Call for papers: RSA workshop on the EU Cohesion Policy: Focus on The Territorial Dimension, Lisbon, 5-6 November 2015



In just 24 years (1989-2013), the EU Cohesion Policy has shifted its main strategic intervention goals several times. In short, while in earlier times a stronger focus was put on (i) improving human capital; (ii) supporting companies; and (iii) building and modernizing physical infrastructures, the present development paradigm, expressed in the Europe 2020 Strategy (smart, sustainable and inclusive growth), highlights the need to develop a greener and more competitive economy, based on knowledge and innovation, while fostering a high-employment economy, which delivers social and territorial cohesion.

This also reflects the Lisbon Treaty’s recognition that the European Union needs not only to promote social and economic cohesion, but also ‘territorial cohesion’. Yet, as the Territorial Agenda (TA2020) from 2011 expresses, ‘the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth can only be achieved if the territorial dimension of the strategy is taken into account, as the development opportunities of the different regions vary’.

The same document (TA2020), highlights the need to deepen the territorial dimension of EU Cohesion Policy by ‘strengthening mechanisms which can ensure the territorial coordination of its interventions; improving the territorial dimension of all steps of strategic programming, evaluation and monitoring activities; ensuring scope for integrated place-based programmes and projects, and integrating different funds in regional strategies’. Achieving this, however, remains a major challenge. This workshop aims to further discuss this question and shed new light on three of the main aspects associated with the Territorial Dimension of the EU Cohesion Policy, for the next programming cycle (2014-2020).


We invite all those interested to submit abstracts for research papers which should include a description of the conceptual framework, research questions, methods, and a statement on the main findings and contribution to knowledge related with the topics of the Workshop.

  • Abstracts of up to 1000 words should be submitted to:
  • Abstract should include: Title, names of all the authors, affiliation and full contact details
  • Open: September 7, 2015
  • Close: September 25, 2015
  • Acceptance notification: October 1, 2015
  • Final programme: October 5, 2015
  • For any question on the submission, please contact or

The workshop will focus on the following topics:

  1. Assessing territorial impacts at the various spatial levels

How to effectively implement TIA (Territorial Impact Assessment) procedures in the EU Member States, in order to achieve the goal of the present EU Cohesion Cycle in putting more emphasis in assessing the results of the implemented projects/programmes? What can be the role of ESPON in perfecting and unifying the existing TIA methods and techniques? What is the importance of the urban dimension in the evaluation of the EU Cohesion Policy, considering that urban areas absorb the lions-part of the EU structural funds?

  1. Implementing the Territorial Agenda and the European Spatial Development Perspective

How can the EU Cohesion Policy be an effective vehicle in implementing the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) and the Territorial Agenda priorities of promoting a more polycentric and balanced territorial development? Are the Territorial Agenda’s main goals being included within the territorial development strategies of the EU Member States? What are the different storylines and experiences in implementing place-based strategies in Europe?

  1. Achieving territorial cohesion in the EU

The Lisbon treaty goal of promoting ‘economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States’ is still a far cry from the reality. How can the EU Cohesion Policy be more effective in contributing to the achievement of this ultimate goal of territorial development? What can be the role of Territorial Cooperation in this endeavour? How to make the most out of EU Cohesion Policy interventions in less developed regions, particularly in times of financial and economic crisis?


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 organisation of six highly successful international workshops and of several special sessions at the recent RSA conferences, since 2011, 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 creates opportunities for inspiring exchanges of ideas, has helped to foster new research collaborations and has led to joint publications.


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