At the FEBT Summer School 2022 in Split we are honoured to host professor Peter Nijkamp, one of the top 25 well-known economists worldwide according to the RePec list and the Laureate of the most prestigious scientific prize in the Netherlands, the Spinoza award. He is the Emeritus Professor in regional and urban economics and in economic geography at the VU University, Amsterdam. He is associated with The Open University of the Netherlands (OU), Heerlen (The Netherlands), as well as the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Iasi (Romania). With his broad expertise in the area of regional development, urban growth, transport and the environment, public policy, services planning, infrastructure management and environmental protection whereabout he has published many books and numerous articles we are honoured he will be sharing his knowledge and experience with the FEBT Summer School 2022 participants. He is a fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW) and served as president of the governing board of the Netherlands Research Council (NWO). Currently, he is vice-president of The Regional Science Academy (TRSA) and involved in many international research activities.
At this years FEBT Summer School he will be a part of the course themed “Regional development in post-crisis and post-globalized world”. We have been talking to him about the expectations from the FEBT Summer School 2022 in Split.
What first attracted you to the FEBT Summer School course involvement, the City, the University, the colleagues?
Split feels for me like a hometown, with its great ambiance, its historical centre, its friendly people, its prestigious university and its nice academic climate. It is really a ‘place to be’! It is the ideal location for the FEBT Summer School. And I am happy and honoured to be part of this endeavour.
I believe you find collaboration across international, disciplinary, generational, and other boundaries important. Why?
Port cities – like Split – have always been hubs of international trade and connections. That holds not only for goods, but also for ideas. Nowadays international cooperation and exchange of scientific ideas are critical for wellbeing in our world. In my own career, international scientific cooperation has been essential, as this spurs new findings and innovation in research.
What advice would you give students who are still indecisive about coming to Split this summer and attending the course you are teaching? What outcomes do you see for them?
Participation in the FEBT Summer School is not only important for a young generation to collect new insights. It is a platform for discussion and for meeting others, so as to acquire fresh ideas and scientific news, on a broad range of important topics, ranging from spatial resilience questions (e.g., in the COVID-19 period) to urban inequality conditions.
What do you think would be the biggest takeaway for you from this involvement?
Summer schools are breeding places for new regional science concepts. The mix of researchers with different disciplinary background and from different countries leads to a new knowledge arena where everyone (teachers and participants) benefits.
Can you tell us something about yourself, something outside the official curriculum, what makes you to be proud of your work? About some projects of which you were involved in? Maybe one that made you particularly proud and that introduced changes at your university, town or community?
I have had the great fortune in my life to work with great world-known teachers, with many colleagues all over the world, and with hundreds of smart students. They have kept me alert and to look for new endeavours in my research. Consequently, I have been able to work in many different fields ranging from regional development to spatial econometrics from urban rehabilitation to industrial innovation, from human health conditions to environmental management, or from migration to disaster analysis. In recent months, I have spent much time on modelling the quantitative spatial dimensions of COVID-19 (called ‘coronametrics’). With the current alarming war situation in Ukraine, I presume that geo-political analysis of regions will also become a top priority.
This is not your first time to be lecturing at FEBT Summer School. What are your previous experiences that you could share with us?
For me it is – as always – a great pleasure to visit the magnificent city of Split and its great university. I always went there with great expectations and always came back with a wealth of new ideas. And I expect the 2022 FEBT Summer School again to be a source of great inspiration for us all.