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October 11, 2014 No tags

ESR 1 : Aura Moldovan  (Host: UBB)

Aura finished her Bachelor Studies in Sociology at the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and then obtained a Master’s Degree from the Technical University in Darmstadt, Germany, having specialized in urban and spatial sociology. During her entire academic studies, she has striven for interdisciplinarity and has taken classes also at the Departments for Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geography. She has also participated as a student and research assistant in several projects coordinated by professors, such as the sociological analysis for the Urban Development Plan for Cluj-Napoca and Gherla. One of her most rewarding experiences was working on the socio-demographic analysis for the Mozaic project, where an interdisciplinary and international group concerned with nature conservation and rural development analysed the way in which agricultural practices influence a specific ecosystem in Romania, home to a unique variety of butterflies.

Project:  Socio-Spatial Polarization – Driving Force and Outcome of Territorial Mobility in Post-Socialist Romania.



“On a professional level, the RegPol2 project helped me gain a variety of experiences from different fields, places and people, bringing me in dialog with a wider public outside of academia. But it was the very dedicated network of people and the friendships built along the way that I will remember most fondly”.


ESR 2 : Stefan Telle (Host: STU)


Stefan received a double degree (M.A. / M.Sc.) in Global Studies from the universities of Leipzig (Germany) and Roskilde (Denmark). His main research interest is the cultural political economy of European integration. Particularly, he is interested in the production of space through changing modes of de- and re-regulation. Stefan is researching “Fuzziness and softness in spatial patterns of regional policies” (ESR 2) at the Technical University of Slovakia in Bratislava.

Project: Soft Spaces in EU Cohesion Policy. Opportunities and Challenges in the Coordination of Heterogeneous Interests.



“In my opinion, one of the core achievements of the RegPol2 ITN was the creation of an engaging environment, which supported a plurality of research approaches on an issue of growing political importance within the EU and beyond. I am hopeful that the project’s results will proof useful to policy-makers in designing effective strategies to enhance economic, social, and territorial cohesion throughout the EU”.


ESR 3 : Sebastian Schulz (Host: UT)


Before joining RegPol², Sebastian studied Human Geography, Public Law and Sociology at the University of Bonn, Germany and at University College Cork, Ireland. In his diploma thesis, he examined the impact of EU Regional Policy on spatial development in the Republic of Ireland, with the focus on governance and the interplay of European and national regional policy. In the ESR 3 project, Sebastian studies how regional innovation policies in Estonia, East Germany and the Slovak Republic are conceptualised and implemented and how this is affecting processes of regional polarisation.

Project: European and national regional and innovation policies reproducing peripheries?



“The research conducted in RegPol2 provides a better understanding of the many ways and facets in which regional polarisation in Central and Eastern Europe takes place. Based on this, it is able to make a valuable contribution to formulating effective policy responses.”


ESR 4: Zsuzsanna Pósfai (Host: CERSHAS)


Zsuzsanna holds an MA in Urban and Regional Policy from Sciences Po Paris (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris) and a BA in International Relations from the Budapest Corvinus University. During her studies in Paris, she focused especially on issues of housing policy, first as a member of a collective research project conducted for an alliance of social housing organisations, and later working for a consultancy office specialized in housing policy and urban regeneration projects.

After her studies, she worked at the Planning Department of the Municipality of the City of Budapest, where she was principally responsible for tasks related to long-term strategic urban planning, including territorial planning for the 2014-2020 European Union budgetary period. She is also engaged in a “critical urban studies research group” comprised of young Hungarian urban practitioners and researchers, and in an activist group struggling for housing rights.

Project: Understanding the role of economic actors in (re)producing uneven development on the Hungarian housing market.



“Involvement in the RegPol2 research project was an exceptional opportunity for me to explore research questions that have been important to me for years”. 


