2 Jul 2014

This is a guest post by the Regional Studies, Regional Science Early Career Paper – Editor and Abstract Manager Dr. Marijana Sumpor, FeRSA. She was kind enough to share her experience with the association and to explain how the RSA membership can assist its members during their career.

More than a decade ago, as a PhD student I held a copy of the Regional Studies Journal in my hand and was wondering what this Regional Studies Association might be about. There was a brochure telling that for an acceptable annual membership fee I can join the RSA as a Student Member. The same year I applied and got a travel bursary to attend a RSA seminar in the UK that exceeded the membership fee. This was a great experience and motivated me to further investigate the goodies of the RSA. A few years after getting my PhD, I attended a RSA Conference and presented a research paper. I liked the presentations of other colleagues and discussions and learned a lot through interdisciplinary networking among regional scientists and professionals.

Sometime later, I learned about the initiative of the RSA to have country ambassadors. I checked the Regional Studies website and found that there was no one representing my country, so I wrote a letter to the RSA with the wish to become the RSA Ambassador for Croatia. I had experience with networking among regional development researchers and experts in Croatia. I have published work in books and journals, worked as a guest lecturer at Croatian Universities and was actively following Croatia’s EU accession process. The response from the RSA was positive and I regularly prepare information about regional development in Croatia for the RSA website as well as a mailing list. Since we have already an established informal Croatian regional development expert network and website, I regularly disseminate information about the RSA. Also, I am regularly invited to the Ambassadors’ meetings at the RSA Conferences where we report to each other what has been done regarding the RSA in the respective countries we are representing.

After the meeting at the Delft RSA Conference, the Regions magazine editor asked, if I would like to write a short paper for the magazine, which I happily did together with my colleague from the Institute of Economics, Zagreb. Soon thereafter I saw the Call for the Regional Insights editor position and decided to apply for this voluntary position. The editorial team informed me that even though my application was very good, they chose two other candidates... never mind...   

At the following European RSA Conference in Tampere, besides presenting a conference paper, I got the opportunity to present Croatia’s EU accession process at the Ambassadors meeting. Also, the Regional Insights Editors organised a Workshop on top tips in presenting research to a wider audience for early career researchers and asked me to join other senior researchers to speak at the workshop about my experiences in presentations.

During the conferences, I saw that the conference attendants got tags stating either MeRSA or FeRSA. Soon after, I wrote an e-mail to the RSA office stating that I am member since 2003 and wanted to check, if my membership status can change from RSA member (MeRSA) to fellow of RSA status (FeRSA), since this change is related to the duration of the membership. Immediately a return e-mail arrived with a certificate attached stating that I am from now on a Fellow of the RSA.

Finally, how I became the RSRS Early Career Papers – Editor and Abstract manager. In autumn 2013, an e-mail arrived from the Regional Insights editors asking, if I would like to reapply for the editor position. The next day I confirmed and got a positive response. The editorial team members explained that Regional Insights will go through a transition to become the Early Career Paper Section within the new open access journal Regional Studies, Regional Science. From 2014, I am part of the RSRS ECP editorial team and abstract manager. Being very fresh in this new role, I can only say that I am very excited and look truly forward to the inspiring cooperation with early career researchers.

So, if you are an early career, you can benefit by going along the mentored route, where the RSRS ECP editors support you in the publishing process. Please, follow the RSRS Early Career Papers Call and we are looking forward to your submission!

Dr. Marijana Sumpor, FeRSA is Senior Research Associate at The Institute of Economics, Zagreb (EIZ), Department for Regional Economics, Sustainable Development and Governance, Croatia and Early Career Paper – Editor and Abstract Manager at the RSA's Open Access journal RSRS.


30 Jun 2014

Because of the high interest level regarding the association’s student and early careers social events that recently took place, our Early Career Representative Julie Miao was kind enough to put together some notes regarding the recent event that took place in Izmir, and to describe what those that could not attend missed.

