2022 Commissioner’s Seminar Series on Cohesion Policy

01 September 2022


Date and time

01 September 2022
16 December 2022


The purpose of these seminars is firstly, to signal the Commission's desire to encourage growth in the number of researchers working on Cohesion Policy and related topics to build a greater pool of expertise. Secondly, to give the opportunity for relationship building between participants and policymakers to allow sharing of understanding and to refresh the expertise from which the Commission pulls in formulating and implementing policy. Finally, it offers the early career participants the opportunity to gain important and influential, high-level policy related feedback on their research.

This seminar series is an initiative by Dr Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms and a collaborative venture organised between Commissioner Ferreira and her Cabinet; the European Commission's Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) in partnership with the Regional Studies Association’s European Foundation (RSA Europe).

The seminar series will feature two one-day long events in Brussels, Belgium.

1st Seminar:

The geography of discontent, levelling up, lagging regions, development trapped regions

w/c 26th September, one-day event, Brussels, Belgium

From Hungary and Poland to Great Britain and the United States, from Austria and the Netherlands to Germany and France, election after election, the populist vote in the developed world has been on the rise. Voters are abandoning traditional parties and turning to increasingly extreme political options that offer supposedly "easy" solutions to current problems: from a response to economic crises and COVID-19 to migration and identity conflicts.

Explanations of this phenomenon have been numerous. Many of them point to the rising discontent among ever-widening layers of the population against a system that they consider to be of no benefit to them. In particular, the growth of territorial inequality within countries and long-term economic and/or demographic decline in many areas that until not that long ago were motors of economic dynamism is considered to have fueled this discontent. Many discontented regions are those that in recent years have fallen into a development trap. The citizens of these regions —whose prosperity has not improved relative to the past and the prevailing economic conditions in national and international markets— feel neglected and abandoned by governments and policies that often pay lip service to generate more investment and levelling up, but that frequently fail to deliver on their promise. However, inequality and long-term decline are not the only explanations when it comes to identifying the causes of discontent. Cultural or identity factors have also played a non-negligible role as drivers of the rise of political resentment.

This seminar will dwell on what explains the increase in discontent among the population, reflected in a greater populist and anti-system vote? It will seek to provide a comprehensive exploration of the growth of anti-system voting in much of the developed world and on the reasons that are behind phenomena such as the rise of populism and Euroscepticism in the European Union, why Brexit took place, or why Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.

The academic lead of this seminar is Prof Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Princesa de Asturias Professor & Professor of Economic Geography, Director, Cañada Blanch Centre, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics, UK.

This seminar will bring together high-profile EU Commission policymakers, leading academics in the field and early career researchers to discuss research findings and policy implications concerning the geography of discontent, levelling up, lagging regions and the middle-income trap regions. This is an excellent opportunity to network with policymakers and meet other researchers in the field.

The seminar is open to a maximum of 20 participants who are either current PhD students or early career researchers. Each seminar will be held in person in Brussels, Belgium and requires a separate application.

Applicants must complete the application form and include an abstract that falls under the theme of the seminar on: The geography of discontent, levelling up, lagging regions, development trapped regions.

Application documents to submit:

  • the completed application form;
  • short video (maximum of 2 minutes) on your research relevant to the seminar;
  • your CV;
  • a certificate:
    • proving the PhD student status; or
    • proving early career status (PhD certificate);
  • an academic reference in support of your application.

Please email these by 29th August 2022, 16:00 CEST to office@rsaeurope.org. Candidates will be informed by early September.

Please note that:

  • early career applicants must be within 5 years of finishing their PhD or demonstrate equivalent experience;
  • candidates can only participate in one of the Seminars;
  • only one application per person will be considered;
  • the organisers will cover and arrange travel and accommodation of all selected participants;
  • there is no fee to attend the Seminar Series;
  • applicants do not need to be members of the Regional Studies Association to be involved in a seminar;
  • participants must attend the full day of the seminar and engage actively in all aspects of the programme. If participants fail to attend the full day of the Seminar, they must reimburse costs for travel and accommodation paid and no certificate will be given.

For questions, please contact Daniela Carl at daniela.carl@regionalstudies.org.

Key Dates

29 August 2022
Application Deadline

Additonal Information

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