ESR 5: Bianka Plüschke-Altof (Host: GEO)


Bianka has studied Social Sciences, Ethnology and History at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Warsaw. During her studies, she worked as research and teaching assistant at the Chair for Comparative Political Sciences and Political Systems of Eastern Europe as well as production assistant to an intercultural media project. After her graduation in 2013, she was employed as E-Learning and Career Services coordinator for the German-Turkish Masters Program in Social Sciences. Her research focuses on regional identity, minority politics and socio-spatial peripheralisation dynamics in Eastern Europe.

Project: Images of the Periphery Impeding Rural Development? Discursive Peripheralization of Rural Spaces in Post-Socialist Estonia



“For me the RegPol project above all meant a great opportunity for exchange – experiences, ideas, perspectives – with researchers from different countries and backgrounds, who did not only turn out to be great colleagues, but who also became friends in the course of the last three years”.


ESR 6: Martiene Grootens (Host: UT)


Martiene obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in International Development Studies at the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands, with a main specialisation in rural sociology and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Tartu, Estonia. The rural and peripheral regions of this world and especially their inhabitants have always interested her and in this project Martiene will be researching the role of local public leaders in peripheral regions of Estonia and the Netherlands.

Project: Public leaders shaping peripheral regions? A comparative case study focusing on the role of public leaders in peripheralising regions of Estonia and the Netherlands.



“Being part of the RegPol² project helped me develop a critical understanding of socio-spatial developments throughout Europe. Furthermore it has given me the unique opportunity to meet and learn from interesting people from very diverse disciplinary backgrounds”.


ESR 7: Bradley Loewen (Host: MEPCO)


Bradley has worked in the academic and non-profit sectors since 2007. His past work at the University of British Columbia and University of Toronto has spanned areas such as: indicators for sustainable urban development; evaluation and monitoring; health and socioeconomic status; and health policy. He has a Bachelor of Commerce in Real Estate Economics from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and a Master of Science in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design from KTH – Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. As a fellow of the RegPol² project, his research will be focused on regional policy institutions in the Czech Republic, Estonia and Hungary.

Project: Towards territorial cohesion? Path dependence and path innovation of regional policy in Central and Eastern Europe.



“The project’s multi-national structure including secondments to other countries were invaluable in building a deeper understanding of this complex region.”
“I valued the many opportunities that were presented within this project to publish and to present my research.”


ESR 8: Alexandru Brad (Host: IfL)


Alex trained as a spatial planner at The University of Sheffield in England and has a research background in interpretive policy analysis applied to local governance. His most recent project was concerned with dilemmas of enforcement practices in the case of informal housing in London. His previous roles included two internships in Islington Borough Council (London) and a volunteering role in supporting the planning work of Campaign to Protect Rural England – South Yorkshire and Peak District (Sheffield). 

Project: Similar Ideas, Contrasting Practices: Regional Development in Central and Eastern Europe.



“This project has taught me a lot about the sheer complexity of regional development. And thanks to the very dedicated people in this network, I also learned the do-s and don’t-s of being a researcher. But I still don’t like karaoke”.


ESR 9: Martin Spacek (Host: STU)


Martin is a PhD student at the University of Economics, Prague. His previous research activities referred to the issues of funding of non-governmental organizations and regional development in the Czech Republic. He has also participated in several projects concerned with impact evaluations of Czech public expenditure programmes funded from EU Structural Funds.

Project: Multilevel governance for balanced development between core and peripheral spaces.


Martin Spacek

“Project served as an international platform where we could developed our research, language and personal skills via different meeting, schools, training activities and many opportunities to present and share our research”.


ESR 10: Ilgvars Jansons (Host: CERSHAS)


Ilgvars is an urbanist, geographer and explorer, experienced and interested in multicultural, changing and uncertain environment and conditions. His research activities are related to dynamics in post-socialist space (until now mainly Central and Eastern Europe), interaction in space, and social production of space.

Project: Everyday practices of adaptation and resistance to peripheralisation at household scale.



“I believe that the multi-disciplinarity represented in the project will contribute to understanding of such a complex issue as regional polarization”.


