Study group convenor information
Are you a study group convenor or thinking of becoming one? Here are some facts to help you run your group and the forms you'll need too.
What we need from you
As a study group convenor, we need your help to keep track of where DSA funding is going. So we ask you to fill in three forms - which we keep as short as possible. Your forms are:
Budget protocol form. for approval if you are planning any events. Fill this in to approve spending before you spend it.
Report what you did last year. Please complete this short form in excel every year. The facts from your annual report on group activity will go in the SG co-ordinator's report. Your report helps secure your group's funding for next year.
Business plan - you complete this every year
You must read these guidelines - which were updated in 2012.
Download convenors' guidelines (PDF).
Who to ask for help
If you have a specialist question on running your study group just ask either of our two Study Group Co-ordinators:
Dr Ben Jones email@example.com
Professor Giles Mohan firstname.lastname@example.org
General DSA enquiries: membershipadmin(at)devstud.org.uk
Frequently asked questions
What does being a study group convenor involve?
It all depends on what activities you organise. We expect you to hold at least one meeting a year, though many groups hold more than that. Some groups work through email discussion lists, and some even collect together papers and publish books. What you do is very much up to you, but we will help wherever we can.
How do people join a study group?
Usually prospective members will email you. Just add them to your email list (or other records). You don’t need to tell us about any new members. Some convenors set up a standard email reply as a response – this might be handy if you would like to send new members information about the group, or if you email the list quite infrequently.
If you would like any advice on filtering emails automatically into a study group email folder or managing email distribution lists, you can always contact the DSA Secretariat for help – we can suggest ways to streamline your admin.
Do you have to be DSA member to join a study group? How do I check?
Anybody can join any number of study groups. Please do help us by encouraging people to join the DSA! If somebody contacts you asking to join DSA, please point them here.
DSA income largely comes from membership fees, and as these membership fees help fund study group activities, we are keen that paid-up members feel the full benefit - rather than subsidising non-members.
If you are charging entry to your event or extra for non-members, then you'll either need to consult the online members directory directly, or ask the DSA administrator for a list of paid-up members to check attendees' names against.
Can I get any help publicising events?
Yes. Most convenors keep email distribution lists of their own to let current SG members know about their events, but you can reach the entire DSA membership by adding your group’s news to our website and our monthly email newsletter, by emailing the information you want sent out to the DSA administration. The email newsletter goes out at the beginning of each month, but updates can be added to the website at any time.
If you've just taken over running a study group, you should inherit an email list from the previous convenor. If not, contact the DSA administrator. We will try and track it down for you. If you are convening a new group, we can help you set up an email list up and keep it somewhere secure.
If you are a new convenor, you should read the study group guidelines (opens in Word).
How do I update my group's webpage?
All study groups have a page on the DSA website. You might like to use your web page to inform members about recent events, upcoming events, papers from meetings - they can download from the website, links to topic-specific research.
To update your pages email content/edits to web(at)devstud.org.uk.
Your web page can help you simplify your email messages - just include a link to your web page rather than sending large attachments to a big list.
Download our How To Guide for Study Group convenors.
Funding for study groups, and refunds of expenses
DSA funds study group activities to help you organise events and refund expenses. Study group funding is decided at the start of each financial year. For 2003/2004 this was £400 per group.
Budget protocol form - complete this before your meeting and send it to the study group co-ordinator/DSA Treasurer. If you forget to do this, we may not be able to refund your costs.
Study group expense claim form (Word doc) - to reclaim your expenses. Just complete and sign this form and return it to the DSA Secretariat, with the original receipts. First you will need to get us to sign off all your group's planned expenses. We will only refund current DSA members.
(also on our study groups page).
We refund travel expenses aat the lowest cost available, and we prioritise students or people who can't get their organisation to pay.
To check how much funding your group has left, just contact the DSA Secretariat.
The easiest way to pay any costs for your group is to fill out a budget form and send it to the DSA Secretariat for sign off. Then you can forward all invoices direct to us and we'll pay them. This saves you from paying upfront and then claiming it back from us later.
What are policy workshops?
Policy workshops, or dissemination workshops are one-day events to look at a particular topic in detail (eg Fifty years of Development Economics, run by the Economics, finance and development study group in July 2003). They tend to be slightly larger-scale than typical study group meetings, and you can get extra DSA funds for them. Contact your study group co-ordinators for more details.