Applications for the 2021 edition of the Winter School are closed. Candidates will be notified about the outcome of their application in early December 2020.

In order to apply for the Winter School on Federalism and Governance 2021 – online edition, candidates have to submit a completed application form.


In the application form you will be asked to submit:

  • personal data
  • relevant academic and professional education
  • work experience (if applicable)
  • a statement of motivation (max. 1600 characters)
  • a short academic essay (max. 3500 characters) on one of the eight questions related to the workshop topics.

To preview the application form’s questions, please click here.

Details regarding the essay are explained below. Please note that without the essay the application cannot be considered!

In case of questions regarding the application form and procedure, please contact

Only complete application forms (including all required personal data, statement of motivation and essay) will be taken into consideration. No additional documents are required.

Due to the global COVID-19 situation, the Winter School on Federalism and Governance 2021 edition will be organized as an online programme. The online edition of the Winter School 2021 will still include the essential contents of the envisaged programme. In order to guarantee an international participation of people from different countries and time zones, a daily programme between two and three hours will be provided. This daily programme is expected to take place in the early afternoon of the Central European Time Zone.

In the confirmation email in early December 2020, selected candidates will be informed about the format and can decide whether to accept the invitation and enroll in the program.

Detailed information regarding the academic essay for the application

For half a day, workshops will focus on four topics selected by the Winter School’s scientific committee. The workshop topics of the 2021 edition are:

A) Local Finance
B) Local Participation
C) Metropolitan Governance
D) Spatial Planning

As part of the application, we ask you to select one of the workshops and to write a short essay of max. 500 words (3500 characters) answering ONE of the two questions linked to the workshop you have chosen:

Workshop A – Local Finance

  1. Local finance is a pivotal – although often neglected – area of interest in all federal systems. What type of arrangements have countries adopted to distribute powers and responsibilities in this field? Please use examples.
  2. What general trends can be observed with regard to local finance, making reference to best (and worst) practices, case-law or political agreements? Please use examples.

Workshop B – Local Participation

  1. How would you define participatory and deliberative democracy based on your knowledge and experience? What do you understand by the term “democratic innovations”? Please, provide examples you are familiar with.
  2. How and to what extent do democratic innovations affect decision-making processes in local entities/municipalities? Please analyze this question based on one or more case studies of your choice.

Workshop C – Metropolitan Governance

  1. How are metropolitan areas governed? Do they rely on inter-municipal cooperation between the municipalities within the metropolitan area or are there over-arching metropolitan governance structures with own responsibilities, institutions and finances? Please present one case or, preferably, more cases from a comparative perspective.
  2. How do metropolitan areas cooperate with their surroundings? What are the instruments of cooperation with local governments in neighboring suburban and rural areas? Please present one case or, preferably, more cases from a comparative perspective.

Workshop D – Spatial Planning

  1. Describe and critique the decision-making process for spatial planning questions in your country, indicating the role played by structure plans and policy documentation.
  2. What in your view should be the role of public participation in the making of decisions concerning development control? Indicate who exactly should be included within the scope of ‘public participation’.

Applications which are successfully submitted and complete will receive a confirmation via e-mail within 5 working days after submission.

Applicants will be notified in early December 2020. The enrollment procedure (including payment of the tuition fee) has to be completed within 7 working days after notification of the invitation to participate.

Any further questions may be directed to the organizers at or +39-0471-055239.