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UNCE 2018-2023

Regions and places during intensive globalization: underlying forces and mechanisms of development

UNCE = University Centre of Excellence 
The vision of UNCE (University Centre of Excellence) program is to support excellent teams of young researchers working in fundamental research.
You can read more at the University website

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Globalization processes are typified by highly uneven local and regional impacts, which might represent a major obstacle to achieving positive long-term economic development, high living standards and social peace. Therefore, it is imperative to identify and uncover the mechanisms of globalization-induced uneven development and design an appropriate economic and social policy to maintain or improve the competitive position of places, regions and countries in the world economy. The proposed project therefore focuses on three research areas:

  1. Processes underlying the changing geography of economic activities;
  2. Internal and international migration; and
  3. The demographic behavior and population health.

More specifically, the proposed research has three specific goals:

  1. To identify the key mechanisms and consequences of globalization processes at the local, regional and national scales in Czechia.
  2. To analyze spatial uneveness of globalization processes at different geographic scales and design state policies maximizing the positive and minimizing the negative effects of globalization.
  3. To disseminate research outcomes at international conferences and in prestigious publications.

Another innovative force of our research is the development of the online map application UNCE. As the online map application UNCE (hereinafter Applications) we mean a set of sub-projects / applications, which has been created within the long-term UNCE project. Sub-projects are connected thematically and in their form, i.e. technically and visually. From the thematic point of view, the Application as a whole fulfills the UNCE project and its goals, i.e. it focuses on "Regions and places during intensive globalization: underlying forces  and mechanisms of development". In terms of form, the Application is provided by a unified technology,  echnical procedures and visual style, which provide and support individual thematic projects.

Project objectives

Contemporary globalization processes are typified not only by the increasing integration of the world economy and the emergence of a global culture, but also by their regionally uneven socio-economic impacts at different geographic scales, which are based on the different position and role of particular places and regions in the international and national divisions of labor. Global forces interact with local and regional forces in a process known as „glocalization“, which contributes to the geographically uneven effects of globalization and the intensification of uneven development. Geographers argue that spatially variegated effects of globalization are not haphazard but depend on the nature of particular regions and places and the abilities of key regional and local actors to actively react to globalization-related threats and opportunities. Therefore, we need to analyze these key regional and local actors and mechanisms of globalization in order to understand the processes behind the intensification of uneven development at regional and local scales.

The overarching aim of the proposed research is to analyze and explain the key processes, actors and mechanisms of globalization processes at the regional and local scales that contribute to uneven development. More specifically, in the context of Czechia, the proposed project will:

  1. Identify the key mechanisms and impacts of globalization processes at local, regional and national scales.
  2. Analyze and explain the reasons for the spatial unevenness of globalization processes
  3. Prepare policy recommendations for decision makers at different levels of state administration aimed at maximizing the positive and minimizing the negative effects of globalization.
  4. Disseminate research outcomes through publications in prestigious international journals and presentations at international conferences.

The proposed research focuses on three main areas:

  1. The changing geography of economic activities
  2. Internal and international migration
  3. Demographic change and population health

The proposed project advances research on the regional and local impacts of globalization by the:

  1. Systematic analysis of the mechanisms and effects of globalization in different types of regions and localities;
  2. Synthesis of results from the three previously identified research areas;
  3. Cooperation with policy decision-makers aimed at maximizing the positive and minimizing the negative effects of globalization in particular regions and localities;
  4. Development of research links between geographic and demographic sub-disciplines and inter-disciplinary research among high quality young investigators; and
  5. Contribution to the international research on the uneven effects of globalization by the publication and presentation of the Czech geographic research abroad.

Research methodology

The proposed research will be carried out within the areas of economic geography, migration, demography and health as follows:

First, key processes and actors will be identified with an emphasis on the interactions of global, European and national processes with regional and local changes. While the majority of the existing research on globalization focuses on the international and national scales, this project will develop theoretical concepts and methodologies that will include the systematic analysis of regional and local manifestations of globalization processes and emphasize the strong mutual interdependencies of globalization processes at different geographic scales.

