17 Sep 2014

Dear friends and colleagues,

The Regional Studies Association seeks to appoint an Early Career Editor to its journal Regional Studies.

This appointment will work alongside the main editorial team in fulfilling their duties. It is anticipated that an early appointment will be made to this post and the successful applicant will take up their duties immediately. The position is mentored by the Editor in Chief Ivan Turok, and will provide an exceptional insight into the publishing process.

Further details are available here.

Closing date: No later than 5pm (UK time) Friday, 31st October 2014. Please email your application to Daniela Carl.

16 Sep 2014

On Wednesday 3rd September, the RSA Staff team visited the local Energy Recovery Facility in Newhaven. As part of their annual “Wonder Day”, the ERF Newhaven organises tour, an opportunity that the team did not miss.
This tour was the first of a series of local visits aimed at discovering the variety of Seaford’s local industries.

So, what exactly is an Energy Recovery Facility? 

Basically, it is a gigantic incinerator.

The ERF was built in 2011 in Newhaven, East Sussex; a couple of miles away from the RSA headquarters. It burns approximately 28 tonnes of waste per hour, over 210,000 tonnes per year. This state-of-the-art facility provides enough power to supply 25,000 homes (the electricity produced is supplied to the National Grid). Forty people are actively working on the site. Waste is treated from Monday to Saturday morning.

Main entrance of the ERF Newhaven

In order not to alter the South Downs landscape, the ERF Newhaven is the only one in the UK to be partially built underground. Nonetheless their 65 meters chimneys are quite visible from the surrounding areas.

On this bright morning of September the team was ready to ramble and learn more about green energy and recycling. They will soon know what happens to their household waste and old furniture!

The complete RSA Staff team with a hat on.

The tour was led by Philipp Preece, enthusiastic Manager of the ERF. After a brief introductory speech detailing important safety measures, the group headed to the Control Room. Around 5 people work in this room mainly divided in three parts.

The first window looked out on the trucks that bring local waste to be burned. Waste is collected and unsuitable waste screened out before it arrives at the facility. Glass, metal, batteries and gas canisters are removed.

The second window offered a panoramic view of an immense hole in which the trucks unload their shipments. Waste is piled up and mixed up by a massive grabber. Once the waste is homogenously blended, are sent directly to the incinerators. The ashes are then collected and sent to a facility in the North of the UK where it is transformed into a form of concrete. The cycle of life, from a plastic bag’s point of view.

Finally the third part was the monitoring desk, at the very heart of the room. Two engineers were checking thoroughly the screens, controlling the level of toxic gases emanating from the combustion. In short, if filters do their work only non-odorous steam is released to the atmosphere and very little of that.

To produce electricity, the heat from the combustion is transformed into vapour which is then sent to turbines. The residual smoke is then filtered by hectometres of high-tech filters. The smoke from the chimneys is harmless to both humans and the environment.

Sally Hardy, CEO of the Regional Studies Association listening to Philipp Preece, Manager of the ERF Newhaven

During the tour, Sally Hardy asked relevant questions on recycling policies in the UK since they vary upon local authorities’ decision and priorities.

Philip Preece then guided the group to the core of the facility which was surprisingly quiet. The visitors had a chance to take a look at the furnace in which waste burns at more than 5000 Celsius degree, to see how metal was removed from the residual ashes and more. A sort of “behind the scenes” of the local Energy Recovery Facility.

At the end of the visit the team was offered bags of compost made out of local gardening waste. Good news for all of the office part-time gardeners, definitely the jewel in the crown.

11 Sep 2014

Here at the RSA we are working in partnership with the EU Commission and Latvian Presidency to deliver a conference on the new Cohesion Policy for the 2014-2020 period. The conference will be shaped as an academic and policy debate. As part of this process we are launching a call for papers that will be the basis for the debates. You can find all the information needed for submission below.

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4th -6th FEBRUARY 2015

In 2013, the budgetary and regulatory reform of Cohesion policy for 2014-20 was finally agreed following the most extensive process of reflection, consultation and analysis in the history of the policy. The cornerstones of the reformed policy are a more strategic use of the renamed European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), concentration of spending on the objectives of Europe 2020, improved performance and achievement of results, better governance, and more attention to urban and local development. However, as the recently published Sixth Cohesion Report makes clear, the new ESIF programmes face a difficult task, with increasing regional and urban disparities and cuts in government spending.  

