MESnet is a network for early career researchers in the field of Middle Eastern. It aims to bring together PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows across the UK and Europe and provide them with career-enhancing opportunities.


MESnet is centred on three key initiatives:

  1. a website where members can share practice and expertise and communicate their research to wider audiences via the MESNET database;
  2. a workshop, which will combine career development activities with an academic conference;
  3. a mentoring scheme, which will pair PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows with senior researchers in the field who will offer guidance, motivation and introductions.


MESnet is managed by Dr Christina Phillips and Leo Rodrigues, University of Exeter, and is funded by the British Academy under its Rising Star Engagement Award.


The MESnet workshop will be held Saturday 31 October – Sunday 1 November 2015 at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.

  • Day 1 (Career Development) includes talks and roundtables on Getting Published, Careers in Middle Eastern Studies, Digital Networking & Social Media, and Impact & Relevance.
  • Day 2 is an academic conference where participants can present their research. See HERE for further details and to apply.


MESnet database: one of the main functions of MESnet is to promote the work of early career researchers in Middle Eastern Studies. If you would like to be included in the MESnet database, click HERE and follow the links. (the database is currently being created and not available yet)

The project is significant because it brings together a new generation of researchers in ME studies. It recognizes that there is a wealth of new experts on the Middle East spread across British and European universities. The intention is to bring this group together and promote the work of its members. By connecting these early career experts, the project will further strengthen the ME studies community and create new research opportunities. As such it will complement and feed into the work of BRISMES.

The project includes a website, as detailed above. Apart from serving as a hub for early career researchers, the website is intended as an interface between Middle Eastern studies scholarship and the wider public. Individuals and institutions, such as charities, NGOs, think tanks, policy-makers and the media, will be actively encouraged to use the database (which will include bios & details of individual research projects) to locate knowledge and expertise, and to post jobs and queries on the relevant website pages. They will also be invited to write articles and opinion pieces for the blog. The website will be advertised using Facebook and Twitter, as well as by the University Marketing Department. Contributions to the blog will be actively sought via IAIS and personal contacts.

By bringing together early career researchers from across the UK and Europe, the project has an international reach. It promotes collaboration with scholars outside the UK and 8 of the participants in the workshop will come from European universities.