Second, within each research area, the effects of these key processes and actors on local and regional development will be analyzed. We will focus on local and regional processes, actors and mechanisms that are actively involved in bottom-up globalization and thus contribute to the processes of “glocalization”. We will analyze not only local and regional adaptions to global changes and processes but also active local and regional strategies designed to improve the position of individual regions and places in the international division of labor and power. Here, we will draw on the outcomes of our previous UNCE project that have been published in prestigious foreign journals, such as the Journal of Economic Geography and Health & Place.

In the area of economic geography, we will focus on the interactions between global production networks and regional innovation systems. In the area of migration, we will investigate mechanisms linking transnationalism in international migration with the locally developing cosmopolitan forms of coexistence in urban areas. In the area of demography and health, we will concentrate on the relationship between changes in demographic and health-endangering behavior and social inequality, international migration, environmental and global climate changes. In our three research areas, we will investigate these processes at different geographic scales.

Third, we will integrate analytical results and insights from our three research areas. Instead of investigating economic, social and demographic process as being separate, which is a common approach, we will develop new theoretical, conceptual, methodological and analytical approaches for studying the dynamic development of various aspects of “glocalization“ in concrete regions and places. Another innovative strength of our research will be the application of geographic information systems (GIS) for spatial analysis, as well as of the innovative GIS web applications for cartographic visualization and the presentation of research results in the form of an online atlas that will summarize the results of the research project.


Projected outcomes

1. Skill building, career development and international cooperation

Ph.D. and post-doctoral students will benefit from teamwork by exchanging information and learning new skills and from cooperation with experienced researchers from both Charles University and foreign universities, including Dartmouth College, UFZ Leipzig, Tartu University and universities participating in the ERASMUS program. Currently, we collaborate on joint projects or publications with about 20 centers abroad, such as:  prof. Kevin Morgan (Cardiff University), prof. Ronn Boschma (Utrecht University), prof. Paula Santana (University of Coimbra), and prof. Martin Bobak, dr. Hynek Pikhart (University College London).

We will organize three international seminars. Presentations of project results at international conferences will be an opportunity to collect and incorporate critical comments and for networking. Cooperation, learning and developing research skills within the team will become the precondition for the preparation of domestic and international research grant applications in the future, which is crucial for the future career development of junior researchers. The members of the research team will submit at least ten grant proposal during the duration of this project.

2. Contribution to policy-making

The projected results of the proposed research will be applicable for research, teaching and policy-making at various city and regional institutions, the European Union and United Nations bodies, and non-profit organizations. Already, there is a significant interest in research on these topics from various policy-making institutions with whom the members of the research team have built contacts and developed cooperation over the year. In turn, policy practitioners will provide practical experience with implementing various programs and policies. This will allow for better tuning of proposed practical policies and programs and their implementation. Team members have already participated on Technology Agency (TAČR) policy-oriented projects and numerous policy-oriented projects for various state institutions.

3. International publications

Team members have the experience and skills to publish the results of the proposed research in prestigious international academic journals that have a high impact factor, such as PLOS One, Journal of Economic Geography, Progress in Physical Geography, Reproductive Biomedicine Online a Health & Place. The projected numbers of publications are listed in the table below:

Category/ year 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
J-imp 8 9 8 8 8 9
J-sc 3 3 3 3 3 3
J-neimp 1 1 2 1 1 1

Additionally, the proposed research will result in the publication of an on-line Atlas that will summarize the research results in a highly accessible form. The atlas will be published in both Czech and English and will be based on the application of GIS technologies that are already available at the Faculty of Science through the ESRI Education Site License.