Against this background, the Second EU Cohesion Policy Conference organised by the RSA and DG Regio, together with the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, aims to take stock of the challenges and opportunities for Cohesion policy in 2014-20. It will bring together a limited number of participants from academia, the European institutions and Member State authorities to debate where Cohesion policy is going and how its contribution to growth and jobs can be maximised. Papers are invited on the following questions and themes which will form the basis for workshop sessions, panel debates and discussion groups at the Conference.
1. Economic geography and Cohesion policy: how are the economic and social challenges for European Structural & Investment Funds changing?
  • the implications of the crisis for regional and urban disparities and convergence in Europe
  • the contributions and limits of Cohesion policy in dealing with the crisis and its legacy
  • the regional dimensions of Europe 2020 and the scope for the Funds to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth
  • the role of the funds in addressing youth unemployment
2. Institutions and governance: what can Cohesion policy do to strengthen public administration and effective management of the Funds?
  • administrative reform, capacity-building and Cohesion policy 
  • strategic management and delivery of Cohesion policy programmes 
  • integration of Funds and policy outcomes 
  • the scope for conditionalities to improve the policy environment for the Funds
3. Performance and results: how can Cohesion policy resources be used most effectively and efficiently?
  • the achievements of Structural and Cohesion Funds in 2007-13 
  • the contribution of performance frameworks to transparency and accountability 
  • improving methods for Cohesion policy evaluation
4. Instruments: what kind of Cohesion policy interventions make a difference?
  • the role of financial instruments in improving access to finance in less-developed regions
  • the use of integrated investments to promote sustainable urban development
  • lessons from local and community development for 2014-20
  • improving the visibility of results from European Territorial Cooperation programmes and projects
5. EU economic governance and Cohesion policy: what are the implications of governance reforms for Cohesion policy
  • the relationships between Cohesion policy and EU macroeconomic governance objectives 
  • inter-institutional relations in economic governance and Cohesion policy 
  • scenarios for economic and monetary union and implications for Cohesion policy

Submission of papers

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 500-word abstract through the Regional Studies Association online portal by 31 October 2014. Given the purpose and audience of the conference, the abstracts should demonstrate policy implications or lessons insofar as possible.
Proposers will be notified of the selected papers by 30 November 2014, with the expectation of a full paper being submitted by 11 January 2015.

Conference organisation

It should be noted that the organisation of the Conference is being managed jointly by the RSA, DG Regio and the Latvian EU Presidency. The academic organizer is Professor John Bachtler (European Policies Research Centre, University of Strathclyde, UK) and our RSA organiser is Daniela Carl.


Please contact Elizabeth Mitchell for further details and questions regarding this event or visit the conference’s website on the RSA portal.

9 Sep 2014

We are getting closer to the end of 2014, a busy-busy year for the RSA. But you do not have to worry, the year is not over yet and in case you missed some of our events or if you want to submit an article there is still time. Even if we might take a short brake this September, be assured that this is only to recharge our batteries and prepare the following RSA events. 

OPEN DAYS 2014 University Master Class (ODU-MC) on EU Cohesion Policy, 6th - 9th October.

We will kick off this October with the Master Class (ODU-MC) that will take place between 6th and 9th October and will be hosted by the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. The Master Class will be held during the OPEN DAYS - European Week of the Regions and Cities. The ODU-MC is organised by the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Regional Studies Association (RSA). This year the Master Class will host 30 PhD students and Early Career Researchers carefully selected based on: background and current position and field of research; quality of their submitted paper; and other criteria, including geography and gender balance. Get the full details, programme information here.

Regional Studies Association Early Career Conference 2014, 30th - 31st October

This year's Early Career Conference will be held in Sheffield and will be hosted by the University of Sheffield at the Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS). The conference is sponsored by the new open access journal Regional Studies, Regional Science and aims to provide early career researchers with the opportunity to network, collaborate and socialise with others working in regional studies and science. In the short clip below Professor Gordon Dabinett introduces the RSA Early Career Conference. If you wish to follow the event on social media you can use the  #RSAEC2014 hashtag. More details on the event and how to register can be found here.

Regional Studies Association Winter Conference 2014, 27th - 28th November

In a strained and recovering economy that affects development globally this year's conference discussions revolve around Sustainable Recovery?  Rebalancing, Growth, and the Space Economy. The London conference hosted at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury wants to provide a platform on which to adress the new economic order and its spatial manifestations. A very special event of the conference will be the launch of a policy intervention to engage with this current debate on spatial economic policy and identify some ways forward. This was put together by Ben Gardiner, Ron Martin, Peter Tyler and Andy Pike along with the Regional Studies Association. You can follow the event on social media using the #RSAWINTER2014 hashtag. Full details, programme and registration information can be found here.

RSA Annual President’s Event 2014, 27th November

We will close off this year's round of events and conferences with Annual President's Event. We invite you all, friends, members or prospective members to join us for dinner and the annual awards ceremony in London. More information on the event can be found here

Regional studies, Regional Science - Early Career Paper Proposals - DEADLINE: 15th October, 2014.

