Launching the Re-Place international Advisory Board

Last 26 September 2023, IGOT UL organized the first Re-Place advisory board meeting. The advisory board includes three international experts, and is a crucial part of the management structure of the Re-Place project (together with the Project coordinator, the Project Office, and the Work Package Leaders). The Advisory Board is engaged during key moments to offer inputs and guidance on the conceptual and methodological aspects of the project, as well as in the exploitation of results and in translating these into meaningful and transformative policy recommendations.

This first online encounter was the occasion for every partner to introduce its institution, and its members: advisory board members Thilo Lang, Maria Grazia Montella and Ricard Morén Alegret (see their biography below) met with Mario Vale, Jennifer McGarrigle, Alina Esteves and Amandine Desille (IGOT UL), Dumitru Sandu, Monica Serban, Madalina Manoila, Alin Croitoru (ICCV), Barbara Staniscia (UNIROMA1), Daniel Goler, Erik Sacha (UNI BA), Zaiga Krisjane (LU), Sofia Santos (UL), and Cristobal Mendoza (ULPGC).

After this first round of presentations, Project Coordinator Jennifer McGarrigle (IGOT UL) presented the fundamentals of the Re-Place project. One of the first contributions of the project is the development of a Local Human Development Index (LHDI), for which Dumitru Sandu and Monica Serban (ICCV) shared the preliminary results and discussion (see image).

Advisory board members were invited to share their thoughts and comments. Their interests lied in the relevance of the UK-centred concept of “left-behindness” for a wider range of European contexts; the relationship between the LHDI and the concept of “left-behindness”; the parallel drawn between “left-behindness” and shrinking areas or de-industrialisation processes; the existing narratives of “left-behindness”; and the variegated effects of “left-behindness” on individuals and groups. These different questions will be effectively addressed in the project, with innovative research methods and a shareable policy toolbox.  

They also pushed the consortium to streamline gender issues, and operationalize it within the research activities of the project. This too is one task identified by the project.

Questions of mobility and mobility infrastructures were also raised, a central issue in our opinion as a range of mobilities and their impact on non-metropolitan areas will be explored through a survey, interviews and fieldwork observations.

In general, this launched a fruitful conversation where similar concerns were shared across the consortium members and the advisory board, pointing to great synergies for the years to come!

The next time we meet will be at our annual conference in Riga, in the spring of 2024.

Presentation of the LHDI by Dumitru Sandu and Monica Serban (ICCV).

Dr Maria Grazia Montella is an urban anthropologist and PhD in Urban Planning at Sapienza University of Rome with a thesis on the impact of urban planning policies on the integration of migrants in Rome and Amsterdam. She won a Marie Curie ITN Fellowship at the University of Poitiers, Laboratoire Migrinter in 2015-2017 and she was member of the IMISCOE PhD group. She has worked for several migrant organizations in Brussels, writing and managing European funded projects on migrant socio-economic, political and spatial inclusion (MAX, RIDE, MILE). She has also worked at the Council of European Municipalities and Regions as project manager of IncluCities and policy coordinator of the CEMR Expert Group on Migration and Integration. She is currently working as senior consultant policy and programmes on migration at ICF, coordinating the publication strand of the European Migration Network platform. She recently co-funded an independent social consultancy based in Brussels, INTEGRIM Lab. Link:

Professor Dr Thilo Lang is co-director of Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL), Head of the Department of “Regional Geographies of Europe”, coordinator of the research group “Multiple Geographies of Regional and Local Development” and Professor of Economic Geography at Leipzig University. He is an expert in peripheralisation as a multi-level process, innovation outside of conurbations, regional change, transnational comparative urban and regional studies, shrinking cities, regeneration and left behind areas – on which he has published widely. He has worked on numerous international and national projects including the following ongoing international projects: CORAL – Exploring the impacts of collaborative workspaces in rural and peripheral areas in the EU (Horizon 2020); and Beyond Left-Behind Places (German Research Foundation, ORA-Programme). Link:

Professor Ricard Morén Alegret is Doctor of Philosophy, PhD (University of Warwick, 1999) and Master in Human Geography (UAB). He is currently Professor and Researcher at the Department of Geography at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, as well as Associate Researcher at ICTA-UAB. Since 2017, he coordinates the line of research on migrations of the Econecol Consolidated and Funded Research Group, based in the Department of Geography and the ICTA-UAB. He has been Coordinator of the Research Group on Migrations (GRM, Research Group Consolidated and Financed by the SGR Program 2009-2014, AGAUR, Generalitat de Catalunya), as well as coordinator of the line of research on migrations of the Interfase group (SGR 2014-2016, AGAUR), both based in the Department of Geography UAB. Dr Ricard Morén-Alegret is interested in and how human migration is related to various social, economic and environmental challenges at the local, regional, national, international and inter-continental scale with specific expertise in migration to rural and semi-rural regions. He has worked on numerous international projects including his current work on Sustainable Rural Development and International Immigration in the Pyrenees (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions). Link: