2021 New Researchers Stream

New Researchers Session – Call for Papers

6-7 September 2021

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Abstract submission is now closed. Please see below for conference booking details. 

For more information, please see the conference FAQ page.

The full draft VSVR 2021 Programme outline is now available to view (though note that New Researchers must predominantly attend the New Researchers stream – see below for details). Please see here for an abbreviated version. In addition, please note that this is a provisional outline and subject to change. 


As part of the Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference 2021, we will be running our annual event for New Researchers. The purpose of the New Researchers Session (NRS) is to give those who are new to research or new to the voluntary sector and volunteering research community an opportunity to:

  • present their research to other new researchers
  • get constructive feedback in a supportive environment
  • meet and network with other new researchers
  • network with established researchers and practitioners

Our aim is to foster a strong community amongst new researchers. Many well-established researchers in our sector started out their careers by participating in the NRS. Feedback from past years suggests that attending the New Researchers Sessions helps establish a positive network at the conference and beyond.

Ways to engage

You can do a formal conference presentation or you can choose other ways to present your research, such as a short workshop, a poster, or creative session. Each presenter will be given around 20-30 minutes for their presentation and Q&A.

Opportunity for feedback

We aim to have an established researcher at each of the sessions who will provide you with feedback. You will also be given verbal feedback on your work during the session.  We also encourage participants to give each other feedback.

How the New Researchers Sessions interacts with the main conference

All delegates of the New Researchers Sessions are invited to attend the plenary sessions of the main conference. You will also have plenty of opportunities to network with established researchers and practitioners during refreshment and lunch breaks. We have in the past also given NRS delegates a ‘wildcard’ to attend one of the sessions at the main conference.

If you want to attend more than one session, you will need to register for the main conference and pay the main conference fee. More information about this is available on the main conference page.

Submitting an abstract

Abstract submission is now closed.

Duncan Scott New Researchers Prize

If you submit a full paper by a deadline of the 20th August it will be considered for the Duncan Scott New Researchers Prize which includes an award of £100. Your paper should:

  • be between 2,500 and 4,500 words, including references
  • include a literature review
  • include a methodology section
  • provide analysis of (early) findings if appropriate
  • include full references using a recognised referencing style (e.g. Harvard)

If you have not completed your research data collection or analysis, it is fine to give some idea of any emerging themes or your next steps in the project – they do not have to be fully-formed.  We accept that other researchers may have worked on your research project and so may be listed, but the paper itself must be written by one or more new researchers.


As part of its commitment to new researchers, VSSN subsidises much of the cost of attending the NRS.  The fee to attend for the two days is £100; this includes registration, lunch and refreshments and the conference dinner.

Please note:

  • there are a limited number of spaces in the NRS
  • you must be a member of either VSSN, BVSC, or other partner organisation to receive the subsidised rate (membership of VSSN starts at £35 and includes lots of great benefits: https://www.vssn.org.uk/join/)
  • there is no early bird rate for the NRS
  • the fee does not include accommodation or travel

VSSN provides a limited number of bursaries to cover conference fee for individuals who do not have access to funding from their organisation/institution and would not otherwise be able to participate. For more information, please email conference@vssn.org.uk.

Booking a place at the conference

Booking a place at the VSSN conference is essential for all those attending the New Researchers Stream. Please note that the new researcher stream is only available to those who have been accepted to present.

If your application has been accepted, please use this link to access the Aston University booking site and select ‘New Researcher Fee as an option’: https://store.aston.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/aston-business-school/aston-business-school-events/2021-voluntary-sector-and-volunteering-research-conference

More Information

If you have any queries about the New Researchers Sessions, please contact us at:  conference@vssn.org.uk.