The purpose of this article is to explore the extent to which European Union (EU) policies impact upon the activities of associations such as the European Educational Research Association (EERA) and the experiences of emerging researchers aligned to such associations. In essence, the authors explore potential tensions between policy and the lived experiences of those directly affected by the implementation of policy directives. Lévi-Strauss's conception of 'mythemes' is employed, in order to elucidate segments of what the authors call policy myths that happen to portray an underlying structural meaning. From this, they use Barthes' exploration of the syntagm and system of contemporary acts of myth-making in order to compare EU policy with the activities of the EERA Emerging Researchers' Group. Their analysis suggests that all researchers, including those new to the field, need to see themselves as self-sovereign actors, each of whom has the potential to contribute to the broader societal challenges that we face.