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Project information

Project team

Thilo Lang Franziska Görmar Yuliana Lazova Lucia Mrázová


University of Graz (Austria), Chemnitzer Wirtschaftsförderungs- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH

Duration of project

04/2022 – 04/2023

Funded by

Saxon State Ministry for Science, Culture and Tourism

Further information

Thilo Lang

Franziska Görmar

Yuliana Lazova

Regional SPHERES

Transformative governance processes through new cooperations of key actors from different spheres

Source: pixabay

Old industrial regions in Central and Eastern Europe are particularly affected by economic and social change and transformation processes. They face specific challenges with regard to their economic restructuring, regional identity and social cohesion. The industrial past has also created specific institutional settings and a particular regional culture, which, in some cases, should now be questioned. Governance rules have to be continuously scrutinized with regard to their compatibility. Key actors and their trusting cooperation play an important role here. Often, however, these actors are trapped within sectoral or geographical boundaries, which can have detrimental effects, especially in areas outside of agglomerations, where there is a smaller number of committed actors.

The SPHERES research project aims to provide a new perspective on structurally weak regions. In eight regions in Central and Eastern Europe, the project examines actors’ relationships and cooperation in selected fields of regional development. Furthermore, it initiates preliminary considerations on how these relationships can be shaped in a participatory and future-oriented manner. The focus is on cooperative relationships of key actors, factors promoting or hindering cooperation, and potential solutions for transformative governance arrangements. The concept of transformative governance refers to new forms of governance and distribution of responsibilities in a region undergoing a transition from an industrial to a post-industrial region. SPHERES is to create the content-related and formal prerequisites for a complex European project. In addition, the project will deepen international scientific cooperation with the long-term goal of joint collaborative research in the field of regional development.

Through SPHERES, the participating institutions can sharpen their profile by innovative, explorative work and deepen their contacts in suitable case study regions in Central Europe.


Mrázová, Lucia / Lazova, Yuliana / Görmar, Franziska / Harfst, Jörn / Giesch, Michael / Kern, Carmen (2023): Regional SPHERES - transformative governance processes through new forms of cooperation of key actors in different spheres. Research report. Leipzig [u. a.], Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde [u. a.]. 114 Seiten.