The PhD Award is given every two years.
Applications for the 2025 edition will open in autumn 2024.


In order to stimulate the academic discussion and build the body of knowledge in public relations and communication management across Europe, the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) awards a bi-annual prize for excellent doctoral dissertation in any language. The call is open to any student studying public relations in Europe, regardless of the location.

Chairs of the Jury

Prof. Dr. Winni Johansen, Prof. Dr. Wim Elving


The award honours academic excellence in the fields of public relations and communication management.


The winner will receive a certificate, naming her or his dissertation best of class in Europe. The winner will also be invited to present the dissertation at the EUPRERA Annual Congress, the main gathering for public relations scholars in Europe. Travel expenses and accommodation will be paid (up to € 350).

The winner will be recognised as a leading expert in public relations, corporate communication or communication management.


All doctoral dissertations in any language from all countries are eligible for submission, provided they have been formally approved with a formal examination at the candidate’s university within the last 24 months before the submission deadline. Nominations that fall outside this period will not be taken into consideration.

Authors should submit their dissertation in the original version as approved by their committees or supervisors plus a paper formatted in journal style. Award applicants are, therefore, asked to condense their theses/dissertations into a scholarly paper, following the manuscript requirements of the Journal of Communication Management.

  • The scholarly paper must be written in English.
  • The paper must be carefully edited to conceal the identities of the author, his/her institutional affiliations, and the thesis/dissertation advisor, so as to preserve the objectivity of the judging process.
  • The paper must include an abstract of no more than 150 words and follow the template of the Journal of Communication Management (see here).
  • The length of the paper should not exceed 6,000 words including references, figures and tables. For any doubt about the length, please contact the Chairs of the Jury.
  • The submission should include four emailed PDF files. The maximum size of any single PDF is 9.5 MB; appropriate software should be used to reduce file sizes if the original files exceed this limit (see here). The three files are:
    1. The abstract/ paper, as described above.
    2. The full dissertation in the original language.
    3. An accompanying cover letter to the award chair(s) indicating (1) current contact information and affiliation of the author, (2) dissertation manuscript title, (3) date of thesis/dissertation defence, (4) university where dissertation was defended and degree awarded, (5) contact information for dissertation advisor, (6) letter from the University or supervisor, (7) a copy of the certificate of the formal examination.
  • Except for applicants coming from soft-currency countries (see the list on, the proof of payment of € 30,00 as entry fee. Accepted payment methods:

Bank transfer
Bank: KBC Bank NV, Havenlaan 2, 1080 Brussels, Belgium
Branch: KBC Brussels Berchem, Chaussée de Gand 1179, 1082 Berchem Ste Agathe, Belgium
IBAN: BE79446021174133 – BIC/SWIFT: KREDBEBB
Ref.: PhD award application


Award applicants are requested not to submit materials without first ensuring they comply with all submission requirements. Submissions that fail to conform to the requirements will be automatically disqualified and the entry fee won’t be reimbursed.

Cumulative dissertations (cumulation of already published articles) can be submitted. In case of more authors of the articles, the candidate must submit a letter of the supervisor and the candidate with a detailed explanation about each contribution to the work.


The chairs of the award jury will nominate a suitable number of additional members after the submission deadline, according to the necessities of the process (number of submissions and languages involved). The overall number of jury members will not exceed five. All jury members are professors or associate professors at universities (including emeriti professors) who are eligible to supervise PhD theses themselves. The chairs of the jury are free to invite potential jury members before the submission deadline.

Each candidate is ranked by at least two members of the jury, after which the rankings are compared and discussed and a winner is selected by discussion and consensus. To avoid conflicts of interest, those who judge the specific paper may not be a supervisor or examiner or otherwise involved of the candidate. The contact chair of the jury will be responsible for distributing the papers. The chairs will make the final decision about the winner. The nominations, rankings and discussions will be kept confidential within the jury.


The jury will judge each doctoral dissertation on the following criteria:

  • Theoretical coherence and quality
  • Degree of innovation for theory and/or practice
  • Methodological appropriateness
  • Empirical quality
  • Presentation of results
  • Importance for the development of the scholarly and/or professional field
  • Overall impression
  • Societal impact
Timeframe and deadlines

In any year in which the award is announced, the following calendar will apply:

  • March 15: deadline for handing in submissions
  • March 31: distribution to jurors
  • June 1: jurors’ feedback
  • July 1: identification of winner
  • July 31: communication of results to applicants
  • August: winner’s travel arrangements
Contact and submissions

Potential applicants should contact one of the chairs of the jury for additional information:

Prof. Dr. Wim Elving,

Submissions should be directed to the EUPRERA Director of Public Relations and Administration:

Anca Anton,

Winner 2023

The contribution of different communication channels and sub-state actors to country perception in today’s globalized and digitalized society. A public diplomacy listening approach, by Jérôme Chariatte, supervised by Diana Ingenhoff, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Winner 2021

Corporate agenda for strategic topic planning Theoretical framework and empirical findings on topic-based corporate communications, by Alena Kirchenbauer, supervised by Claudia Mast and Frank Brettschneider, University of Hohenheim, Germany

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