Winners' Testimonials

Building a Supportive ERG Community Across the Years

We ask the Best Paper Winners to provide a  testimonial about the impact engaging with the Best Paper Award had on their career.

Read on to hear what they had to say.

ERC 2023 | Alexandra Dannenberg

"Participating in ERC’s Best Paper Award has been an enriching and rewarding experience. It was my first time writing a research paper and setting it up for competition was very exciting. During the process I received feedback and advice several times: at ERC 2023 from my peers at my presentation and at the article writing workshop, as well as from the BPA reviewers after submission. All of this feedback was very helpful for me to improve upon my paper, but also to learn about writing research articles in general. Winning the award means to me that my work is of relevance and quality, for which I feel so grateful and honored!
I would like to thank my advisors Elli Rathgeb-Schnierer and Friederike Heinzel for their advice on my research, as well as Annie Adler and my brother, Tristan Dannenberg, for proofreading my writing in English."

ERC 2022 | Aigul Rakisheva

"Winning the Best Paper award is a great achievement for me, as it recognizes the hard work and dedication I have put into my educational research. It has opened up exciting new opportunities and provided me with invaluable experience participating in the conference, going through the peer review process, and improving my work. Moreover, winning this award has given me a significant boost of confidence and reinforced my motivation to pursue my academic goals and aspirations. I sincerely thank Dr. Oliver Toskovic, co-author of this paper, for his support and commitment during our research process. His valuable expertise and guidance were crucial in achieving our research objectives, and I truly appreciate his significant contributions."

ERC 2021 | Riikka Suhonen

"It is such an honour to receive the Best Paper award on my second year of PhD studies at the University of Helsinki. This was my first time as the lead author for an academic paper in English, so the whole journey has been quite a learning experience! I would also like to sincerely thank my supervisors and co-authors of the paper, Arto Kallioniemi and Antti Rajala for their commitment. Winning the award is not only a recognition for our work, but also for the wider research fields of global citizenship education and vocational education and training.  

Submission deadlines were very useful as they pushed me to complete the full paper. It was especially helpful to have time after the first round of reviewers’ feedback to improve the paper before the final submission. I would strongly recommend all interested ERC participants to send their papers for the competition next fall!"

ERC 2020 | Pontus Bäckström

"For me it has been a great experience to participate in the Best paper award since it offers a somewhat different format and procedure in the peer-review process and communication that you have with journals. For an emerging researcher as myself this has been an important and educative process to take part in."

ERC 2019 | Sofia Eleftheriadou

"Engaging with the Best Paper Award process as an emerging researcher was a good exercise in turning a thesis chapter into a journal article."

Read Sofia's blog post 4 Things I Found Useful about the Emerging Researchers’ Conference and Best Paper Award.


ERC 2018 | Sara Franch

"It was a great opportunity to submit my paper to the ERG Best Paper Award. The comments of the reviewers were excellent and really helped me to improve my paper, which was then published in the EERJ"

ERC 2017 | Abdoulaye Faye

"Receiving the Best Paper Award was a great academic promotion. Owing to the award, I got invited to several meetings in the educational research network in France to bear witness to the experience of attending the ECER and competing for the BPA. Now, I take part in the reviewing process for the ERG submissions and it is an exciting moment that I always look forward to!"


ERC 2016 | Manuela Mendoza

"Winning the Best Paper Award was a great opportunity to increase my confidence in my research and to improve my skills to write academic papers in English. The reviewers' feedback was detailed and useful, and having a publication in the EERJ at an early stage of my PhD has been very helpful to gain visibility among colleagues working on similar topics."

ERC 2015 | Panagiota Gkofa

"There was an impact of engaging with the Best Paper Award on my career. Since then, I managed to meet academics and new researchers from the EERA participants and networks and this has helped me publish drawing on my doctoral study. After completing my PhD in the UK, I am back in my home country, Greece, and I am involved in primary school teaching as well as research projects and academic teaching. I continue to participate in ECER conferences and I strongly encourage new researchers to get involved in the ERG activities. "

ERC 2014 | Iryna Kushnir

"Engaging with the Best Paper Award was a helpful contribution to building my research profile, publication record and supportive networks."

ERC 2013 | Cora Lingling Xu

"I am delighted to share that winning the Best Paper Award in the EERA’s Emerging Researchers’ Group competition has allowed me to publish my first peer-reviewed article in a major, high-impact journal (i.e. the EERJ). This has helped to build my confidence and enabled me to acquire valuable academic publication experiences. Such confidence and experiences have proven instrumental in my subsequent publication successes, which have contributed significantly to my successes in securing competitive academic positions in major research-intensive universities in the UK."

ERC 2012 | Triin Lauri

"It is obviously hard to evaluate the impact of that award to my career but given the everyday life of researchers, its intensity, dependence on collegial support, peer reviews and decisions, loads of rejections and acceptances etc., it was definitely very important thing for me. The more so that is was the first international recognition of that kind …. Thus, in the world and field where the prestige economy plays such a huge role, that types of awards are of utmost importance …. In case of perfect timing it might be the just needed positive bounce for an emerging researcher to give that extra motivation to continue (after several rejections or criticisms J inevitable in academic world)."

ERC 2009 | Konstanze Spohrer

"Receiving the award was a big boost to my confidence as an emerging educational researcher. The experience of writing a paper for publication in an international peer reviewed journal provided me with valuable skills and was a bonus in terms of securing my first academic position."

ERC 2008 | Katrin Kaufmann-Kuchta

"I received the Award early in my career and it had a very positive impact, not least on my academic self-confidence. And of course, the Award boosted the visibility of our paper and this was very helpful also for further publications. I would always suggest emerging researchers to apply for the EERA Best Paper Award."


ERC 2007 | Nasser Mansour

"In terms of ideas for early career researcher development, I can say from my own experience that writing workshops and mentoring in relation to writing for publication (I attended one facilitated by Pat Thompson many years ago) have benefited me greatly."

Best Paper Award 2023

Submission deadline 20 Nov 2023
Formative feedback given 10 Feb 2024
Re-Submission deadline 10 March 2024
Winner announced early May 2024

First-hand Insights

Learn what Sofia Eleftheriadou, winner of the Best Paper Award 2019, found useful about the Emerging Researcher's Conference and the Best Paper Award on the EERA Blog.

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