Following a long discussion and careful preparation, the Regional Studies Association Students & Early Career Social Event Serials was officially launched on 16th June 2014, along with the Association’s European Conference in Izmir, Turkey

The launch event comprised of four parts: 1) Skill workshop; 2) ‘Speed-dating’; 3) Social slot and; 4) ‘Wish box’ and lucky draw.

Part 1: Skill Workshop

This workshop was jointly organized by the RSA’s Early Career Representative Julie Miao and the editors of the Early Career Research Section of the new RSA journal, Regional Studies, Regional Science.  The main focus of the workshop was ‘How to Make an Impact’. The idea was to bring together the more experienced scholars, early career researchers and students for an exchange of knowledge and best practice, regarding how researchers can engage with communities beyond the academy to make sure that their research makes an impact.

Six highly experienced speakers had kindly accepted the role of plenary speakers, including Prof. Martin Johns (Department of Geography, Sheffield University); Sally Hardy (CEO of RSA); Prof. Nicola Bellini (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna University, Italy); Prof. Margareta Dahlström (Karlstad University, Sweden); Prof. Ron Boschma (Urban and Regional research centre Utrecht (URU)); and Dr Adrian Healy (Planning and Geography, Cardiff University). Each plenary speaker had five minutes to offer their insights on how to make impact, and the tips given had covered wide areas from publishing, consulting, conferences/events, to socialising, time management, and career plan making.

Part 2: ‘Speed-dating’.

After the plenary speech and refreshment break, attendances were divided into four groups with randomly assigned plenary speakers. Each attendant could then have ten minutes to ‘draw attention’ from plenary and seek advices based on their particular questions. Then these ‘matches’ between plenary participants and attendants were broken up and reformed into new discussion groups. In this format, both the plenary participants and students/early careers became fully engaged, and everyone would had the opportunity to meet each other. Questions asked by the students and early careers were too diverse to summarise, but our voluntary ‘note-takers’ had done a fantastic job in terms of taking notes during the ‘dating’ process, as well as summarizing the key questions raised at the end of discussions.

You can read one these talks recorded by our colleagues Anna Sznajder here.

Part 3: Social slot

A more relaxing social time followed these exciting discussions and ‘dating’ exercises. Drinks and snacks were provided by RSA for attendants to sample. Many decided to stay longer than the assigned two-hour session slot, either catching up with old friends or exploring common ground with new friends.

Part 4:  ‘Wish box’ and lucky draw

Feedbacks and advices were sought from all students and early career attendances in order to improve the social series. All the participants confirmed these events could bring added-value to the RSA, and they especially appreciated the effort RSA had put in organising this event. An interactive format, such as our ‘speed-dating’, was also preferred by participants.  The Chair of the RSA, Professor Andrew Beer, and CEO Sally Hardy, drawn two lucky participants from our ‘wish box’ and they were announced in the conference’s Gala dinner the following day. 


Detail of some the ‘Top-tips’ from the plenary, and summary discussions of ‘Speed-dating’ are to follow. 

26 Jun 2014

The recent Regional Studies Association European Conference in Izmir, Turkey was a great success. The conference also hosted an Early Career Session. During this session, Professor Margareta Dahlstrōm, one of the panelists kindly responded to the questions of the participants. The groups consisting of PhD candidates and early career researchers were vividly involved into discussing the topics related to academic as well as policy practitioners’ careers. The variety of issues raised by the attendees of the plenary sessions can be divided into subjects, which will be briefly described in the following paragraphs, thanks to the notes of Anna Sznajder.

Between research and practice

One of the most sensitive issues for many of the participants was the usefulness of their research for policy makers, consultants, regional and local government, communities. The often asked question ‘How to make practitioners read your paper?’ required a detailed explanation from Professor Dahlstrōm. She highlighted the importance of communication and the need for adjusting methodologies used by researchers in academia to ordinary life demands. This could happen in multiple ways, such as:
  • writing/presenting short papers adapted to the audience;
  • organizing panel discussions open to everyone in the region;
  • meeting with a key representative for the region and convincing him/her first;
  • using action research as a way to engage the community or leaders;
  • building good relations through various actions and activities; and finally,
  • teaching students is a way to train future practitioners, who will understand the importance of collaboration between academic and practice realities.

