The RTPI Awards for Research Excellence recognise and promote high quality and impactful spatial planning research from RTPI accredited planning schools and planning practitioners in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and internationally. The Awards are intended to:
- Recognise the best spatial planning research from RTPI accredited planning schools and members;
- Highlight the implications of academic research for policy and practice;
- Recognise the valuable contribution of planning practitioners (in the public and private sectors) to planning research; and
- Promote planning research generally.
Being shortlisted or winning these prestigious awards is a clear demonstration of the quality of your work. All shortlisted and winning entrants will be provided with an RTPI Awards for Research Excellence logo, which can be used on your website, email, social media, and promotional materials. We wish you the best of luck.
The Early Career Researcher Award
This award is aimed at researchers in the beginning phase of their academic careers, and stresses methodological rigour and innovative thinking. As such, it is open to:
- Early career academics who were employed by or studying in universities offering accredited RTPI courses at the time the research was submitted to the jury (for dissertations and theses) or published (for any other piece of research), regardless of their RTPI membership; and
- Early career academics who are RTPI members, regardless of their academic affiliation.
The early career academic must demonstrate that they made a key contribution to the submitted paper for it to be considered eligible.
Only planning research first published between April 2022 and April 2023 (inclusive) is eligible for entry.
The submitted research and its potential implications for planning policy and practice can relate to anywhere in the world (focus on UK or Ireland is not required).
The definition of ‘early career academic’
Everyone who is pursuing a PhD (or other postgraduate research degree) or is within 5 years of the award of their PhD (or other postgraduate research degree) is considered an early career academic.
The definition of ‘planning research’
We interpret ‘planning research’ broadly. For example, research could primarily have implications for planning education or professional development, rather than practice or policy. Though the awards focus on spatial planning research, we encourage interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. We welcome non-traditional pieces of research such as applied research, action research or research by design, as long as they are published (see below).
For the purposes of the award, ‘research’ is a single published piece of research and the actions directly related to its communication and dissemination. For example, a single article, a single chapter in an edited book, a single report, a book, a toolbox, a project, or a plan can all be considered as ‘research’. Wider research programmes edited thematic numbers and books comprised of different contributions, and series or collections are not considered as ‘research’ for the purposes of the award.
The definition of ‘published’
We accept entries published in any form. However, publications submitted for this award category must be publicly available online at the moment of the submission (whether for free or behind a paywall). In the case of published books, they must be available for free download or for purchase and the full text must be made available to the judges in digital form (to this end, preprint versions are accepted). Online repositories, including Academia.edu, Researchgate, institutional repositories and project websites are all considered as forms of publishing for the purposes of the award. When entries have been published multiple times, the publication date refers to the date it was first published and must be within the date range specified for each category.
Entries to this category will be judged on the strength of the research submitted and its academic rigour. A particular stress will be put on ‘impactful’ research (i.e., that furthers planning practice, theory, or research) and on innovative research putting forward cutting-edge methods, approaches, and theories.
A successful submission must satisfy the following four criteria:
- Relevance: original approach to issues and themes of current concern and relevance to spatial planning.
- Robustness and methodology: evidence of a robust understanding of the current state of knowledge, and sound methodological reflection leading to the choice of an appropriate methodology and to the use of innovative methods that show a depth of understanding of the theoretical stakes, critical thinking and rigorous analysis linking results and theory.
- Outcomes: clearly presented results that achieve a better understanding of the subject and/or the development of new fields of enquiry.
- Impact: the implications of the research in facilitating change or resulting in improved outcomes beyond academia in planning policy and/or practice.
Terms and Conditions
- Full submissions must be received by the RTPI by 14 May 2023.
- The RTPI reserves the right to share submissions with our member magazine The Planner.
- The RTPI reserves the right to share submissions and entry forms with our judging panel.
- Submitted material will be retained electronically by the RTPI.
- The Royal Town Planning Institute is not liable for any costs you incur submitting this entry.
- The decisions of the judging panel are final, and no correspondence will be entered into before or after the event.
 For the purposes of the early academic award, all types of membership (excluding Affiliate membership) are considered.