Last but not least, we would like to let you know that the next submission deadline for Regional Studies, Regional Science is 15th October 2014. The new Regional Studies Association open access journal, Regional Studies, Regional Science, has a section specifically devoted to Early Career Papers which focuses on publishing short articles from students and early career researchers to make their research accessible to a wider audience. Details and submission guidelines can be found here

1 Aug 2014

It is with regret that the Regional Studies Association announces the death of Professor Sir Peter Hall. Peter was a founder member of the Association, a long time Editor in Chief of Regional Studies, and more latterly the inaugural President. He has been active within the Association for fifty years. Through his work he has shaped debate on the theory and practice of planning and has played an international role in advising various national governments. He was a fine and widely acclaimed scholar. We will remember him as a great supporter and friend with thoughtful and wise insight and a cunning sense of humour. We will miss him greatly. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Sir Peter Hall's Biography (Source: iris.ucl.ac.uk):

Professor Hall received his Master's (1957) and Ph.D. (1959) degrees in Geography from the University of Cambridge and has taught at the London School of Economics; at the University of Reading (1968‑88), where he was Dean of the Faculty of Urban and Regional Studies; and at the University of California at Berkeley (1980‑92), where he is Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning.

He is author or editor of nearly 40 books on urban and regional planning and related topics, including London 2000 (1963, 1969), The World Cities (1966, 1977, 1983); Planning and Urban Growth: An Anglo‑American Comparison (with M. Clawson) (1973); Urban and Regional Planning (1975, 1982, 2002); Europe 2000 (ed., 1977); Great Planning Disasters (1980); Growth Centres in the European Urban System (with D. Hay) (1980); The Inner City in Context (ed., 1981); Silicon Landscapes (with A. Markusen, 1985); Can Rail save the City?(with C. Hass‑Klau, 1985); High‑Tech America (with A. Markusen and A. Glasmeier, 1986); The Carrier Wave (with P. Preston, 1988);Cities of Tomorrow (1988); London 2001 (1989); The Rise of the Gunbelt (with A. Markusen, S. Campbell and S. Deitrick, 1991);Technopoles of the World (with M. Castells, 1994); Sociable Cities (with C. Ward, 1998); Cities in Civilization (1998); Urban Future 21 (with U. Pfeiffer, 2000; Working Capital (with N. Buck et al, 2002); The Polycentric Metropolis (with K. Pain, 2006); and London Voices London Lives (2007).

He has received the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for distinction in research, and is an Honorary Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the Academia Europea. He holds fourteen honorary doctorates from universities in the UK, Sweden and Canada. He was knighted in 1998 for services to the Town and Country Planning Association, and in 2003 was named by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a “Pioneer in the Life of the Nation” at a reception in Buckingham Palace. In 2003 he received the Gold Medal of the Royal Town Planning Institute, the first to be awarded for twenty years. In 2005 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Deputy Prime Minister for his contributions to urban regeneration and planning. He received the 2005 Balzan Prize for work on the Social and Cultural History of Cities since the Beginning of the 16th Century. In 2008 he received the Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize of the International Union of Architects.

30 Jul 2014

The recent release of Lord Adonis' Growth Review has stirred some interesting recent debates, some of which argue that a more nuanced perspective is in order when looking at UK's regions and their growth potentials.

Such a critique comes from Mark Hart, Deputy Director of Enterprise Research Centre, and was published recently on startups.co.uk. Professor Hart argues strongly that the "Adonis Review paints a distorted picture of economic growth", while the national growth picture is far more complicated than what the reports presents.

Mark Hart notices that Adonis' Review fails to depict the real state of regional growth in the UK, and overly relies on the argument that the UK's regions lag behind London. This is the base of the Review for supporting further devolution of power away from Westminster. However, in the opinion of Professor Hart this is not sufficient to support the argument, as it neglects the complexities of "the nature of the regional contrasts".

The Enterprise Research Centre research comes in support of Mark Hart's commentary, as this shows that based on the official statistics, the UK's national growth is not so reliant on London as the Adonis Review states.
The vast majority of private sector jobs have over the 12 months to March 2012 been created outside the capital, with ONS data showing that over 75% of all new private sector jobs have been created outside London.
While London created 551,000 gross new jobs the Local Economic Areas in the Midlands and the North created almost double that number of jobs (just over 1 million).

Moreover, the Review also seems to ignore the "influence of non-urban areas" and the "hidden sources of job and value creation that already exist across some of the UK’s regions".

In short, to state that London is the UK's solitary powerhouse is at least an overstatement, which in the perspective of Professor Hart ignores the complexities of UK's regions.

You can read the full commentary of Professor Mark Hart on startups.co.uk.

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.