ERSA - JRC Winter School 2021 l Online Event

The European Regional Science Association in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (Seville) are pleased to work together for the organization of the 3rd edition of the ERSA Winter School. The event will be co-organised in partnership with the Spanish Section of ERSA, AECR.

The 3rd ERSA Winter School features "Smart specialisation: linking global challenges to local implementation" 

This 3rd edition of the Winter School is labelled ERSA 2021 Winter School Class "Juan Cuadrado Roura"


Key dates

Call for Application start              20 October 2020
Application deadline                    15 November 2020 Extended to 25 November 2020
Notification of acceptance           30 November 2020 04 December 2020
& Registration start
Registration deadline                  20 December 2020   


The agenda of the Joint ERSA-JRC Winter School is out.
Virtual edition 25-29 January 2021

>> Link to the Winter School Online Agenda 2021

Programme Overview

Please click on the image below to download the programme in pdf version.


The 3rd ERSA Winter School 2021 in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (Seville) aims to provide PhD/Post-doc Students and young researchers with the very latest advances in regional science on the topic of place-based policies and social, economic and climate challenges in the framework of smart specialisation. Theoretical, empirical and policy analysis research are also welcome.

The Winter School seeks to encourage close interactions and feedbacks among participants and top senior researchers as well as internationally recognized analysts.


The world’s megatrends offer risks and opportunities impacting local and regional policy making. Solutions to challenges that are linked to environment, economy, society and health are to be aligned with the European Green Deal priorities and with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals calling for change in local and regional policy making. Also, such challenges have differentiated local impact, requiring diverse responses for current and future needs of local communities.

Smart Specialisation (S3) is a place-based EU policy in its 7th year of implementation offering a methodology along which regions and Member States of the European Union (EU) have been developing and implementing their S3 strategy leading to a limited number of clearly defined research and innovation priorities. S3 is an evolving approach incorporating evidence on what worked and what did not work, also attracting attention outside of the EU; impacting – among other areas – governance and institutional systems, stakeholder involvement, leadership, or cross-border synergies across investments. Given the evolving nature of S3, it offers a unique entry point on how territorial policies can provide solutions to grand challenges in a way that lead to transformation of places that become more resilient in adapting to social, economic and environmental change. 


The ERSA - JRC Winter School 2021 seeks to address the interaction between empirical, theoretical and policy analysis within the following topics, which include (but are not limited to):

  • Data analyses
  • Applied analysis
  • Quantitative methodology
along with the following lines:

  • Place based innovation for sustainability – the Green Deal / Grand challenges
  • Smart specialisation for sustainable development goals
  • Lessons learned on Entrepreneurial Discovery Process and COVID19 induced changes on EDP processes
  • Evidence on the implementation of Smart Specialisation 
  • Connecting Innovation Ecosystems to enhance growth 
  • Local and regional leadership addressing grand challenges 
  • Tools and Data for Smart Specialisation 
  • Monitoring and Evaluation – a tool ensuring effectiveness of S3 implementation 

Lecturers and Laboratory Sessions

Lecturers & Presentations

Riccardo Crescenzi - London School of Economics, United Kingdom

  Recovery, Smart Specialisation and Evidence-based policies in Europe (access for the winter school students & JRC team only).

Fatime Barbara Hegyi - European Commission JRC, Spain

  Local and regional leadership

Lewis Dijkstra - European Commission, Belgium

  Demography and Discontent

Mafini Dosso - European Commission JRC, Spain

  Smart specialisation strategies in the Global South

Roberta Rabellotti  - Università di Pavia, Italy

  Multinationals and local government

Frank van Oort  - Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

  Regional Economic Diversification and Resilience

Laboratory Sessions

 Evidence for S3 implementation - entrepreneurial discovery process  
    "Implementing Entrepreneurial Discovery Process in times of COVID19 crisis"

The term Entrepreneurial Discovery Process is about prioritising investments based on an inclusive and evidence-based process driven by stakeholders’ engagement and attention to market dynamics. Efficient functioning of the entrepreneurial discovery process requires governments to act as platforms to enable, sustain and guide stakeholders’ participation across the policy-making process.

Stakeholder collaboration (entrepreneurial discovery process) is one of the key elements for smart specialisation strategies and a core element of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Enabling Condition “Good governance of national or regional smart specialisation strategy” for the period 2021-2027. However, still, after years of implementation is a challenging concept for most European regions and countries. Also, the COVID-19 crisis requires that the entrepreneurial discovery process is adapted to the new conditions where it is more difficult (if not impossible) to have in-person gatherings.

Altogether, the next generation of smart specialisation strategies offers the opportunity to enhance the effective functioning of the entrepreneurial discovery process by taking stock of the lessons learned over the past few years and the current crisis.

