Date and location

  •   March 24, 2014 - March 24, 2014
  •   Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Conference details

Workshop focus

In 2014, a new cycle of the EU regional policy will start. This time the launch of a new programming period is dramatically different from all the previous ones because Europe is enduring the hardest economic crisis since the end of the World War II. This crisis has hit hardly Europe and its regions threatening to halt the process of convergence and spurring the rise of new disparities. The Cohesion Policy has a critical role being the most important investment policy at the EU level and representing a crucial tool to address this crisis. In this context, the EU has further recently developed and reformed the Cohesion Policy to address harder regional challenges.

At the beginning of the new policy cycle 2014-2020, many questions arise regarding the reformed Cohesion Policy. This workshop, hosted jointly by the Institute for European Studies and COSMOPOLIS at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and organized in collaboration with the partner institutions of the RSA Research Network on EU Cohesion Policy, will provide a forum for debating some of the most salient and burning of those questions. In particular, the workshop will focus on the following topics:

1. Unpacking the reform of Cohesion Policy in a context of economic crisis

How deep is the reform? Which of the changes proposed by the Commission have been eventually adopted, which ones have been discarded and why? To what extent has the current reform of Cohesion Policy been shaped by the economic crisis so far and how can the wider economic context affect this policy in the coming years? Are the new tools in the Cohesion Policy portfolio appropriate for addressing the regional development challenges in crisis? How can the ‘old’ ones be readapted in this new context?

2. Revisiting multi-level governance: coordination and conditionality

What are the challenges for implementation of the reformed Cohesion Policy in the context of multi-level governance? Are conditionalities an appropriate and effective tool for vertical coordination across levels of government? How to ensure effective horizontal coordination and cross-sector policy integration?

3. Appraising the urban dimension of Cohesion Policy

What is the role for cities in Europe’s economic development in the current tough economic context? How to assess the existing and new tools for supporting urban development as part of Cohesion Policy? What are the opportunities and challenges for the new EU urban policy?


We invite theoretical and empirical contributions, which will explore one or more of the above themes. All interested researchers, PhD students and practitioners are invited to submit, by email, an abstract of around 1,000 words to the following email address:

The abstract should:

  • put the paper in wider context
  • outline the theoretical background and the key findings of the paper,
  • briefly discuss the methodology and the data used,
  • explain what is new and original about the paper in relation to the debates on the above topics,
  • include full contact details of the Author(s).

Deadline for submission of abstracts: Friday 31 January 2014


Workshop format and outcomes

The invited participants and presenters will be asked to submit full papers by Monday 10 March 2014. The papers will be circulated before the event and the participants will be invited to read them in order to ensure lively discussions and provide the presenters with detailed feedback.

The workshop will start at 10 AM and end by 7 PM on Monday 24 March 2014. It will begin with keynote talks and a debate, followed by several thematic sessions. Each of the sessions will include discussants (academics and practitioners) leading the debates and providing the Authors with feedback on their papers.

The papers (or at least the PPT slides) presented at the workshop will be made available for download. A special issue proposal based on the best contributions to the workshop will also be considered.


Workshop programme

The workshop's programme is now available online at



Practical information

Participation in the event is free of charge.

  • The workshop will take place at the Institute for European Studies, Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussels

  • Lunch, refreshments and beverages will be provided and the participants will be invited for an apero closing the workshop.

  • Thanks to the financial support from the RSA we will be able to offer several travel bursaries for attending the workshop. Bursaries will be offered on a ‘first come, first served basis.’ If you wish to apply for a bursary or if you have any questions regarding your eligibility, please contact Marcin Dąbrowski: Please note that bursaries can only be offered to participants who are members of the RSA and fulfill 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.

For any other inquiries please contact the local organizers of the workshop, Nicola Francesco Dotti or Magdalena Sapala:, 


For the purpose of clarity, only student and early career members in Band A may make a claim for expenses, while members in any other category of Band A are not eligible (see RSA website to check in which band your country is). Any claim for expenses being made by a corporate member (Bands B, C and D only) should note that their expenses can only be refunded to the organization holding the corporate membership. Bursaries can be used towards travel and accommodation expenses only. The bursary is redeemable on presentation of receipts for eligible expenses. Applicants are encouraged to minimize their costs by using economy fairs, budget airlines, sharing accommodation, booking economy hotels/hostels. Priority will be given to PhD students and early-career researchers as well as the participants having difficulties in securing their own travel funding. 

Conference Organisers

The research network

The Regional Studies Association (RSA) Research Network on EU Cohesion Policy aims at providing a forum for debating EU cohesion policy, its effectiveness, impacts, paradoxes, and its future. Through the organization of three highly successful international workshops in the course of 2011 and 2012 and of several special sessions at the recent RSA conferences, the Network has succeeded in bringing together academics investigating EU cohesion policy as well as practitioners working with this policy at the EU, national and regional levels. The workshops addressed the key issues structuring the debate on the assessment of the effectiveness and impacts of EU cohesion policy as well as its reform in the run-up to the 2014-2020 period. The Network has created numerous opportunities for inspiring exchanges of ideas, has helped to foster new research collaborations and has led to joint publications.

Drawing on this experience, the Network continues promoting research on EU cohesion policy and fruitful dialogue between academics and practitioners with the aim to contribute to the on-going debates on the effects and the future of this policy. Our main ambition for the coming year is to organize a series of international workshops to be held in Brussels, Prague and Glasgow. The events will encourage an open discussion and understanding between academics specializing in EU cohesion policy, while at the same time engaging with, and learning from, practitioners and policy-makers.


Network co-organizers:

Dr. Marcin Dabrowski, Department of Urbanism, TU Delft: 

Prof. John Bachtler, EPRC, University of Strathclyde:

Dr. Oto Potluka, Unviersity of Economics Prague:

Dr. Magdalena Sapala, Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel:

Dr. Nicola Francesco Dotti, COSMOPOLIS, Vrije Universiteit Brussel:

Related Documents

How to get there

Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium