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Project information

Project team

Thilo Lang, Martin Graffenberger, Alexandru Brad, Sebastian Lentz, Franziska Görmar (project management)


Geomedia LLC, Estonia; Social Impact, Germany; MEPCO, Czech Republic; Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies (Great Plain Research Institute), Hungary; Slovak University of Technology; Babes-Bolyai University, Romania; University of Tartu, Estonia

Duration of project

01/2014 — 12/2017

Funded by

European Union – FP7, Marie Curie People Programme, Initial Training Networks (ITN)

Further information

Thilo Lang
Tel.: +49 341 600 55-159

Franziska Görmar
Tel.: +49 341 600 55-190

Socio-economic and Political Responses to Regional Polarisation in Central and Eastern Europe – RegPol²

Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN)

ITN RegPol² centres on new patterns of regional disparities between metropolised core regions and the remaining parts of Central and Eastern European (CCE) countries. Such spatial patterns have become a striking feature of the current settlement system of these countries and have lately fuelled concerns about further polarisation and the peripheralisation of non-metropolitan regions. Patterns of regional polarisation, however, do not remain restricted to CEE, but can be found throughout the European Union, albeit at different degrees. RegPol² focussed the dominant dicourses of european, national and regional policies as well as intersections of Core-Periphery-Relations in regional, national, european and global contexts.

The aim of the ITN was the analysis and evaluation of processes of peripheralisation and polarisation in CCE. In the framework of RegPol² 16 young researchers were trained for careers in academia, public administration, NGOs and the private sector.

Research training was organised in 3 work packages which comprise individual, albeit strongly interconnected research projects. Two of them were located at the IfL:

  • Framing the governance of core-periphery relations in Germany and Romania (read more)
  • The role of business innovation in the development of “peripheral” and “backward” regions in East Germany and peripheral Estonia (read more)

Each project included intersectoral secondments providing trainees with occupational skills while at the same time strengthening the interface between academia and the private sector. Local trainings were supplemented by network-wide events (Summer/winter schools, scientific and methodological workshops, transnational research stays) enabling strong collaboration between the partners.

The network drew on expertise from academia and private sector specialists from seven different countries and eight scientific disciplines used to working in interdisciplinary and multinational contexts. Next to new training capacities at European level and an increased employability of ITN fellows, the project aimed at improving regional policy instruments by raising capacities of politicians, public and private sector policy makers related to issues of regional polarisation.


Graffenberger, Martin (2020): Exploring innovation activities of firms from peripheral regions in Estonia and Germany. A relational perspective. Dissertation. Leipzig. 229 Seiten.

Reidolf, Merli / Graffenberger, Martin (2019): How local resources shape innovation and path development in rural regions. Insights from rural Estonia. In: Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation (JEMI), 15 (3), 131–162

Görmar, Franziska, Thilo Lang (2019): Acting Peripheries: an introduction. ACME – An International Journal for Critical Geographies 18 (2), 486-495

Graffenberger, Martin, Lukas Vonnahme (2019): Questioning the ‘Periphery Label’ in Economic Geography. Entrepreneurial Action and Innovation in South Estonia. ACME Critical Journal for Geography 18 (2), 529-550

Administrative Culture 2018, 18/2 (Special Issue):
Territoriality and Governance in the Globalizing European Eastern Peripheries
Therein: Alexandru Brad: When Romania met the Cohesion Policy

European Spatial Research and Policy 2017, 24/2 (Special Issue):
The (Re-)Production of Peripherality in Central and Eastern Europe

Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 2015, 64/3:
6 articles from RegPol² researchers

For further information, please visit the central project website