May 2015

Call for Presentations: Regional Studies Association Irish Branch Annual Conference in conjunction with The Southern Regional Assembly


Friday 4 September 2015, University College Cork


The amount of attention given to regional development policy in Ireland tends to decrease during economic downturns. Developments during the last economic crisis have appeared to be no exception. In 2008 the allocations for the Gateway Innovation Fund were withdrawn. In 2012, the Action Programme for Effective Local Government included the consolidation of eight Regional Authorities and two Regional Assemblies into three new Regional Assemblies. In 2013, the National Spatial Strategy 2002-2020 was effectively abandoned, without a clear timeline for developing a successor.
However, the spatially selective nature of the incipient economic recovery has moved regional development in Ireland very much to the forefront of attention again. Regional development policy and governance is in a state of flux with different Ministries and their agencies establishing a new direction of action. The three new Regional Assemblies were established in January 2015 with newly minted powers to devise Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies. The Department of the Environment has installed a National Spatial Strategy scoping group to prepare a report on the development of a new National Planning Framework which, in turn, is expected to be finalised by the end of 2015. Meanwhile, under pressure from increasing public attention, the Department of Enterprise Jobs and Innovation and its agencies are developing their own regional policies. In January 2015, as part of its Action Plan for Jobs 2015, the Department announced a 25 million Euro fund to support regional initiatives. One month laater it launched the Framework for the Development of Regional Enterprise Strategies. A pilot has been applied in the Midlands region, after which it will be rolled out to other regions. The same month IDA Ireland launched its new five-year plan Winning: Foreign Direct Investment 2015-2019 in which the IDA has committed itself to increasing the level of investment into each region of Ireland by between 30% and 40%. The main aim of this annual conference is to understand the direction of the current policies and actions, and/or provide direction where required.

Submission themes

We call for presentations from policy makers, academia and practitioners active in the field of regional studies. Post-graduate students are encouraged to submit. We call for presentations dealing with, amongst others, the following themes:

Developing Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies – process and content

  • National Oversight and Audit Commission
  • Regional Enterprise Strategies and Action Plan for Jobs – progress and analysis
  • The Midlands pilot
  • IDA and Enterprise Ireland regional strategies
  • Property-based regional development policies
  • A new National Planning Framework
  • Local and regional economic forums
  • Entrepreneurship and firm formation
  • Social Economy and regional development
  • The Greater Dublin Area


Please submit proposals for presentation in the form of a 250 word abstract through the Regional Studies Association – Irish Branch online portal byy 31st July 2015.

Submission of abstracts can be made online at

It is possible to register for the conference online at

Please note that there is a 70 Euro fee for attending the conference and thiss includes lunch.  Payments are processed via PayPal.

Conference updates
Updates on the conference will be available on the RSA-Irish Branch website at

It is encouraged to subscribe to the RSA-Irish Branch’s newsletter to have updates delivered to your e-mail as they become available as well as news of other RSA events.  It is possible to subscribe to the newsletter at

Further information
Please contact


The venue for the conference will be the Brookfield Health Science Building, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

WDC Insights

It is clear that some regions in Ireland are growing much more than others (see Regions and Recovery post), with some even showing ‘growth strains’ (Dublin Economic Monitor, Issue 1, Spring 2015, p.4 ). It is also evident that while national economic growth is the main policy objective, policy on where this growth should occur is less clear. This lack of direction is compounded by the hiatus waiting for the development of a successor to the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) (2002), which is not likely to emerge until late 2016 at the earliest.

In the meantime, work to promote ‘balanced regional development’ continues with policy initiatives and actions being developed to spread growth and development more widely across the country, including the recently announced IDA Strategy 2015-2019  to boost regional FDI employment, along with the formulation of Regional Action Plans for Jobs, and the implementation of recommendations from the Commission for the Economic Development…

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