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Submissions are invited for seminar or conference events to be held during the 12 months following the closing date for applications (30th April, 2011)

Further Particulars


Applicants should provide a document (hereafter the proposal) that is no more than 12 sides of A4 (and typed in no less than 12 font) which sets out the aims, purpose, audience and value-added of their proposed seminar or conference.

The proposal should identify the lead academic running the event. The proposal should be clearly international in breadth and should be in-scope in relation to the interests of the Urban Studies journal academic community.

The proposal should include a literature review that links the proposal theme to current research debates of interest and should be referenced and should identify key speakers and their significance to the topic. The likely audience, the format of the event and the role of other potential partners to the event should be clearly set out. 

The proposal should also detail concrete and achievable publication plans that arise directly from the event. A budget should be included along with an official letter of support from the host institution. The application should also include the contact details of two academic referees who can provide an independent view of the proposal.  We expect the application to demonstrate the capacity of the host applicant to run the event successfully and to assume all remaining risks. We require the event to take place within 12-18 months of approval.

Event Type

Applicants must explain the precise nature of the event they will organise – we anticipate that this can encompass research seminars, colloquia, roundtables and conferences. If the event does not take one of these forms, we require the applicant to explain fully exactly what will transpire and why the specific alternative model is being chosen. We also do not restrict the proposal to one event only – multiple events will need to be fully justified in terms of proposal purpose and must all take place within 12 months of approval and must stay within the overall budget of £20,000. The short post-event report should also be completed within this timescale.


Adjudication of proposals will be carried out by a team of four (two Trustees of the Foundation and two managing editors of the journal, one of whom will be the editor in chief who will chair the process). Selection will be based on multiple criteria:

  • cost/value for money;
  • academic quality of the proposal;
  • meeting the proposal conditions;
  • contribution to key contemporary areas of urban studies scholarship;
  • potential for publication; and
  • confidence in deliverability of the event.

We will announce the result of the competition within four weeks of the closing date and will provide a short note of explanation to those who were unsuccessful.

What will a good proposal look like?

Clearly, it will meet the criteria set out in this document but should do more to make it an exciting contribution to urban research. The aim is to encourage research that is pioneering in its approach to broader urban agendas. The proposal should map out in no more than 2 or 3 sides what its intellectual or academic ‘value-added’ consists of and how the proposed speakers and themes contribute to the event’s well-specified academic objectives. In other words:

  • how does the proposal speak to contemporary academic developments in urban studies;
  • how well does it fit with the journal’s areas of inquiry;
  • how credible is it in terms of its ability to meet its own objectives stated in the proposal;
  • how innovative and original is the proposal in terms of the current state of the art of the relevant literature; and
  • to what extent can the proposal if realised make a contribution at an international academic scale (e.g. publication in top international journals)?

The international dimension of the event can take many forms – comparative analysis; supranational investigation (e.g. globalisation); it may involve a range of international speakers, etc. We welcome proposals from all corners of the world but expect the conference to deliver English language academic outputs and that the initial proposal also should be in the English-language.


We expect to support reasonable travel and subsistence expenses, set up and running costs of events (room hire, secretarial support, consumables, a conference dinner and other valid conference seminar expenses, plus support for post-publication administration). We would seek to minimise the use of speaker fees and excessive institutional overhead recovery (i.e. the latter should be no more than 10% of the total budget).

We recognise that support for participants/speakers in the global south, Central and Eastern Europe and for graduate students may be significant – and would consider these favourably. Equally we would expect any event to charge (at most) only minimal or nominal fees for attendees, given the level of support coming from the Foundation. The event should not be regarded as a money making enterprise for your establishment. We would also welcome co-funding and sponsorship of events (but this needs to be confirmed in writing and not just an assertion of support).

We reserve the right to reject or query elements of budgets contained in applications. Payment would be in two stages – 67% on approval and the balance after the submission of a report on the successful completion of the event and evidenced publication plans for the academic output from the event. The proposal’s budget (i.e. the amount being sought from the Urban Studies Foundation) must not exceed £20,000 (and that would be inclusive of all local taxes and other hidden costs).


The crystallisation of the event through publication is critical to the successful proposal, since the Foundation’s mission is to encourage urban research. There must be a credible, timely and well thought through post event publication strategy. We cannot require proposers to suggest a future special issue in Urban Studies but we would be receptive to any such proposal or indeed alternative plans in the form of books, special issues in peer-reviewed journals or other meaningful and substantial academic dissemination plans. We expect this to be fully explored and with a feasible plan of action to be included in the proposal. We also expect this to be clarified and a concrete plan of action and timetable to publication to be included in the post-event report which triggers final payment.

Template for the Application

We expect the (maximum 12 pages) application to have the following elements:

1. Proposer and co-applicants contact details and host institution details with one single point of contact for the application.

2. Two independent referees should also be identified who can comment on the quality of the proposal.

3. A one page summary of the proposal - containing objectives, nature of the event, what it will cost, why it contributes to urban research, why the Foundation’s funds add value, why it is good value for money and a clear summary of the post event publication strategy.

4. The main body of the proposal - containing aims and objectives, brief review of the topic area and how the proposal contributes to the theme, the nature of the event planned, outline of proposed targeted speakers and audience, publication strategy, timeline for critical events, budget summary discussion, and evidence that the proposal team can and will deliver on its proposal.

5. A budget statement for costs being sought from the Foundation (and other costs if appropriate to explain the full budget of the proposal if funds being sought are only to meet part of the overall cost). This should be authorised by the host institution.

6. A letter of support from host institution confirming the capacity to deliver the event, that the budget is appropriate and their confidence in the proposer to lead the event.

Kenneth Gibb

Editor-in-chief, Urban Studies

February 2011

For further information please contact Kenneth Gibb ( at the Urban Studies journal.

Urban Studies Foundation and Urban Studies Journal Seminar Series Competition

inscription dates
in 30/04/2011

Vinicius Netto
Rio de Janeiro Brazil


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