From PhD to profession

According to Professor Margareta Dahlstrōm post-doctoral studies are a good way to develop the career of young researchers. Starting early allows the building of contacts and networks necessary for future progress. This is also the best time to prepare some publications resulted from the research. Sometimes having the experience in another country, where there are funds to conduct the required studies is a good idea. For example in Sweden there are special funds for international students accessible to post-doctoral candidates.

Getting published

Professor Dahlstrōm advised also regarding writing a paper (or papers) from doctoral dissertation. Her first publication appeared in the Journal of Rural Studies. It was a result of cooperation with editor and recognized author of rural studies at that time, Jo Little, who interested in the subject provided multiple suggestions on how to construct the paper and improve it in order to get published in a journal. This experience boosted Margareta’s confidence, and provided the needed encouragement for future career in research.

Thanks to the peer-review mechanism, of submission and re-submission of corrected paper versions according to editorial advises, young researchers have a chance to publish their research and adjust it to the journal and academic standards. Thus, Professor Dahlstrōm strongly recommended the publication of papers resulted from the PhD thesis as a way to build one’s careers path.

In order to be more effective in the number of publications, she strongly recommended co-authoring as a way to publish, network and ensure a level of complexity of the academic career. However, she did not fully agree with a concept to publish only in high quality journals. One publication in an excellent journal might not be equal and cannot be compared to ten publications in average journals. Even so, there are different careers paths and various institutions that recognize the quality of a researcher’s work not only through his/her selectiveness in choosing journals to publish.

Interdisciplinary research

Interdisciplinary research is both an advantage and challenge for early career researchers. Professor Dahlstrōm advised for the researcher to first recognize his/her own position in the discipline, i.e. how much one is close to one discipline: geography or economy. She considered borrowing concepts between disciplines as good practice. Multidisciplinary practices are also an opportunity to come up with something new and creative concepts and ideas. However, conducting this research depends from on the traditions existing at each university and the ability of one to be flexible with this idea.

Organization of work

Organization of work and good time management are crucial for a successful academic career. High demands from institutions regarding number of publications and teaching duties were a concern for the participants, as these can come in conflict with family life. Professor Dahlstrōm agreed that to keep a healthy work-life balance whilst working in academia is very difficult and highlighted the importance of breaks for efficiency and progress. By breaks she meant different experiences, such as motherhood or temporary change of profession, i.e. dropping academia for participation in practical projects. Also, shifts between various tasks, which stimulate creativity and innovation, help to organize time and be more productive. 


Anna Sznajder is a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Business and Creative Industries, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, UK. 

17 Jun 2014

This June is an extremely interesting month for us here at the Regional Studies Association. At this very moment the Regional Studies Association European Conference 2014 entitled: Diverse Regions: Building Resilient Communities and Territories is taking place in Izmir, Turkey. If you are not able to attend, do not worry. Out staff and fellow members at the RSA are live covering the event via Twitter using the hashtag #RSA_Izmir2014 (feed also embedded below!).

Not only that, the recent issue of Regions Magazine, which keeps you up to date with the Associations activity was published online. You can access the current issue here. Besides the interesting articles, in the second part of the magazine you can also find news and reports regarding our latest workshops, seminars, research networks, and conferences:

  • Report on Workshop on ‘Cities’ Regeneration Processes: The Role of Entrepreneurs, Residents and Tourists’ 
  • Report of the RSA Research Network on ‘Governing the Sustainability Transition’
  • Report of the RSA Research Network on ‘Governing Metropolitan Regions within a Localist Agenda’
  • Reflections on the RSA North American Conference
  • Report on the RSA Seminar on ‘Leadership in Urban and Regional Development: Debates, and New Directions’
  • Report of the RSA Research Network on ‘Tourism and Regional Development’


If you want to keep up to date with the RSA's latest developments go to: www.regionalstudies.org

#RSA_Izmir2014 Live coverage:




19 May 2014

Dear friends and colleagues,
We want to let you know that the role of Executive Editor for the Regional Studies Associations' flagship journal Regional Studies is vacant. If you are interested, you could be our new Executive Editor.