ESR 11: Melinda Mihály (Host: SI)


Melinda, graduate of Corvinus University of Budapest, MSc Regional and Environmental Economics, participated in student research connected to one of the most marginalised regions of Hungary (Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg), and through a qualitative inquiry (conducting semi-structured interviews) has attempted to understand the innovative practices for rural development. Her main interests are social enterprises, rural development, environmental conflicts, community development, and human ecology. She is interested in rural development with a focus on developing local SMEs. Furthermore, she participated in the Climate-KIC Winter Journey in 2012, was a member of ECTP-CEU Young Planners Working Group of 2014, and is recently a volunteer journalist at Recity online magazine – rural life column.

Project: Counteracting peripheralization through local development? – The challenges and opportunities of social and solidarity economy initiatives in Hungary and Eastern Germany



“I am glad for having the opportunity in participating in the ITN RegPol² project. Next to receiving a stable financial support that enabled me to concentrate fully on my research, I could significantly develop my German skills and furthermore I have received valuable feedbacks on my research, from my official supervisor and other senior researchers in the project”.


ESR 12: Martin Graffenberger (Host: IfL)


Martin holds a combined Magister Artium (M.A.) Degree in Economic Geography, Geography and Economics from the RWTH Aachen University (Germany) and a Postgraduate Certificate of Technology Management from the Open University (UK). After graduating from the RWTH Aachen University in 2009, Martin worked as a Research Associate at the Fraunhofer Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (MOEZ) in Leipzig (2009-2010) and the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich (2013-2014). Additionally, Martin has working experience within the commercial sector.

Project: Relational perspectives on innovation activities of firms from peripheral regions.


Martin Graffenberger

“The Reg-Pol2 Project provided a great opportunity and platform to progress as a researcher. It allowed me to become acquainted with new contexts and topics and to build a network with colleagues from different disciplines – connected by our research interests”.


ESR 13: Sorin Cebotari (Host: UBB)


Sorin holds an MA in Political Science from Central European University in Budapest. During his MA studies, he was interested in researching the role of networks in identity construction. After graduating in 2013 from CEU, he worked at Schneider Electric as an Energy Sourcing Analyst, where he worked on Eastern European gas and electricity markets, negotiating contracts and producing market reports.

Project: The role of renewable energy in the development of peripheral areas in North-West Romania.



“I would say about the project that it was a nice opportunity to learn, research, interact and live within a nice group of colleagues and friends”.


ER 1: Péter Balogh (Host: CERSHAS)


Péter earned his PhD at Stockholm University in the field of Political Geography – Border Studies. During this time, he was based partly at the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University, and partly at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University. His interests include issues related to borders, identities, nationalism, regionalism, and peripherality.

Project: The formation, reproduction and persistence of spatial social and economic polarisation.



“If you want to help then invest more into people than into concrete, so they can build on their own”.


ER 2: Cyril Blondel (Host: UT)

Cyril Blondel

Cyril was an experienced researcher at the University of Tartu (Sept. 2014-June 2015), working on political and discursive dimensions of socio-spatial polarisation in Europe. Currently, he is also completing his PhD at the University of Tours on cross-border cooperation and interethnic reconciliation between Serbia and Croatia during the EU pre-accession process. Previously, he obtained a M.Phil. and a M.Prof. in Urban & Regional Planning at the University of Tours, France, and a MA in Politics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His main research interests are connected to the comprehension of peripheralisation, exclusion/inclusion, and bordering in Europe.

Project: Theoretical foundations for transnational comparative research on governance of core-periphery relations.




ER 3: Alena Pfoser (Host: IfL)

Alena Pfoser

Alena studied sociology and Russian and Eurasian studies in Vienna and St. Petersburg, and holds a PhD in Social Sciences from Loughborough University, UK. Her research focuses on borders and border regions, social memory, and peripheralisation processes, using ethnography and narrative research. Some results of her research have been published or are forthcoming in Nationalities Papers, Manchester University Press and Journal for Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Project: Theoretical and conceptual thoughts around the ways of adaptation, formation of strategies and potentials for new developments.




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  • Lead Partner: Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography

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