Date and location

  •   June 29, 2017 - June 30, 2017
  •   Center for Policy Studies, Central European University, Budapest

Conference details

CALL FOR PAPERS ‘Cross-border regions & inter-regional policy transfer in the past, present & future’ as part of the RSA RESEARCH NETWORK ON REGIONAL ECONOMIC AND POLICY HISTORY
29 & 30 June 2017 – Center for Policy Studies, Central European University, Budapest
Deadline for abstract submissions: 10 May 2017

The past plays a crucial role in understanding, developing and implementing regional economic development policies. History reveals path dependencies in regions’ economies and informs about the successes and failures of policy instruments. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Regional Studies Association, the RSA Research Network on Regional Economic and Policy History (ReHi) has been founded and funded. The main objective of the network is to explore what a historic perspective may contribute to regional studies as well as current regional policy-making and how approaches and methodologies used by historians can be better integrated in regional studies. This workshop focuses on the development of cooperation between regions within and across national borders, with special attention to communication, learning and policy transfer.

In the past decades the world has witnessed two strong and parallel trends. On the one hand, flows of goods, people and ideas across international borders have increased in conjunction with institutional innovations in the area of cross‐border cooperation between sub‐national (local and regional) authorities. This development has been especially strong in Europe, where since the 1950s around 150 formalized institutions for cooperation have been set up, but similar institutions have been created in North and South America, Africa and Asia as well. What they have in common is that emphasis is put on construction and/or reconstruction of local transnational political, social and economic spaces. Regional cooperation on continental scale (e.g. EU, ASEAN) have supported these endeavours in various ways.
Some have noticed tendencies to assume, and aspire for, further development towards cross‐border regional integration, i.e. the research agenda on cross-border cooperation has had strong normative and teleological underpinnings, often fuelled by policy-demand for short-term evaluations of specific programmes or projects. However, the number, length and security level of wall or fence border has, according to some estimates, never been higher than today, with border management and border security being increasingly in the focus of commercial and political interest. The workshop will aim at taking stock at both these empirical developments over time, paying specific attention to communication, learning and policy transfer across regional and national boundaries. Reflections around issues surrounding what kind of historical data is available and how they can be used will feature highly in discussions.

The programme of the workshop takes place on Thursday June 29 and Friday June 30. Key notes will be delivered by:
 Dr. Katja Sarmiento-Mirwaldt, Brunel University: Trade-offs in evaluating the long-term effects of small projects funds in territorial cooperation
 Dr. Estelle Evrard, University of Luxembourg: Reflexivity and mutual learning: reconsidering crossborder studies with an historical perspective
 Prof. Birte Wassenberg, University of Strasbourg: Linking the history of European integration with the history of regional territorial cooperation: the role of ‘forgotten’ actors

Representatives of institutions participating in the network will moderate the sessions. A special visit to the Vera & Donald Open Society Archives will provide for an insight into their holdings related to border areas in Central and Eastern Europe. Some ongoing research carried out at the host institution with in the project Cohesify ( will be presented for the first time at the workshop.

We invite colleagues to participate with original papers. Please send an abstract of about 400 words and a short bio with full contact details before May 10, 2017 to:
 Sara Svensson (Center for Policy Studies, Central European University):

 Participation in the event is free of charge.
 Refreshments and beverages will be provided.
 Thanks to the financial support from the RSA we will be able to offer several travel bursaries for attending the workshop. If you wish to apply for a bursary or if you have any questions regarding your eligibility, please contact the key contact of the REHi network (Marijn Molema, Fryske Akademy/Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, ). Please note that bursaries can only be offered to participants who are members of the RSA and fulfil one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • are student or early career members of RSA,
  • are associate (retired) members of RSA,
  • are RSA member working in a Band B, C or D country (see

Conference Organisers

The Regional Studies Association (RSA) Research Network on Regional Economic and Policy History will organize 5 workshops and 2 special sessions from April 2017 until the spring of 2019. The network is coordinated by its four organisers: dr. Marijn Molema (Fryske Akademy/Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences); dr. Arno van der Zwet (European Policies Research Centre, University of Strathclyde); prof. dr. Martin Åberg (Centre for Regional Studies, University of Karlstad); and dr. Sara Svensson (Center for Policy Studies, Central European University). The network’s associated partners are the Barlett School of Planning, University College London (contact person: Prof. dr. John Tomaney); the University “Magna Græcia” of Catanzaro, Italy (contact person: Prof. dr. Paolo Malanima); and Delft Technical University, Netherlands (contact person: Dr Marcin Dąbrowski).

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How to get there

Center for Policy Studies, Central European University, Budapest