For details see the advert below.

Regional Studies Journal
Executive Editor
The post is for 3 or 4 days a week, subject to negotiation, fixed term for three years, renewable by mutual agreement.
The person will be appointed by Taylor and Francis on a standard editor’s contract and the post is home based.
Fee: £30,000 p.a., pro-rata
The Regional Studies Association seeks an Executive Editor or equivalent to provide academic and administrative support to the Editor in Chief (EiC), Regional Studies.

Regional Studies is a large journal which is wholly owned by the Association and published under contract by the imprint Routledge, which is owned by Taylor and Francis, itself part of Informa Group plc. Regional Studies is an international journal both in terms of its subscriber/readership base. Submissions are global and typically from departments of geography, economics, planning and political science. Many of the published articles are empirical in nature and the majority of articles include some quantitative methodology.

The tasks to be undertaken will include but not be limited to:
  • day to day manuscript management including; desk screening of submissions, allocation of submissions to editors, suggestion of referees to the editors, provision of summary advice to editors and to the EiC for final decisions
  • supervision of the Editorial Assistant (recognising that this person is appointed by the Publisher and will work on journals other than Regional Studies),
  • management and reporting of journal flow and publication times
  • principle point of contact for the publisher regarding production e.g. final approval of proofs, issue planning and compilation of print issues
  • oversight of special issues and mini-themes
  • contribute to planning for and delivery of journal activities such as two annual lectures (one within an RSA international conference and one within the AAG annual conference each year)
  • preparation of minutes, papers and reports for relevant meetings and the organisation of these meetings
  • strategic development of the journal; providing advice and recommendations to the editors and the Publications Committee on journal development initiatives, working with the publisher to promote the journal, working the editors to refine the review and production processes etc.

Person Specification

An Executive Editor is sought with the following skills
  • personal experience of research and scholarship and the ability to command the respect of colleagues
  • knowledge of the field of regional studies (it is expected that this will not be even across the breadth of the field)
  • ability to interpret and evaluate academic material and referees reports
  • an understanding of common scientific methods, statistics and other analytical methods,
  • an understanding of the peer-review process and the roles of those contributing to it
  • a clear sense of academic writing styles and the organisation and presentation of research information, including in diagrammatic and map form
  • an understanding of research and publishing ethics
  • good task, time and line management skills - including the ability to delegate effectively and work supportively with junior colleagues
  • ability to work to time and to budget on any project

Application

To apply for this post please submit a full CV and letter setting out why you are suitable for the role and what you would expect to contribute to the journal and its management.

Send the letter and supporting CV to: Sally Hardy, Chief Executive, Regional Studies Association – sally.hardy@regionalstudies.org

For further particulars, please visit www.regionalstudies.org


Closing Date - Monday 9th June 2014, 10am UK time

Interview Date – Friday 13th June 2014, central London. No other date is possible but arrangements can be made to use Skype or similar technologies.


If you would like to discuss your suitability for the post or have questions about the role phone please contact Sally Hardy on 0044(0) 1323 899 698


9 May 2014

As you already know Regional Studies, Regional Science, is the first interdisciplinary Open-Access (OA) journal from the RSA, which offers established academics, professionals, early careers or students the opportunity to publish their articles and ensure a wide reach throughout the global communities in the field.

In this recent interview made available by Routledge / Taylor & Francis, Co-Editor Alasdair Rae talks about what he is most looking forward to about editing Regional Studies, Regional Science, gives advice to aspiring authors and introduces the journal's early careers mentoring route.

You can either watch the video here or directly on Vimeo. The transcript of the interview is also available here. Enjoy!

