The RSA awarded me with a travel grant to attend the 55th European Regional Science Association (ERSA) congress (World Renaissance: Changing roles for people and places). The congress took place in Lisbon from the 25th to the 28th of August 2015. It was organized in conjunction with the 21st APDR (Associação Portuguesa para o Desenvolvimento Regional) congress, the Lisbon School of Economics & Management and the Regional Studies Association International (RSAI). With around 1000 participants the ERSA conference is one of the world’s largest gatherings of regional scientists.
The conference started on Tuesday with the registration, the opening ceremony and the welcome reception. The keynote presentations on “smart specialization” and the role of “proximity relations for regional development” were given by John Goddard and André Torre. The welcome reception was the first opportunity for me to introduce the RSA to other participants of the conference. We especially discussed the benefits and additional value (networking, access to journals, funding, conferences, community, etc.) of being a member of such an association. On Wednesday I visited several presentations of other participants of the conference. During the coffee breaks, the lunch and at the get-together party in the evening I especially tried to call the attention of colleagues in my age (between 30 and 40) to the RSA. During the discussions and conversations about our research I point them to the several benefits which the RSA offers to its members.
On Thursday I presented my paper entitled “Market vs. system failure as a rationale for EU regional policy? A critique from an evolutionary economics perspective” in the session called “New frontiers in Regional science”. In the beginning of my presentation I acknowledged the funding of the RSA with the help of the powerpoints that were sent to me in advance. Again, I pointed the audience to the several benefits of being a member of the RSA. I also tried to convince the listeners of the advantages of being the member in more than one association because some of them were already a member in the RSAI. I was also able to hand over some of the material the RSA sent to my hotel in Lisbon. Some participants were especially interested in the leaflet with the detailed information about the RSA and the information on the membership. I also displayed some of the material about the RSA in the coffee break area and took the membership flyers to the gala dinner on the last day of the conference.
All in all, the conference has been a big success. It was another cornerstone in my professional career. The most important things to me were the presentation of my research, to get feedback from other researchers in that field, to network with them and to explore opportunities for publication of my research. My personal impression is that I was quite successful in achieving these “goals”. Without the membership in the RSA and the RSA travel grant that was provided to me I would never have had the opportunity to get to the ERSA conference. I am very grateful to the RSA to have chosen me for the travel grant.