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Category information

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:

  1. Recognise the best spatial planning research from RTPI accredited planning schools and members;
  2. Highlight the implications of academic research for policy and practice;
  3. Recognise the valuable contribution of planning practitioners (in the public and private sectors) to planning research; and
  4. 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 Student Award


This award is aimed at students who are working towards or have recently completed a non-research university degree. It highlights the methodological rigour of the research, as well as the ability to link research and practice. It is open to:

  1. Undergraduate and non-research postgraduate students who are enrolled in universities offering accredited RTPI courses;
  2. Everyone who completed an undergraduate or a non-research postgraduate course in universities offering accredited RTPI courses between April 2022 and April 2023;
  3. RTPI members[1] who completed or are enrolled in an undergraduate or non-research postgraduate course between April 2022 and April 2023, regardless of their academic affiliation.

Only planning research submitted (for dissertations and theses) or first published (for any other piece of research) between April 2022 and April 2023 (inclusive) is eligible for entry.

Geographical coverage

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 ‘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.

For the purposes of the award, ‘research’ is a single 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.

Judging criteria

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:

  1. Relevance: addresses issues and themes of current concern and relevance to spatial planning.
  2. 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 methods, an understanding of the theoretical stakes, critical thinking, and a structured analysis.
  3. Outcomes: clearly presented results that respond to the research question and contribute to the better understanding of the subject.
  4. 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

  1. Full submissions must be received by the RTPI by 14 May 2023.
  2. The RTPI reserves the right to share submissions with our member magazine The Planner.
  3. The RTPI reserves the right to share submissions and entry forms with our judging panel.
  4. Submitted material will be retained electronically by the RTPI.
  5. The Royal Town Planning Institute is not liable for any costs you incur submitting this entry.
  6. The decisions of the judging panel are final, and no correspondence will be entered into before or after the event.

[1] For the purposes of the Student Award, all types of membership (excluding Affiliate membership) are considered.