7 May 2014

This is a guest post by David Bailey, professor at Aston Business School.

Recently Labour leader Ed Miliband promised “the biggest devolution of power to England’s great towns and cities in a hundred years” in a move which shifts Labour’s focus on local economic development away from the ‘old’ administrative regions as in RDA-days towards ‘city and county regions’.

Speaking in Birmingham, Miliband said that he wants cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Bristol to become powerful urban dynamos, taking control of budgets for skills, housing, transport and the Work Programme so to boost their economies.

So far so good. Such a radical decentralisation is much needed as England is by far the most centralised state in western Europe even after all the recent fanfare over localism, City Deals and local growth funds. England’s second-tier cities punch well below their weight economically.

And the inspiration for the move is in large part Lord Heseltine’s ‘No Stone Unturned’ report. The Tory peer’s report came up with 89 proposals, with the goal of shifting £60bn over four years from central government to English regions.

As Miliband said this week, Osborne’s response to Hezza was way too modest: “the best report this government has produced has been the one that they have most ignored.”
That was in part because of a no-holds-barred ‘Yes Minister’ style turf war won by the Treasury which stymied further decentralisation (of course one wonders what Ed Balls would make of devolution if he ever became Chancellor given that he is steeped in the tradition of top-down Treasury control-freakery).

That Treasury ‘win’ was no surprise, and now neither is Labour’s enthusiasm for backing Hezza. In particular Labour has been trying to figure out what to do with LEPs, recognising that it couldn’t – if elected – scrap them as the current government did with RDAs, as that would cause yet more chaos and alienate businesses which have put considerable time and effort into making a go of them.

The Lib Dems of course, via Vince Cable, had tried to pour a big bucket of cold water on Hezza’s plan, arguing that LEPs simply don’t have the capacity to handle such big amounts of money (which is rather ironic given that it was a Cable-Pickles double act which replaced RDAs with LEPs). But the Business Secretary was at least right in noting that giving big wads of public cash to unelected bodies wouldn’t be appropriate.

And this is where the Labour move comes in, recognising that the argument over a lack of democratic accountability shouldn’t be used to forestall broader devolution to English cities – Birmingham included.

Look north and the big English cities such as Greater Manchester, Greater Leeds and the North East have built or are setting up new ‘combined authorities’ or ‘supercouncils’ which have the legal footing to receive large amounts of public cash and which have some public accountability.

Greater Manchester’s ten local authorities have been collaborating for over a quarter of a century and set up England’s first combined authority back in 2011. It has been allowed by Sir Humphrey in Whitehall to retain some business rates through an “earn back” scheme.
Some of the other combined authorities have had a difficult start to life but the Northern cities seem light years ahead of the likes of Birmingham in getting combined authorities off the ground.

For example, a plan to set up a combined authority in the North East made up of seven councils is now in the final stage of parliamentary approval after Sunderland finally realised it had to join the party to get its share of a bigger pie.

Meanwhile, the West Midlands does have a city region-wide transport authority, but moves to create a combined authority with more responsibilities have failed to get going.

Local leader Albert Bore has made noises about a combined authority but has failed to deliver one, and Mark Rogers, Birmingham City Council’s new Chief Executive, doesn’t actually seem that interested at all. He was recently reported as saying that he would not be pushing immediately for combined authority status and there were other ways for councils and LEPs to co-operate.

Birmingham - and some other towns and cities - risk missing the boat. Indeed, in this case, sadly ‘Birmingham and the Black Country’ (or whatever name might eventually be used) looks increasingly like a mournful Cinderella unable to hitch a ride to the devolution ball.

That’s because it’s these cooperating super-councils which offer the potential for channelling public money down to the local level without it all going via LEPs. And it’s very clearly this ‘Manchester Model’ which Labour now wants to back.

Precise details of the policy have yet to be hammered out but it seems that under the Labour plans LEPs would gain control over skills budgets currently allocated in a top down way at a national level, and super-councils would gain powers over transport, housing and other infrastructure spending. That makes sense.

