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.