Hosting 2022 YA Conference

Hosting 2022 YA Conference image
  • - October 1, 2020

Association of European Schools of Planning Young Academics Network

16th Young Academics Conference 2022



As a part of its remit, each year the Association of European Schools of Planning Young Academics (AESOP YA) network invites AESOP member schools to host the annual YA conference. We are now opening the Call for Proposals for hosting the 16th YA conference, which will take place in March/April 2022.

As the Coordination Team, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for the funds made available by AESOP, supporting our efforts for geographical inclusion and diversity being reflected in all YA activities. These funds are intended to cover the entire conference budget for the host institution located in Eastern and South Eastern European countries. We therefore highly encourage proposals from young academics affiliated with AESOP member schools located in Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Turkey as potential hosts of the next round of the YA conference.

YA conferences have been very beneficial for the former host institutions and members of the local organizing committees since they provide the hosts with an exposure to a broader network and have long-term effects such as new institutional partnerships, better local and international connections, and more influence. Moreover, it is an extraordinary opportunity for the under- and postgraduate students enrolled at host institutions, as the conference will introduce an international and interdisciplinary platform of knowledge sharing and exchange to their everyday environment. Organizing and hosting a YA conference is therefore a great responsibility and an equally rewarding and fulfilling professional experience.

We are looking forward to receiving your proposals. Please read the following guidelines and send your proposals to until March 31, 2021. In case you have any questions/concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch with us through email.


A note on the pandemic

Current conditions dictated by the COVID19 pandemic are posing unprecedented challenges and urging us to think beyond the conventional means of organizing an event as such. We, as the Coordination Team of the YA, are optimistic that the climate by then will be less challenging for all of us! At the same time, we continue to closely monitor the situation and encourage applicants to consider adaptive and alternative (e.g. hybrid) models of conference hosting in their proposals.




This document provides the guidelines for AESOP YA from member schools interested in hosting the yearly YA conference.

YA conferences:

  • are held yearly during Spring – preferably during the month of March/April,
  • are open to students, early-career scholars and young practitioners and activists – all YA members can participate to a YA conference, whether they are affiliated to AESOP or not,
  • have a duration of 3 to 4 days,
  • include plenary keynote lectures (usually 4), parallel sessions (8/10 total sessions for 40/50 presentations) and a conference dinner,
  • host a best paper prize in collaboration with an international journal.

Please see the themes and programs of previous YA conferences in the YA website for further details.

All details that are not specified in this document should be agreed upon with the YA Coordination Team (CT) – e.g., decision to postpone the deadline, late submissions, special requests by participants.


Applying to host a YA conference

YA members from AESOP member schools can submit an application which will be evaluated by the CT. The CT is responsible for selecting and announcing the location of the following year’s YA conference during that year’s conference (for instance, in 2021 this will be end of March/beginning of April, in Tirana, Albania). However, interested applicants are warmly encouraged to contact the CT some weeks in advance to informally discuss their ideas. The application, one single Word or PDF document of around 3.000 words, should consist of:

  • a description of the conference theme and preliminary list of tracks,
  • a list of potential keynote speakers,
  • a tentative program – with number of presentations, theme of the workshop and public event,
  • a list of possible dates – the final date should be agreed upon with AESOP ExCo,
  • a preliminary budget with financial commitment from the hosting institution (see below for further details),
  • the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), that should be composed primarily of YA members from the hosting school, and a conference coordinator.

Applications will be evaluated taking in consideration the quality and originality of the proposals. Priority will be given to:

  • schools from the Eastern and South Eastern countries,
  • conference themes of wide inter-disciplinary interest,
  • conference themes capable of attracting participants from outside Europe and non-member schools.

A decision will be given to applicants during the annual YA conference.



Once the decision is taken and communicated, the LOC is responsible to draft the final conference description (including program) and informally contacting potential keynote speakers.

The usual timeline is as follows (small amendments can be agreed with the CT):

  • 15 September: Call for Abstracts (CfA) online,
  • 1 November: deadline for submission of abstracts,
  • 15 December: notification of acceptance and request of registration,
  • 31 January: deadline for full paper and registration submission,
  • March: conference.

Communication LOC & CT

The LOC has to communicate any change in the agreed program, conference theme, choice of keynotes to the CT. The CT will provide assistance, guidance and suggestions following the experience of the previous years and the relation with AESOP. The CT won’t interfere with the LOC organisation in terms of inviting keynote speakers or changing the on-going organisation, unless this would be requested by the LOC.

Specific key moments can be agreed to discuss particular points of the conference between LOC and CT (i.e. theme, keynotes, program, venue). Cooperation between CT and LOC can be fostered by clear initial definitions of roles and expectations. An appointed person in the LOC can be the intermediary in the communication between LOC and CT.

The communication between LOC and CT is made via email. The creation of a conference email managed by the LOC is strongly encouraged. The LOC will also create a Dropbox folder, accessible to all LOC and CT members, where all relevant documents (conference description, abstracts, full papers, program, budget documents, receipts, evaluation files, etc.), in English, will be stored.



The LOC is responsible for the management of the conference budget – the CT will provide all necessary assistance.