It appears that only city regions that meet “strict tests” established by the ongoing Adonis Review will be given new powers over transport and housing infrastructure funding, as well as over the Work Programme and skills.

However, regions will still have to take part in a bidding process into the Local Growth Fund (Hezza’s big pot), with the Government ultimately deciding which cities receive devolved powers and how much they can spend.

That’s a shame as the bidding process itself eats up huge amounts of time and effort. Super-councils should simply be allocated resources and powers when they show that they have met certain criteria and that their economic strategies are predicated on creating high-skilled, well-paid jobs in the private sector.

In that vein, Miliband has written to local councils, LEPs and universities to come up with plans, with Miliband stating that “these changes will only bring new jobs, greater prosperity, if the towns and cities are willing to put the private sector at the heart of decision-making.”

But look at the detail and Miliband’s initial plan is actually pretty tame. He says he wants to “at least” double central government funding allocated annually to the local growth fund from a paltry £2bn to £4bn. Osborne of course had heaped praise on Hezza’s plan then promptly turned the taps off. Just £2bn a year was and is peanuts. That makes £4bn a year two bags’ worth of peanuts.

So while there is much to welcome in Miliband’s statement all we can really say is that labour is only slightly less timid than the Tories over decentralisation to our great cities. We can and should go much further.

England's big cities need to be cut free from the dead hand of central government and given the real powers and resources to plan, fund and deliver the transport, housing and skills they need to grow and develop. That should allow them to use more innovative methods to fund investment, whether in the form of tax increment financing or working with local government pension funds.

Meanwhile, the message to local council leaders is simple. Get your act together, Manchester-style, or risk missing the devolution party, whoever is in power centrally.

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Professor David Bailey works at the Aston Business School. He has written extensively on economic restructuring and industrial and regional policy, especially in relation to manufacturing and the auto industry. He has been a regular columnist and blogger for The Birmingham Post and Coventry Telegraph newspapers, as well as Reuters. He was Chair of the Regional Studies Association over 2006-12 and is now an Honorary Vice-Chair, and an Editor of the Association’s flagship journal Regional Studies. Tweet him @dgbailey
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5 May 2014

Dear RSA Blog readers, it is our great pleasure to introduce to you Eduardo Oliveira, who has been appointed as the Regional Studies Association - Student Representative. We managed to take him away from his busy to-do list and he was so kind to have a short chat with us to serve as his introduction.


1. Can you please introduce yourself?


Let me start with a warm thank you for this interview. I’m very happy and honoured with the RSA’s decision of appointing me as Student Representative. I was born in Braga, a city in northwestern Portugal, in 1982. I hold a degree in Geography and Planning from the University of Minho, a Post-Degree in Tourism and Regional Development from the Catholic University of Portugal. After some work experience I was thinking every day about going back to academic life. After some deep reflection I embarked upon a Master of Science in Marketing and Strategic Management, also in Braga.


I completed the M.Sc. with a thesis on place marketing and territorial competitiveness, focusing on Northern Portugal. That kind of inner attraction to explore the synergies between territory/places and competitiveness/development served as my main motivation to finish the M.Sc. in 2010, after six extraordinary months as an exchange student at the University Sains Malaysia. The interaction between territory and the economic perspectives was what attracted me the most.

In 2012, I started a four years Ph.D. programme in Spatial Science at the Department of Spatial Planning and Environment, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. My research and writing is focused on the theory and practice of place branding in strategic spatial planning with the Northern Portugal region as case study. I also dedicate particular attention to cross-border regional dynamics between Galicia and Northern Portugal.

2. What are your main research interests in relation to the RSA's fields? 


My main research interests go closely with the Association's work. I dedicate particular attention to regional dynamics of Northern Portugal specifically in turning comparative advantages into competitive ones, a topic developed by Philip Cooke, and largely published as book chapters in the Regions and Cities book series.

