The European Regional Science Association (ERSA) is the supranational grouping of national regional science associations across Europe.

The main functions of ERSA, apart from promoting the field of regional science, are to organize an Annual European Congress, an Annual Summer School, the EPAINOS prize for young scientists and the ERSA European Prize in Regional Science to recognize outstanding regional scientists.

ERSA members are academics, policy professionals and researchers interested in spatial economics and planning, regional and local development and related issues. They are drawn largely from the disciplines of economics, geography and planning. There are presently 19 active associations (commonly named ’sections’), some, such as the German or French speaking sections, organized on linguistic groupings and covering more than one country. Constituent associations range in size from more than 700 members to 27. The largest sections have their own national professional organizers. In total, ERSA has some 3500 members in its constituent associations.

ERSA events have been growing in size and professionalism over the past 10 years. Attendance at Congresses has grown consistently over time, and more than 1000 delegates participated in the last three Congresses. The Summer Schools have been supported by the European Commission’s Marie Curie Program and the European Investment Bank Institute Program.

Mission and objectives

  • Enhancing regional science across Europe
  • Stimulating research and the implementation of solutions
  • Supporting young scientists with added-value programmes
  • Providing members with state-of-the-art knowledge
  • Fostering valuable exchanges at an international level
  • Moving forward professional research developments through projects

ERSA legal documents

ERSA is a legal entity according to the Belgian law.


The below specified by-laws follow from Article VI of the Constitution of the European Regional Science Association which were accepted at the ERSA Council meeting in Zurich August 1996.

The updated by-laws were accepted at the ERSA Council meeting in Palermo 30th August 2013 and are effective 1 September 2013.

Constitution of the European Regional Science Association

Article I – Name and Basic Structure

The European Regional Science Association (ERSA) consists of the members of the various European sections, which are represented by the European Regional Science Association Council (ERSAC, Art. III). Individual membership to the ERSA is possible for persons living in regions not covered by any section. The Council is represented by the President of the ERSA (Art. IV) and carries out its functions with the assistance of the European Organizing Committee (EOC, Art. V). The ERSA is one of the supra-national bodies making up the Regional Science Association International (RSAI, hereafter the ASSOCIATION).

Article II – Objectives and Scope

The Association has as its goal the advancement of regional science and related spatial areal studies. Within this international association, the ERSA and its council shall operate as an objective scientific body without political, religious, social, financial or national bias. Its main objectives are to foster exchange of ideas at the European level and to promote studies focusing on space, utilizing innovative tools, methods and theoretical frameworks specifically designed for regional analysis, as well as concepts, procedures and analytical techniques of the various social and other sciences. The ERSA shall support these objectives by promoting acquaintance and discussion amongst members of the Association and with scholars in related fields, by stimulating research, by encouraging the publication of scholarly studies, by holding an annual congress and by performing other services to aid the advancement of the Association and the field of regional science.

Article III – Membership of the European Regional Science Association Council (ERSAC)

The European Regional Science Association Council (ERSAC) consists of the representatives of the European Sections who must each be member of their respective Section as well as up to three additional members elected by the council (ERSAC). The official appointment by their section must be communicated to the Secretary of the ERSA in written form. Formation and acceptance of new sections in the ERSA has to be approved by two thirds of total Council members. In cases of infractions against the principal objectives of the ERSA, the Council may decide by two thirds of its members to suspend the membership of a section. Any proposal to suspend membership must be notified to the section concerned at least one year in advance. The Council shall meet at least once a year, usually during the annual Congress. If demanded by at least one third of the members the President of the ERSA has to convene a Council meeting within the following two months. Council meetings are chaired by the President of the ERSA unless one third of present members demand an other chairperson. The quorum for meetings is one third of Council members; the representation of sections must be stated by the President at the beginning of the meeting. Decisions in the Council are taken by the majority of present members. The Council may establish commissions or other working groups which may be invited to meetings as guests without right to vote. EOC members have to be invited to the council meetings. They have the right to speak and to propose, but not the right to vote.

Article IV – Officers of the ERSA

The President represents the European Regional Science Association and is responsible for its business. Annually, usually at the European Congress, the President will give an account to the Council about the activities of the Committee and about the financial situation of the ERSA. The accounts have to be approved by the Council. The President is elected by the European Regional Science Association Council (ERSAC). The Vice-President, the Secretary and the Treasurer can be proposed by any member of the ERSA and are elected by the Council. The Vice-President substitutes for the post of President when required. The Secretary assists the president to maintain the contacts between Sections, Council and Committee as well as the contacts between the ERSA and other international regional science associations. The Treasurer is responsible for the finance of the ERSAC. Each officer is elected for a period of five years; election for only one subsequent period of office is possible. The Council has the right to remove an officer.

Article V – European Organizing Committee (EOC)

The European Organizing Committee (EOC) assist the President and the Council in managing the affairs of the ERSA. The chairperson of the EOC is the President. Among others, the EOC is responsible for the organization of the annual European Congress of the ERSA as well for the dissemination of information about regional science activities (like the European Newsletters) and other publication activities strengthening the image of ERSA. The Committee (EOC) is free to allot other specific tasks to its members. The members of the EOC are elected by the Council (ERSAC) from among the members of the ERSA. The number of EOC members is restricted by the Council. Membership of the EOC will last for a period of up to five years; only one subsequent period of membership is possible. In severe cases of infractions against the principal objectives of the ERSA, the Council (ERSAC) may decide to terminate membership.

Article VI – By-Laws

The rules for the elections of the President, the other officers, the members of the EOC and of the additional ERSAC members as well the rules for the meetings of the ERSAC and the EOC as well their respective working rules have to be specified in by-laws. Amendments to the by-laws may be proposed by any member of European Regional Science Association Council and shall be adopted upon affirmative vote of the majority of that Council.

Article VII – Amendments to the Constitution

Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed by any member of European Regional Science Association Council and shall be adopted upon affirmative vote of a two-thirds majority of the total Council members.

ERSA history

50 years of ERSA, a presentation of ERSA’s 50th anniversary, by Peter Batey in Jönköping (Sweden).