The Princesa de Asturias Chair and a Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics. He is the Director of the Cañada Blanch Centre LSE and was Head of the Department of Geography and Environment between 2006 and 2009. He has been President of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI) (2015-2017) and served as its Vice-President in 2014. He was also Vice-President (2012-2013) and Secretary (2001-2005) of the European Regional Science Association. He is a part-time Professor of Innovation at the Centre for Innovation Research, University of Stavanger (Norway). He has been visiting professor at several higher education institutions, including the College of Europe (Belgium), the University of Cambridge (UK), the University of Hannover (Germany), the University of Split (Croatia), and the Autonomous University of Madrid (Spain).

He has a long track record of research in regional growth and inequality, fiscal and political decentralization, institutions, discontent and populism, innovation, migration, and development policies and strategies. This research is widely cited in academic circles. In the 2021 Stanford/Elsevier list of the 2% most cited scientists (which identifies close to 200,000 researchers across all areas of science), he was among the 0.1% of researchers across all academic disciplines. He was ranked first worldwide in the field of urban and regional planning by scholarly citations in 2020. He also appears on Clarivate's Web of Science 2020 and 2021 lists of Highly Cited Researchers. His research is also influential in policy circles. In his areas of expertise, he has regularly acted as advisor to several Directorates of the European Commission, the World Bank, the Cities Alliance, the OECD, the International Labour Organization, UNCTAD, the United Nations Development Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Development Bank of Latin America, the Asian Development Bank, or the African Union.

Among his honours is the 2018 ERSA Prize in Regional Science, considered to be among the highest awards in the field. He has been a holder of a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant and of a prestigious Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award. Other past academic prizes include a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship, a Philip Leverhulme Prize, and the Royal Geographical Society Gill Memorial Award. The latter two were awarded for his contribution to the understanding of regional disparities and development.



Professor of Economics, University Paris-Saclay, INRAE, AgroParistech. His research was for a long time at the cross roads of spatial and industrial economics. It has now become more multi-disciplinary and increasingly focused on questions related to territorial development processes and land use planning. He has published several articles and 25 books, mostly on issues related to spatial coordination between people or groups of people. His research currently focuses on the analysis of proximity relations and on their importance in processes of coordination between people. It centres on threee main areas: local interactions between innovative firms and, more particularly, the role played by geographical proximity in the transfer of knowledge; land use and neighbourhood conflicts; local dimensions of circular economy.

His involvement in research administration has led him to take on the roles of President of ERSA (European Regional Science Association), and of managing editor of the Revue d’Economie Régionale et Urbaine (Journal of Regional and Urban Economics). He is also past President of the ASRDLF (French Speaking Regional Science Association).



Currently at the Open University, Heerlen, The Netherlands. She was lab-owner at the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) of the division Smart Cities & Data analytics (owned by the Eindhoven University of Technology and Tilburg University), ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. She has worked at the Center for the Future of Places (CFP) of the Department of Urban Planning and Environment, School of Architecture and Built Environment at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland. She holds two Ph.D.s, in both economics and geography (with distinction), and has a profound interest in regional and urban topics. Her research interest focuses on the emerging ‘New Urban World’. Her main scientific research is in the field of creative industries, urban development, cultural heritage, digital technology, and strategic performance management. Lately, she has also been involved in the implementation of several national and international research projects and initiatives. Furthermore, she has been an editor of several books and guest editor for many international journals, and has published a wide array of scientific articles, papers, special issues of journals and edited volumes in the field of geography and the spatial sciences. She is also managing director of The Regional Science Academy. At present she is an affiliated professor on ‘Resilient, Sustainable & Smart Buildings and Cities’ at the new University of Technology in Ben Guerir (Morocco). In summary, her academic profile is characterized by a profound involvement in evidence-based urban and spatial research on smart city policy and data metrics, by a strong commitment to educational support to young researchers and by an active role in many international scientific and managerial activities.



Emeritus Professor in regional and urban economics and in economic geography at the VU University, and associated with The Open University of the Netherlands (OU), Heerlen (The Netherlands), and the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Iasi (Romania). He has published more than 2000 articles and books in the field of regional development, urban growth, transport and the environment. According to the RePec list he belongs to the top-25 of well-known economists world-wide. He is a fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW). He has served as president of the governing board of the Netherlands Research Council (NWO). In 1996, he was awarded the most prestigious scientific prize in the Netherlands, the Spinoza award. Currently, he is vice-president of The Regional Science Academy (TRSA) and involved in many international research activities.



Research Fellow at Nordregio, a Nordic Centre for Regional Development and Planning. He is engaged in applied research projects in the field of regional development, the green transition and circular-economy. On behalf of the Nordic thematic group for green, innovative and resilient regions 2021-2024, and its predecessor programme (2017-2020), under the Nordic Council of Ministers‘ Committee of Civil Servants for Regional Affairs, Alberto has carried out empirical studies on regional resilience, the impacts of covid-related restrictions in border communities, and the actors’ perspective in green innovation. These studies have broadened the understanding of the different types of vulnerabilities Nordic regions face, and what role the institutional and social contexts play in coping with uncertainty. Moreover, Alberto is involved projects that that foster place-based and multi-actor approaches for regions economic path creation.



Francesco Molica is an expert in regional development and cohesion policy. He is currently Director for Regional Policy at the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR), one of the biggest and most influential European associations of local and regional authorities. Previously, he worked for the European Commission (DG REGIO) and the EU programmes department of Calabria regional government (Italy). Francesco holds MA degrees in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Rome La Sapienza and in Communication from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. He has given lectures on cohesion policy at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Roma Tre University, Cergy-Pontoise University. He is author of papers on regulatory aspects of cohesion policy as well as communication.



Bogdan–Constantin IBĂNESCU is a researcher at the Centre for European Studies of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania. He holds a PhD diploma from Bordeaux Montaigne University, France (2012).
He has a cumulated 12 years of teaching experience at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi and University of Corsica Pasquale Paoli (France) on courses related to Geography of Tourism and Human Geography. He received several research grants and postdoctoral stages at Abdelmalek Essaâdi University, Morocco (2013), Bordeaux 3 University (2017) and Paris-Saclay University (2019) and participated as researcher on spatial analysis for the projects TerrEvi, ENACTED, ROSEC, GEOCOVID, and ReGrowEU.
His main areas of interest are tourism development, spatial analysis, peripheral territories and regional resilience, having published several papers on peer-reviewed journals on those topics.




Blanka Šimundić is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism, University of Split. Her main scientific research is in the field of tourism and economic growth, transportation and infrastructure, regional development and regional policies in Croatia and EU. She has published on perspectives of transport and tourism demand and supply, impacts of tourism on economic growth, health tourism infrastructure, regional resilience and smart specialisation. She is one of the national experts reporting to for the European Policies Research Centre on the regional policy and the assessment of instruments for the less developed areas of the Republic of Croatia. Currently she is involved as a researcher on Horizon 2020 SmartCulTour project (Smart Cultural Tourism as a Driver of Sustainable Development of European Regions).



Vinko Muštra is the dean and associate professor at the Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism, University of Split with a profound interest in regional and urban topics. His main research interest is in the field of smart specialization, urban development, agglomeration economies and EU regional policy. He has been involved in the implementation of national and international research projects and initiatives. Also he has published a wide array of scientific papers and articles in the field of spatial sciences. Furthermore, he is the Chairperson of the Organizing committee of the International Conference “Challenges of Europe”.