I do agree with RSA’s statement of embracing regions as a key spatial scale for examining the nature and impacts of political, economic, social and environmental change and innovation. 

David Bailey, in a post published on this blog, has suggested that regions and regional institutions can have a key role building economic resilience. By taking Northern Portugal as my primary research area, I have been researching the theoretical entanglements between place branding and strategic spatial planning. Bearing in mind that strategic spatial planning is able to support a strategic change, changing the spatial agenda, and thus socially and economically improve places, such as regions. At this level, regional branding could work as an instrument in strategic spatial planning, as a way to overcome the limitations of traditional spatial planning instruments and thus envision, in an innovative and creative way, better futures for cities and regions.

3. Can you describe your RSA track record/evolution?


I have been following the work, events and publications developed by Regional Studies Association, more intensively since January 2012 when I started my Ph.D. studies. I have been sharing some of the events trough my social and professional networks as well as reading several articles published by Association’s flagship journal - Regional Studies. At the moment, I’m writing a full article for the Early Careers Papers Section of the new interdisciplinary open access journal Regional Studies, Regional Science (RSRS), which I found an extraordinary initiative for doctoral students and young researchers to develop their ideas.

I had many incentives from some of my department colleagues to engage myself with the Regional Studies Association. In good time I did. Now I can contribute to the global discussion on everyday challenges posed to the environment cities, city-regions and regions operate in. I have ordered several books from the collection – Regions and Cities to enrich the catalog of the library of the University of Groningen.

4. Can you exemplify for our prospective student members how has the RSA influenced/affected your academic/professional evolution? 


I would say that the RSA's work has been a great influence to my evolution as an academic. Not only by supporting the research of new theoretical links, but also to shed some light on my empirical case. 

Despite the considerable number of publications, I would like to highlight the article by Bjørn Asheim, Ron Boschma and Philip Cooke (2011) ‘Constructing Regional Advantage: Platform Policies Based on Related Variety and Differentiated Knowledge Bases’, published by Regional Studies, 45(7). This article was my main inspiration to develop a draft article on ‘Constructing regional advantage: a joint cross-border branding strategy for Galicia-Northern Portugal’ currently being revised.

5. How do you see the role of the Student section of the RSA for its members? 


I see the opinion of the students as a fundamental contribution to the strategic development of the RSA. Students, for their constant instability concerning funding, job perspectives, and permanent doubts about staying in academia or leaving to an uncertain world of ‘practitioners’ are key thinkers in the construction of fair and equal cities and regions. 

In addition, the irreverence, unconformity and desire of change students and young researchers put into their work, require innovative thinking in regional studies. Therefore their ideas, interests and main concerns need an interlocutor near to the RSA board members. By keeping in line with the great work developed by Julie Tian Miao – as former Student Representative – I will make their voices heard, and hopefully see some of the desires accomplished.

6. What are your main goals/objectives in your new role as Student representative? 


I can promise that I will attempt to excel myself and make sure that the interests of the RSA student members will be taken further and strengthened. The students will have the opportunity to interact with me by using social media and email. I will get in touch with them and guarantee them that I will not do a 'monologue'. My voice will be their voice, an exchange of thoughts in order to design some effective actions. 

By attending the RSA meetings and events, I will have the chance to interact with highly reputed researchers and find out effective ways to address issues which the students’ members will be sharing with me during the coming three years. I am highly motivated to accomplish the tasks as student representative, bring fresh ideas and engage with potential RSA members.

In the end, let me thank Sally Hardy, RSA CEO for her support and Julie Tian Miao for her words of encouragement and wish best of luck in her new position. 

7. Is there anything else in special that you would like to emphasize/transmit to our student members from your new position as RSA Student Representative?


I would like to transmit to student members to feel free to contact me. I would be happy to know their main concerns. I also suggest checking regularly the RSA webpage for latest news and upcoming activities.

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You can contact Eduardo via Twitter, LinkedIn or email. He also writes on his own blog: Envisioning Better Futures

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