As part of the 16th European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC), the biggest event worldwide on regional and urban development, the 6th Master Class on EU Cohesion Policy will take place inOctober 2018. As the deadline of the 9th May looms, we are seeking applications from PhD students and early career researchers undertaking research related to European Cohesion Policy.  What are the reasons for signing up?  The Master Class is unique, in that it connects aspiring researchers and allows participants to present papers alongside attending lectures and debates with policymakers, EU officials and senior academics.

Not only will the Master Class serve to initiate discussions on recent research on European regional and urban development and EU Cohesion Policy, it will also enable PhD students and early career researchers to exchange views and network with policymakers, EU officials and senior academics.  Pavel Zdražil, (University of Pardubice, Czech Republic) was a participant in the 2016 Master Class and told us:

“The Master Class is a great occasion that offers a balanced mix of both official and social events. It is valuable to see how the European institutions work from the inside, moreover, it was good to have an opportunity to talk with some of the key opinion formers of the Cohesion Policy. The greatest added value came from my new established contacts with people all over Europe who had similar research interests to me; to be honest, for me, my participation in Master Class 2016 was even more beneficial that I thought it would be.”

The Master Class also aims to raise awareness and understanding of the research potential in the field of EU Cohesion Policy.  As Bradley Loewen, one of the 2016 participants explained:

“For me, the EWRC Master Class on Cohesion Policy was especially valuable since I participated during the middle stage of my doctoral research. This gave me an opportunity to test my approach and understanding of this complex policy field with the most knowledgeable actors on the subject. More than a conference, the EWRC Master Class provided unprecedented interactions with high level policymakers, leading academics and fellow students. I was able to connect with colleagues in other European countries working with similar research topics, which has already proven valuable in the early stages of our careers with the publication of this joint paper in Quaestiones Geographicae. Collaborating in this article allowed us to contribute across disciplines, pulling together complementary aspects of our individual research according to our strengths, and to constructively scrutinize our different interpretations of Cohesion Policy.” 

The benefits of this collaboration was also supported by his colleague, Wojciech Dyba, (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland):

“The Master Class during European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels in 2016 was a great opportunity to learn about EU Cohesion Policy and how the EU institutions work in terms of regional development. It was also a possibility to meet the EU officials responsible for this policy, but also researchers from other European universities that presented interesting papers and exchanged views with participants.”

The event created invaluable networking opportunities: thanks to it I got to know people that share my scientific interests. I initiated cooperation on several topics and it has led to publishing two scientific papers and further opportunities of common projects in the future. I would like to express my deep gratitude to RSA, CoR, EC, ERSA and AESOP for organising this great event. “

Participants in the 2016 Master ClassThe four participants of the 2016 Master Cohesion Policy in Brussels in 2016 have utilised the experience further by collaborating and publishing a paper in Quaestiones Geographicae: “Regional Development in Central-Eastern European Countries at the Beginning of the 21st Century: Path Dependence and Effects of EU Cohesion Policy

Jaan Looga, (University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia) summarised the 2016 event: “The Master Class is another great example of RSA work. I participated in this event in 2016 and got a lot of information how EU works and met with great scholars. The networks which were built during this event still stay together! Also, thanks to CoR and EC for organising this event.”

The 2018 Master Class is organised and led by the European Commission, DG for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Regional Studies Association (RSA) in cooperation with the European Regional Science Association (ERSA) and the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP). A selection panel composed of these organisations will be responsible for reviewing the applications and selecting participants. The deadline is now only 5 days away for applications – please see here for more details.