2021 edition

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is difficult at this stage to plan major events in advance. The organizers hope that the Winter School 2021 can take place as usual. However, they reserve the right to make any changes to the programme. For further information, please look at our application section.

Dates and venues

  • 1 February – 5 February 2021 in Innsbruck (Tyrol, Austria)
  • 8 February – 12 February 2021 in Bolzano/Bozen (South Tyrol, Italy)

The first week of the Winter School takes place at the Faculty of Law and at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of the Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck, Austria; the second week at the Institute for Comparative Federalism of Eurac Research, Italy.

The two weeks of the Winter School are divided into lectures and discussion sessions, interactive workshops and study visits in Innsbruck and Bolzano/Bozen. Please note that it is not possible to attend only one week of the programme.


The 2021 edition of the Winter School will focus on the topic “Federalism and Local Self-Government“. It is organized in close cooperation with the European Union’s H2020 Research and Innovation Staff Exchange project “LoGov – Local Government and the Changing Urban-Rural Interplay“.

Participants will analyze the status of local government within multilevel systems. They will examine the constitutional status and protection of local government and look at the powers that national and subnational constitutions confer upon local government. Their functioning in local government practice will be discussed as well as the changing interplay between urban and rural areas.

Participants will explore how states structure local government to be better able to face increasingly depopulated rural areas and rapidly growing metropolises, how local financial arrangements differ between local governments. The Winter School will consider a wide range of case studies, including examples from Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. In addition, the program will offer a round table with practitioners discussing cooperation mechanisms for horizontal and vertical intergovernmental relations.

Besides numerous opportunities for discussion with leading experts on multilevel governance throughout the lectures, a variety of interactive sessions will offer participants the chance to share their own knowledge and experience. Lectures, workshops, Q&A’s and discussion groups will address the multifaceted roles local government play through the comparison of the various case studies.

The Winter School will examine a series of issues:
• How do national and subnational constitutions deal with local government?
• What is the constitutional protection of local government?
• What are the dimensions of local autonomy?
• Are there asymmetries with regard to urban and rural local governments?
• What kind of financial resources can local governments rely upon?
• How can local governments meet current challenges like rural depopulation and rapid urban growth?
• Does the merging of local governments entail efficiency gains?
• How do local government differ between multilevel systems in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia?
• What can the various forms and tiers of local government learn from each other?

The 2021 Winter School examines these and other questions by combining theoretical expertise and relevant case studies. As such, the programme is a unique opportunity for young academics, postgraduate students, civil servants and practitioners to receive enhanced training on the theoretical and practical aspects of federalism.

A certificate of attendance will be awarded to participants who have attended at least 95% of all classes.