The lab will consist of a plenary session of around thirty minutes, followed by two parallel sessions of one-hour. During the plenary session, speakers will introduce to the students, based on the evidence collected, critical elements for the success of the entrepreneurial discovery process. After thisspeakers will present a ‘real-policy situation´ to the students. During the parallel sessions, students will be given a role and will be offered the opportunity to discuss: What are the main elements that should be taken into account to manage the ´real-policy situation´? What are the best mechanisms to engage stakeholders in the prioritization and decision-making process? What are the main challenges? After the two-parallel sessions, there will be a wrap-up session where students will present the main conclusions. 

Laboratory Objectives
  • To offer an open and collaborative space where students can discuss and show their creative side and develop expertise in the practice of solving public problems. 
  • Discuss the present, past, and future EU regulation and requirements.  
  • To tackle policy issues, understand the interests of stakeholders, and develop concrete solutions with a method of policy design based on smart specialisation policy approach.   
  • To enable students to establish linkages between knowledge, know-how and policy. 



Manuel Laranja - University of Lisbon

Manuel Laranja is graduated in Engineering with post graduate studies in Management and a DPhil on Technology and Innovation Policy from SPRU- University of Sussex. He was Director of the Innovation Agency in Portugal and Advisor on Innovation Policy for the Prime Minister Office (2005-2011). Currently occupies a teaching position at the Higher Institute of Economics and Management, Technical University of Lisbon - ISEG/ULisboa, published several books and international articles.


Anabela Marques Santos - European Commission - JRC

Anabela Santos holds a PhD on Economics and Management from Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management. She was Research Fellow (2014-2019) at Université libre de Bruxelles, member (2014-2019) of the Public Policy Monitoring Unit at Universidade de Évora (Portugal) and Financial Advisor for SMEs (2005-2014). Expert in policy evaluation, firm performance and applied econometrics, currently she is an Economic Analyst at Joint Research Centre, unit B3 territorial development in Seville. She published several international articles and received several awards/ recognition for her research. 


Inmaculada Perianez-Forte  - 

European Commission - JRC

Inma Perianez is a Scientific Officer of the Territorial Development Unit at the Joint Research Centre in Seville, European Commission, Spain. Her research is focused on Smart Specialisation policy and entrepreneurial discovery process, especially, on the role of stakeholders on policy-decision making process. She worked previously at the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry where she co-ordinated the TIP-Smart Specialisation project and at the Regional Government of Andalusia. 


James Wilson - 

Orkestra and Deusto Business School 

James Wilson is Research Director at Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness and teaching faculty at Deusto Business School. His research is focused on territorial strategy-making, governance, clusters, innovation and cluster policy, and the roles that universities play in territorial development. He is a member of the Board of Directors of TCI Network and is currently leading work on pan-European cluster mapping and cluster policy analysis within the European Cluster Collaboration Platform.  

 Tools & Data for Smart Specialisation 

The concept of smart specialisation as defined originally is based on territorial assets and stakeholders needs to address socio-economic challenges. An important part of the implementation of the strategies lies in the allocation of EU funding into R&I projects, infrastructures or equipment. Over the 2014-2020 multi-annual financial framework, the European Union has been investing a total of more than €125bn into support to research and innovation through the implementation of thousands of projects (about € 80bn through Horizon 2020 and € 40bn through ERDF). After 7 years of implementation, the amount of data is impressive, thousands of grants were allocated generating patents, new companies, products and services. The matching with other existing dataset (companies, start up, patent, biblio etc.) seems necessary to assess the impact of S3 strategies implemented since 2014 and to inform the future period 2021-27 embedding the new European and international strategic context. The exploitation of data available represents an interesting methodological challenge and opens also new opportunities for research particularly with the growing importance of Artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

The objective of this laboratory is to present through three different cases how quantitative approach can be used to address policy questions coming from the Implementation of S3. Various types of dataset are relevant in this context with for each of them their intrinsic limitations. Based on the presentations of the three inspiring cases, new potential research questions will be discussed in parallel groups.  


Pierre-Alexandre Balland - 

Utrecht University

Pierre-Alexandre Balland is a French economist specialized in the fields of economic geography, economics of innovation, network science, and applied artificial intelligence. He is a Professor at Utrecht University and previously held positions at MIT, UCLA and Lund. He is a research fellow at the Center for Complex Systems Studies and currently serves in the ESIR expert group that advises the European Commission on innovation policy. Pierre-Alexandre analyzes economic development from a complex systems perspective. He focuses on how the complexity of economic activities leads to growth and technological change, but also spatial inequality and new forms of fragilities. To navigate this complex world, he uses network science and AI techniques. With his team, he develops new methodological frameworks, large datasets, software and recommendation systems. His applied activities range from helping policymakers and companies in their digital transition, investment choices, and several other key decision-making processes.  