Senior researchers

Name e-mail focus area
Prof. RNDr. Dagmar Dzúrová, CSc. dzurova@natur.cuni.cz Dem., health and physical. g.
Prof. RNDr. Dušan Drbohlav, CSc. drbohlav@natur.cuni.cz Migration
Prof. RNDr. Petr Pavlínek, Ph.D. pavlinek@natur.cuni.cz Econ. geography
Prof. RNDr. Luděk Sýkora, Ph.D. sykora@natur.cuni.cz Dem., health and physical. g./Cartography
Doc. RNDr. Martin Ouředníček, Ph.D. martin.ourednicek@natur.cuni.cz Migration/Cartography
Doc. RNDr. Jiří Blažek, Ph.D. blazek@natur.cuni.cz Econ. geography
RNDr. Radan Huth, Dr.Sc. huthr@natur.cuni.cz Dem., health and physical. g.

Junior researchers    

Name e-mail focus area
Mgr. Lukáš Brůha, Ph.D. lukas.bruha@natur.cuni.cz Cartography
Mgr. Lucie Červená, Ph.D. lucie.cervena@natur.cuni.cz Dem., health and physical. g.
RNDr. Jiří Hasman, Ph.D.    hasman@natur.cuni.cz Migration/Econ. g.
Mgr. Vojtěch Kadlec, Ph.D. vojtech.kadlec@natur.cuni.cz Econ. geography
Ivana Kulhánová, Ph.D. ivana.kulhanova@natur.cuni.cz Dem., health and physical. g.
RNDr. Michala Lustigová, Ph.D.  michala.lustigova@natur.cuni.cz Dem., health and physical. g.
RNDr. Jana Popová, Ph.D. popova@ufa.cas.cz Dem., health and physical. g.
RNDr. Lucie Pospíšilová, Ph.D. lucie.pospisilova@natur.cuni.cz Migration
RNDr. Jitka Slabá, Ph.D.     jitka.slaba@natur.cuni.cz Dem., health and physical. g.
PhDr. Mgr. Anna Šťastná, Ph.D.     anna.stastna@natur.cuni.cz Dem., health and physical. g.

Former members: dr. Pavlína Netrdová (2018), dr. Dagmar Chalupová (2018–2019), dr. Viktor Květoň (2018–2019), dr. Jakub Lysák (2018–2019), dr. Jan Tumajer (2019–2020), dr. Petra Špačková (2018-2020), dr. Klára Hulíková Tesárková (2018-2021). 

Ph.D. students involved in 2018-19

Department of Applied Geoinformatics and Cartography: Mgr. Lucie Červená, Mgr. Josef Laštovička, Mgr. Jan Svoboda, Mgr. Michaela Tomková

Department of Demography and Geodemography: Mgr. Anna Altová, Mgr. Vendula Machů, Mgr. Kateřina Maláková, Mgr. Jitka Slabá

Department of Physical Geography and Geoecology: Mgr. Lucie Beranová, Mgr. Tereza Dlabáčková, RNDr. Kristýna Flašarová, Mgr. Blanka Gvoždíková, Mgr. Martin Hynčica, RNDr. David Krause, Theodora Lendzioch, M.Sc., Mgr. Robert Minařík, Mgr. Luboš Mrkva, Mgr. Barbora Procházková, Mgr. Ondřej Racek, RNDr. Michal Růžek, Mgr. Kristýna Vlková, Mgr. Kateřina Zajícová

Department of Social Geography and Regional Development: Mgr. Aleš Bělohradský, M.Sc., Mgr. Veronika Bernhäuserová, Mgr. Otakar Bursa, Mgr. Pavel Frydrych, Mgr. Marie Horňáková, RNDr. Ekaterina Ignatyeva, RNDr. Jakub Jelen, Mgr. Adam Klsák, Mgr. Kryštof Materna, RNDr. Jiří Nemeškal, Mgr. Jonáš Suchánek, Mgr. Jan Sýkora, PhDr. Martina Tůmová

Administrative assistance

Name e-mail
RNDr. Jana Jíchová, Ph.D. jana.jichova@natur.cuni.cz
RNDr. Pavlína Netrdová, Ph.D. pavlina.netrdova@natur.cuni.cz
RNDr. Julius Česák, Ph.D. julius.cesak@natur.cuni.cz
Jarmila Tesková teskova@natur.cuni.cz


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