
Inaugural Stein Rokkan Professor
European University Institute             
John R Reitemeyer Professor Emeritus
Trinity College, Connecticut    
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sylvia Kritzinger
Department of Government
University of Vienna
Rathausstraße 19/1/9
A-1010 Vienna


Friday 7th April
1930-2200  Welcome dinner

Saturday 8th April
0900-0920  Registration and morning coffee
0920-1000  Background briefing: CERES,  ESFRI and an ERIC for election studies: steps toward infrastructure status
1000-1020  Coffee break
1020-1200  How big an infrastructure? Post-election surveys, manifestos, candidates, media, plus what?
1200-1330  Lunch break
1330-1510  Tasks to be performed in order to attain ESFRI Roadmap status (Presentation by GESIS delegate(s))
1510-1530  Coffee break
1540-1700  Closing discussion

Sunday 9th April
0900-1100  CERES Board meeting


The GUIDE to achieving roadmap status specifies that, to be placed on the roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI),

New Projects must demonstrate an adequate maturity level, i.e. a proposal must:
(1) have successfully completed a design/feasibility study;
(2) have planned its business case/delivery strategy;
(3) provide proof of political support, i.e. Expression of political Support (EoS) by the lead country . . . signed by the national ministries responsible for Research Infrastructures;
(4) provide proof of financial commitment, i.e. Expression of Commitment (EoC) to financially contribute to the preparation and implementation phases by an authority from the lead country;
(5) provide proof of an inter-institutional and multi-lateral agreement, e.g. a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the core partners - being research institutions - formally involved in the consortium.

European national election studies have a number of advantages when it comes to meeting these requirements:
1. They have indeed successfully completed both a design and a feasibility study, products of the 2008-10 PIREDEU project (Providing an Infrastructure for Research on Electoral Democracy in the European Union) that was funded by the EU’s DG Research to the tune of 2.3 Million Euros as an Infrastructure Design Study;
2. Have a well-developed delivery strategy produced by PIREDEU;
4. Have a number of countries in which election studies are regularly funded by national funding agencies that should be interested in the prospect of sharing infrastructure costs across countries;
Requirements 3 and 5 (above) still need to be fully addressed, but this is a small part of what would be needed had we been starting out from scratch.

To discover the advantages that an ERIC might bestow on national election studies, please visit the CERES Interim Home Page at

To see a “delivery strategy" prepared on the basis of the PIREDEU design study click on "Response to ESFRI call for proposals for integrating and opening existing national research infrastructures", a link available on the CERES Interim Home Page. That call was only asking for information, needed for planning purposes, but our response to that Call constitutes a pretty full draft of a delivery strategy.

On the CERES Interim Home Page you will also find links to much else about CERES and about European Research Infrastructures.