Julia Bachtrögler-Unger - Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO)

Julia Bachtrögler-Unger is an Economist at WIFO and has been working in the Research Group "Structural Change and Regional Development" since 2018. Prior to this, she worked as a research assistant and PhD student at the Vienna University of Economics and Business for four years. In addition, she gained further experience in the field of impact analysis of EU funding in two OECD projects. Her research focuses on issues of regional and urban economics, in particular the analysis of economic policy measures in the regional context, regional development and convergence. In these areas she is currently working as a project manager and collaborator on projects for national and international clients. Her main research interest is the evaluation of the EU cohesion policy, especially the analysis of the distribution among individual beneficiaries and projects. Recently, she has designed and analysed a dataset of projects co-funded by the ERDF in the current multi-annual framework on behalf of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.  


Mathieu Doussineau - 

European Commission - JRC

Mathieu Doussineau is Policy analyst at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Seville. He has a background in evaluation of research and innovation policies. Since 2012, he is working for the European Commission on Regional innovation policies and Smart specialisation. His recent work has focussed on the monitoring and evaluation of the regional innovation policies and the combination of funding supporting Research and innovation. Before joining the JRC, Mathieu was senior consultant at Technopolis-group Paris mainly working on evaluation studies at regional, national and European level.   


Thomas Scherngell - 

Austrian institute of technology (AIT)

Thomas Scherngell (PD PhD) is senior scientist and head of the research group Innovation Dynamics & Modelling at the Center for Innovation Systems & Policy of the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, and lecturer at the Institute for Economic Geography and GIScience of the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). He holds a venia docendi (habilitation) in Economic Geography and Regional Science, received from WU in 2012. He received his M.A. in Economic Geography (2003) from the University of Vienna (Mag. phil.), and his PhD (2006) from the same university (Dr. rer. nat). Thomas Scherngell is an expert in economics of innovation and technological change as well as in regional science and spatial analysis. Over the past five years, Thomas’ research focus was on the structure and dynamics of R&D networks, with a special focus on networks constituted under the heading of the European Framework Programmes (FPs). Further, he has been working extensively on spatial analysis methods, with a special emphasis on spatial econometric methods and spatial interaction modelling, and on network analysis methods.

 Smart specialisation for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 
      Laboratory session on SDG mapping

The urgency to deliver 2030 Agenda, as announced in the Decade of Delivery and Action by UN Secretary General and in the European Green Deal, calls for the development of new strategies, instruments and approaches ensuring coherence of policy actions. In this context, multi-level governance approach is necessary to mobilise actors and translate the 2030 Agenda into place-specific transformative activities. During this lab session we will discuss approaches, methods, techniques and practices to the development of transformative strategies to meet the objectives of the 2030 UN Agenda.

The objective of this Laboratory is to provide insights into scientific work carried out by the European Commission, JRC on the topic of Smart Specialisation for SDGs. At the same time, interactive discussions in groups will be organised to stimulate brainstorming and eventually design of new approaches to data gathering and analysis. The participants will be working on the case of Smart Specialisation for SDGs in Georgia.

Format and content
The Laboratory session will be divided into three parts. We will start with an introduction to the topic of S3 for SDGs. Brief presentations will be delivered by the JRC researchers to set the scene and provide the conceptual background to the topic. Specifically, the notion of quantitative analysis of Smart Specialisation for SDGs will be introduced with a specific case of Georgia.

The presentations will be followed by guided discussion in three parallel groups with the purpose of identifying fresh insights and potential new approaches to perform the quantitative analysis for Smart Specialisation for SDGs. The topics that will guide the group discussions are: (1) Critical discussion of S3 for SDGs Roadmap development, (2) New analytical framework and data availability, (3) Data gathering and quantitative analysis of Smart Specialisation for SDGs: case of Georgia.

During the last third part the parallel groups will have an opportunity to exchange their ideas and discuss with the JRC experts. The Laboratory session will be closed by summarising the main take-aways and lessons learnt.



Katerina Ciampi Stančová  


European Commission - JRC

Kateřina Ciampi Stančová is a Scientific Officer at the European Commission, Joint Research Centre. She is tasked with supporting the development of EU territorial policies, specifically Smart Specialisation, and interregional collaboration in agri-food. Her professional interests include STI policies and roadmaps, sustainable development (SDGs), territorial development, international and interregional cooperation in STI, less developed innovation systems (EU-13), public policies, policy experimentation and learning, agri-food, multi-level governance and international migration. She manages transnational Agri-food Partnerships at the European Commission. She holds a PhD degree in Politics, Human Rights and Sustainability, and previously she conducted research at the Georgetown University in Washington DC and Stockholm University in Sweden.


