VINKO MUŠTRA, Course leader

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, regional resilience, decentralization, 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 Programme committee of the International Conference “Challenges of Europe” and president of ERSA Croatia.




Andrés Rodríguez-Pose is 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. He was awarded the 2018 ERSA Prize in Regional Science, arguably the highest prize in regional science, and has been a holder of a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant and of a prestigious Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award. He has also published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, is the joint managing editor of Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, an editor of Economic Geography, and sits on the editorial board of 18 scholarly journals, including many of the leading international journals in economic geography, human geography and regional science. more



Ron Boschma is Professor in Regional Economics at the Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University. Prof. Boschma has been a member of the Research, Innovation and Science Experts (RISE) High-Level Advisory Body to European Commissioner Carlos Moedas in 2015-2016. Since 2015, Porf. Boschma is Board member of the International Regional Studies Association. Prof. Boschma was ranked by Thomson Reuters among the top 1% of cited researchers (all fields) worldwide in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences since 2012. Prof. Boschma is member of the Scientific Advisory Group of DG Regional and Urban Policy 2018-2020 and the Commissie Sectorplan Social Sciences and Humanities in the Netherlands (National Advisory Group to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science) 2018-2025.



Rune Dahl Fitjar is a Pro-rector for Innovation and Society at the University of Stavanger and a Professor of Innovation Studies at the University of Stavanger Business School since 2013. Prof. Dahl Fitjar is affiliated with the Centre for Innovation Research and currently a chair of the scientific committee for the Regional Innovation Policies conference series. He is a member of the Research Council of Norway’s portfolio board for industry and services and the Norwegian reference group for Horizon Europe for Excellent Science. His research is related to innovation, regional development and regional politics. Prof. Dahl Fitjar trained as a political scientist in Bergen and at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), gaining PhD in Government from LSE in 2007. Rune was awarded the Lyse Research Prize, which recognizes excellence in research at the University of Stavanger, Stavanger Forum Prize for Communication of Research for actively presenting his findings both to an academic and a public audience and Region Stavanger’s Ambassador Prize for attracting academic conferences to the region.



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.




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.



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.



Blanka Šimundić is an associate 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).