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At the beginning of 2013, to celebrate e-International Relations entering its fifth year, we announced the first e-IR Masters Scholarship. Generous support from Hurst Publishers, Oxford University Press, Routledge and Sage meant we could offer the winner £700 worth of books – together with a £1,000 cash bursary from e-IR.

The application details were viewed more than 8,500 times by e-IR’s readers around the world and the scholarship itself received almost 100 applications that met the demanding entry criteria. Our editorial team whittled these down to a shortlist of five exceptional candidates, which was reviewed by a panel of professors to make the final decision.

We are pleased to announce that the 2013 Masters Scholarship has been awarded to Vendula Ženatá, who is studying for her Masters degree at the Anglo-American University in the Czech Republic.

The panel of professors who judged the award found that “all of the finalists were incredibly impressive and were worthy of consideration for the scholarship”. However, Vendula was their unanimous choice, beating applicants from renowned departments and universities around the world including Ivy League Schools in the US and Oxbridge in the UK. The panel reported that:

“While all of the applications were strong, the scholarship committee unanimously recognised Ženatá’s superb writing skills as the factor that separated her from the other finalists. Ženatá’s work demonstrates an ability to comprehend and apply complex frameworks in a manner that is rigorous, creative, and could impact the field of international relations in the future. Her willingness to critique established analytical and conceptual frameworks saw her distance herself from an otherwise very evenly matched final round of applicants.”

Upon hearing the news, Vendula told e-IR that it was “without doubt the greatest encouragement I have received for my academic efforts”. She plans to put the bursary towards her tuition fees or a language course.

What next?

We’re keen to make the scholarship a regular part of e-IR’s offering to our readers. Our first experience of running the award has yielded plenty of lessons for the future – not least, that reviewing nearly 100 applications is an extremely time consuming task for a small team of volunteer editors! If and when we offer our next scholarship, we’ll need to make sure we’re able to handle even greater demand. Perhaps there are alternative models that would require less time from our editors – or perhaps we should aim to recruit a dedicated ‘Scholarship Team’ to the cadre of volunteers who maintain e-IR? These are the types of discussions we’ll be having over the coming months – so let us know via the comments if you have any ideas, thoughts or feedback that you feel might be helpful.

More generally, 2014 is set to be another big year for e-IR. We’ve commissioned a web developer and graphic designer to update the website, which we hope will be ready to launch in February. And we have exciting plans for our series of Publications and Interviews, which we’ll make sure you hear about in the New Year.

Thanks for your continued support, the e-IR Editorial Team