Monika Matusiak - 

European Commission - JRC

Monika Matusiak is a Team Leader in European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, working on Smart Specialisation in EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Region. She is also the focal point for United Nations Inter-Agency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmaps for Sustainable Development Goals and coordinates the work done in JRC on Smart Specialisation Strategies for SDGs. Before joining the European Commission she was the Director of the Knowledge Transfer Company at Poznan University of Economics and Business and worked in the World Bank before that. She holds a PhD in Economics. Throughout her carrier she has been involved in many international projects and advised regional and national governments in the EU.


Alice Siragusa - 

European Commission - JRC

Alice Siragusa is the Team Leader of the JRC project on Localising SDGs. She works at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission since 2015. In the Territorial development Unit, she focuses on the knowledge support to urban policies and she has been co-editing and co-authoring “the Future of Cities” report and the “European Handbook for SDGs Voluntary Local Reviews”. At the JRC, she has also been working for the Global Human Settlement Layer project contributing to the Human Planet 2016 and 2017 Atlases. In the past, she has been collaborating with the Italian National Planning Institute (INU) on several activities related to the Sustainable Development Goals and public space. She co-led the Habitat III Policy Unit 6 on Urban Spatial Strategies: Land Market and Segregation. She has been visitor scholar at the Columbia University in New York City. She holds a PhD in Regional and Urban Planning from Sapienza University of Rome, and a Master cum lauda in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Roma Tre.

Application - Terms and Conditions

Selection of participants

ERSA will select participants aiming for a student body of high academic quality as well as a balanced representation of background. The maximum number of participants accepted is 30.

Who should apply?

The ERSA - JRC Winter School targets PhD and Postdoc students and junior researchers with less than 5 years of research experience. 

How to apply

Step 1
Applicants are requested to sign in or create their online account on the Winter School Application Portal.

Applications must be submitted by 15 November 25 November 2020 (midnight CET) and include (in PDF format):

  • A one-page CV of the applicant
  • A one-page summary of the research project students’ aim at presenting during the Winter School 
  • A one-page statement of intent

Step 2
First fill in your contact details to create your account on the Winter School Platform and follow the instructions to submit your application. You can save your application as a draft before submitting it.

Step 3
After notification of acceptance and receipt of registration payments, the participants will be asked to upload an updated version of their intended presentation during the Winter school.


After notification of acceptance, the accepted applicants must register and pay the participation through the registration link sent by mail.

The registration will start on November 30, 2020. A registration link will be sent to all successful applicants. 

The Fee

Participation fee: 120 €

A certificate of participation will be delivered at the end of the Winter School.

Additional benefits:

  • Participants in the Winter School will be offered a reduced fee for the upcoming 2021 ERSA Congress in Bolzano. 
  • At Bolzano, the opportunity will be offered to all participants to meet in person, continue the debate in a Special Session of this year's Class and also benefit from the rich programme of our International Congress. We encourage Winter School participants to submit a paper on the theme of the Winter School.


The 3rd ERSA winter school will be held virtually and co-organised by ERSA and the Joint Research Center of the European Commission (Seville).

Local Organising Committee

  • Mafini Dosso, JRC Seville
  • Fatime Barbara Hegyi, JRC Seville
  • Carlo Gianelle, JRC Seville
  • Manuel Palazuelos Martínez, JRC Seville

Scientific Committee

  • Alessandro Rainoldi, JRC Seville
  • André Torre, University Paris-Saclay, INRAE-Agroparistech
  • Fernando Rubiera Morollón, Universidad de Oviedo (spanish section of ERSA)
  • Mafini Dosso, JRC Seville
  • Carlo Gianelle, JRC Seville
  • Manuel Palazuelos Martínez, JRC Seville
  • Fatime Barbara Hegyi, JRC Seville

About Joint Research Centre in Seville

The JRC site in Seville provides socio-economic and techno-economic support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of EU policies.

Established in 1994 with a small group of researchers, today it is the second largest site of the JRC. Economists, engineers, computer and social scientists are the most frequent profiles among the staff of 400 people specialised in the following areas:

  • Circular economy and industrial leadership
  • Digital economy
  • Economics of agriculture
  • Economics of climate change, energy and transport
  • Fiscal policy analysis
  • Human capital and employment
  • Territorial development
Core activities and competences include:
  • Conducting policy studies: policy option analysis,
  • Developing and running economic models to make projections, perform scenario analysis and policy impact assessments,
  • Running techno-economic bureaux to manage information exchange and consensus building on highly complex techno-economic issues. (EIPPC Bureau, Product Bureau),
  • Providing policy intelligence platforms. Smart Specialisation Platform,
  • Producing skills and competence frameworks covered by Europe 2020 and the New Skills Agenda (Such as DigComp, EntreComp, DigCompEdu, DigCompOrg).


Contact Us

Contact persons: 

Local Organising Committee: Mafini Dosso Fatime Barbara Hegyi
ERSA Office, Tel: + 32 10 47 43 62