Costs generally include:

  • 4 keynote speakers’ travels, accommodation and meals (no honorarium is provided),
  • Travel, accommodation and meals of the editor of the journal awarding the best paper prize (although, depending on the details of the selection process, optional),
  • Lunches and coffee breaks during the conference,
  • Conference materials (book of abstracts, badges, conference bag),
  • Venues (although, often the host university provides the venue free of costs),
  • Conference dinner (although, in case of limited financial resources, this cost could be covered by participants),
  • Costs related to the workshop and city tour,
  • Wire transfer costs.

AESOP contributes to the conference with:

  • A full coverage of costs up to 13.000 Euros for the host institutions from the Eastern and South Eastern European countries,
  • CT travel and accommodation costs (AESOP YA annual budget).

YA conferences are free for participants. AESOP YA encourages LOC to open the event to young academics, even if they would be non-presenting attendees. Up to 10 non-presenting attendees, (the number can be agreed with the CT according to the conference venue, requests of the host university, etc.), can be accepted and will pay a small fee (50 to 75 Euros) to cover the costs of meals and conference material. Using the tool of the waiting list could ease the response to the non-presenting attendees.

The LOC is encouraged to apply for additional external funding sources; and the CT shall provide all support and collaboration, including the possibility to apply in name of AESOP YA.

A suggestion for acquiring funding is to involve the local authorities in organising the conference and defining the conference theme. In return, their employees can attend the event and learn from it. As such, the conference can be advertised as a way to gain new knowledge.

The final budget should be delivered to AESOP YA and AESOP a few weeks after the conference.


Advertising of CfA

The CT is primarily responsible for advertising the CfA among YA members and beyond. However, the LOC is warmly encouraged to share the call through their networks as well.

The conference website is usually hosted on the AESOP YA website. The LOC should provide all information to be included in the conference website (see the website of previous edition as reference); the CT is responsible for updating the conference website. All the information should be sent to the responsible CT member, who will set up the conference pages.

If the LOC decide to use a different website, the main information of the conference should also be uploaded to the AESOP YA website as a matter of visibility and advertisement.


Selection of abstracts

The LOC and CT agree whether the abstracts will be submitted through the YA website or by e-mail (YA email or specifically created email managed by the LOC). The LOC is responsible for verifying the eligibility and for notifying promptly the authors that their abstract will/will not be evaluated – in case any controversy will happen, the LOC and CT will jointly decide.

All YA members can submit an abstract. Multi-author abstracts are welcome; however, all authors must be Young Academics – the definition of YA is broad; in general, a YA is a student or not-tenured scholar (however, submissions by recently tenured scholars may be evaluated in exceptional cases, the LOC and CT will agree on the single cases). Particularly, abstracts co-authored by a PhD student and his/her supervisor are not eligible.

The abstracts are selected in collaboration between the LOC and the CT. Abstract selection takes place competitively taking in consideration:

  • the potential quality and originality of the full paper – taking in consideration that English-speaking scholars are advantaged in the drafting of English abstracts and papers,
  • the relation to the conference theme,
  • the geographic distribution of participants,
  • gender balance.

40 to 50 abstracts are selected for presentation. 8 to 10 abstracts are selected for the waiting list. After the selection process is completed, the LOC should immediately mail all authors with the notification of acceptance, rejection or waiting list. The accepted authors are requested to confirm their participation within 7 to 10 days. After that date, their seat is offered to a person in the waiting list.


Best Paper Prize & Workshop

The YA conference Best Paper Prize (BPP) is awarded as part of the YA annual conference. Every year the YA-committee invites an international journal to host the award. The awarded paper will receive unique feedbacks from the journal editor and the chair of the conference tracks to become qualified for publication in the invited journal.

Award Criteria:

The YA BPP Award is awarded according to the following criteria:

  • Originality and innovativeness of research,
  • Relevance to the conference theme,
  • Clarity of research argument and methodology, and
  • Overall scientific quality.

The Prize:

  • Certificate from the AESOP YA Network,
  • Unique feedback from the editor of the journal and chairs of the conference sessions in order to help the author qualify the paper for publication, and
  • (Optional) free access for 1 year to the Journal (to be decided by the journal)

Eligibility and Participation:

All papers accepted for oral presentations at the annual YA conference are qualified for the award. However, authors must clearly express their interest in taking part in the contest and their commitment to publish their papers in the host journal in order to be qualified for the award. They can do that by typing in the header of the paper “to be considered for the YA Conference Best Paper Prize.”


The LOC and CT discuss the journal to be contacted and the details of the selection process. The normal procedure is that the keynote speakers and track chairs select the best paper of their sessions, then the decision is jointly taken during the conference and announced at the conference dinner – see programs of previous editions.

Special issue:

The BPP is mostly selected based on a top 5 to 10 of papers, usually the best two papers preselected by the track chairs and co-chairs. These papers will be invited to publish their paper in the AESOP YA-managed open-access international peer-reviewed journal PlaNext. Mostly, one of the keynotes is asked to act as guest editor together with someone from the CT and/or LOC. Check the previous volumes of PlaNext for more information.



During the YA Conference, traditionally one day is dedicated to organizing workshops which reflect more detailed on – preferably – the conference theme. It is free to the LOC to plan in this workshop, for inspiration check previous conference programs.


During the conference

The LOC is responsible for the organization of the event, but the LOC can benefit from the assistance of CT members that are present at the conference.