RSA Irish Branch Annual Conference
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Regional Studies Association Irish Branch Annual Conference
in conjunction with The Southern Regional Assembly


9am to 5pm Friday 4 September 2015, University College Cork

Keynote Speakers:
Professor David Bailey, Aston Business School
Ben Gardiner, Cambridge Econometrics.
(see below for bio)
Participation by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.

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 In 2008 the allocations for the Gateway Innovation Fund were withdrawn.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 fund to support regional initiatives. One month later 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.

Keynote Speakers
Professor David Bailey, Aston Business School, Aston University.
David Bailey is an influential business expert on economic restructuring and industrial policy. He has acted as a Special Advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee on the West Midlands region and worked on a project for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on developing a framework to assist Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in responding to economic shocks and restructuring. As an author and regular media commentator he has provided articles and commentary on key economic and regional policy issues including the closure and eventual reopening of the MG Rover car plant in Birmingham, UK. More recently David has undertaken European funded research on using foreign investment to upgrade clusters and on industrial and regional policy. In 2014 he conducted research on Irish industrial policy, outlining a more holistic approach, targeting both foreign direct investment and indigenous enterprise. 

Ben Gardiner, Director of Cambridge Econometrics.
Ben Gardiner is a Director of Cambridge Econometrics, and has been working in economic consultancy for over 20 years. His specialisms include econometric modelling and forecasting, with a particular interest in regional competitiveness. He is an author of the recent “Spatially Rebalancing the UK Economy: The Need for a New Policy Model” report published as a special supplemental to Regional Studies. Among other things, he worked on labour and migration side of the model, writing the model manual and presenting at various European conferences on the model’s features and how this related to Cohesion Policy. He is also generally responsible for many European projects, including Cambridge Econometrics’ participation in a competitiveness framework contract for DG Enterprise and also undertaking skills modelling for CEDEFOP.

Other Confirmed Speakers
Stephen Blair, SRA 

Michael Collins, NERI
Kevin Mulligan, University of Limerick
William O'Gorman, Waterford Institute of Technology
Helen McHenry, WDC
Pat Daly, Limerick City and County Council
Eoin O'Leary, University College Cork
Tom Hayes, Enterprise Ireland
Deiric O'Broin, DIT
Andrew Vogelaar, IDA
Chris Van Egeraat, NUIM
Edgar Morgenroth, ESRI
Justin Doran, UCC

It is possible to register for the conference online at
Please note that there is a €70 fee for attending the conference and this 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.
Copyright © 2015 RSA - Irish Branch, All rights reserved.

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