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Scientific/academic background (1/4):

Policy background (2/4):

He also has experience outside academia working with stakeholders in the public, private and civic society sectors. In the public sector, he has held the positions of Director of Research for the Basque Regional Government (2008-2010), Scientific Director of the City-Region Congress (2012), Political Innovation (2015) and Smart Rural Communities (2019) Summer Schools in the University of the Basque Country. In the private sector, he has worked at the Mondragon Co-operative Corporation Group for more than a decade (2002-2015) and as a Deputy Manager of SMEs (1997-2002). In order to disseminate social and political research analysis, he collaborates as popularizer with some media.

Editorial Board Membership (3/4)

  1. Since 2023: Senior Editor at Frontiers in Blockchain.
  2. Since 2022: Senior Editor at Cogent Social Sciences, Sociology Section by Taylor and Francis.
  3. Since 2021: Editorial Board Member of the journal Urban Planning by Cogitatio Press.
  4. Since 2020: Associate Editor of the Journal Frontier in Political Science, Politics of Technology.
  5. Since 2020: Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy by Emerald.
  6. Since 2018: Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal Smart Cities. MDPI.
  7. Since 2018: Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal SN Applied Sciences. Earth and Environmenal Sciences, Geography. SpringerNature.
  8. Since 2017: Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal Territories: A Trans-Cultural Journal of Regional Studies. E-Scholarship, University of California.

Entrepreneurial background (4/4):

In addition to this, in 2014, he founded an spin-off called Translokal – Academic Entrepreneurship for Policy Making aiming at blending ethnographic and strategic applied social science research for policy-making in tourism, international cooperation and development, education, culture, politics, urbanism, and democracy worldwide. The portfolio elaborated in the five-year period 2014-2019 could be seen here.

International outreach  (5/4):

He has been regularly delivering keynotes and being invited speaker as well as conducting fieldwork action research internationally:



Over the course of his professional and scientific career, Igor has committed himself to innovating the quality of knowledge production and dissemination processes related to political regional innovation policy in the digital era. His research and policy contribution is interdisciplinary in nature and lies in the convergence space between regional/urban/political studies, social innovation studies and algorithmic science. Igor is offering a strong support to the emerging scientific and policy developments of regional innovation policy. He has a sustained track-record of producing high-quality publication outputs (1978 citations, h-index 18 and i10-index 30 Google Scholar index; through the following publications 35 peer-reviewed journal articles, 10 edited books, 17 book chapters, 26 policy reports, and 121 international invited conferences) and has contributed to generate an overall income of about  700,000€ through research and policy advisory projects (see below the detail list), mainly supported by EU funding schemes (H2020). These projects have resulted in the production of new innovative processes which are helping government, industry, civil society, and universities to enhance their collective intelligence and generate the collaborative ecosystems required for developing data-driven and citizen-centric smart city and regional environments that enable citizens to operate democratically.

His main research interests are comparing social, technological, economic, democratic and politically innovative processes in cities and regions by paying special attention to cases and issues of regional and metropolitan devolution. In particular, he is focused on investigating European City-Region and Smart City benchmarking case studies through the application of qualitative and action research mixed methods.

He works interdisciplinary in pursuit of the following four research questions:

  • State Rescaling, Types of Nationalisms, (Smart) Devolution & Emerging Citizenship Regimes: Will the urban age reconfigure the politics of the European nation-states through citizenship? How can states rescaling result in a rise of different types of nationalism? How to understand and research further emerging new citizenship regimes? Ultimately, how to interpret the devolution in a broader techno-political pervasive process? How nationalism is inevitably intertwined with metropolitanisation processes?
  • Pervasive Metropolitanisation Phenomena: Given that supranational institutions such the EU (H2020), the UN (Habitat), and the OECD are focusing on the fact that the governance mechanism should strongly consider the urban transformative dimension when it comes to policy architecture and design, how could pervasive and dynamic metropolitanisation phenomena be researched in light of the increasing importance of cities and subnational actors (regions) becoming international actors themselves?
  • Transitional & Experimental (Smart) Cities: Given the so-called smart city dominance in sustainable urban development these days, how could we implement a multi-stakeholder (Calzada, 2016) smart city alternative and more inclusive governance approach by considering the entire range of metropolitan and regional agents involved (based on the penta-helix model consisting of the interdependency between the private sector, the public sector, academia, civic society. and entrepreneurs)? What are the practical and/or political interventions needed? How can Urban Living Labs (ULL) help to re-locate the smart city debate in a broader and bolder innovative debate?
  • Techno-politics, Platform and Data Co-operatives: Given the context of hyper-connected societies (Morozov, 2012) through the adoption of rapid digital transformational processes, how can we prompt critical methodological advancements for data analytics, data policy ecosystems, data governance models, and alternatively, data co-operatives to empower democracy from a new triad made up of techno-politics, networks, and citizenship?

He is working in two main research fields:

1.- The first research field is about City-Regions:

2.- The second research field is about Smart Cities:

At the EU level, currently, he is also conducting research on comparative metropolitan smart city-regional case studies in various projects in permanent collaboration with European partners (HEI, public authorities, private firms, civic groups, and so on):

In addition, there are three main research fields that he is combining in an eclectic mix: Territories, Social Innovation, Strategy & Governance. He summaries this mix as: Smart City-Regional Comparative International Interdisciplinary Applied Research.

In the last decade or so, there has been a proliferation of literature on new forms of urban and regional governance (Brenner et al, 2014; Keating et al, 2014; Herrschel, 2014). His main concern is about how territories behave in this new scenario, taking into account that the main analytical unit is the Region.

His research aims to understand the City-Region concept comparatively while gathering eight evidence-based case studies with the research project: ‘Benchmarking Future City-Regions’. Different case studies articulate their city-regionalism features in a diverse way, he aims to analyze what these features are and how they relate to each other systemically. He is conducting field work qualitative research applying the 5-System City-Region Framework.

He is interested in the controversial way territories are defined and are objects of diverse policy-making processes. Not only he is interested in the nature of the city-regions comparatively speaking, but also how controversial the definition of the territorial unit could be. As an example, he is observing a Smart City idea and application from the Critical Social Innovation perspective which means that a new paradigm is required when urban bottom-up interventions are going to be the key governance challenge in the postgrowth era.

  • Action Research Methodologies: Qualitative, Comparative & Strategic/Ethnographic.

He carries out action research methodology is a resourceful way to attempt to understand the dynamics of emerging topics such as these, in which unprecedented facts are to be studied by following-up news, reviewing policy papers and reports, reading academic papers and at the same time gathering qualitative data via interviews; the goal is to remain up to day and show new results as they emerge in this on-going research process.

At the moment, he is interested in the following topics:

  • (Smart) Territories
    • Smart Cities? Replicability vs City-to-City Learning, New Cities, Smart Rural Communities, Rural Living Labs, Open Platforms, Techno-politics of Data, DataViz, Urban Dashboards & Big/Open Data
    • City-Regions: Comparative Territorial Studies and Smart Devolution
    • Pervasive Metropolitanisation Processes: Political Regionalism
    • Global Sustainable City-Regions
    • Urban Transformations: Urban Commons, Multi-stakeholder schemes, and Helix Thinking
    • Hyper-Connected Societies vs Unplugging
  • (Social) Innovation

    • Applied & Scientific approach: Digital Social Innovation
    • Transitional and Experimental Smart Cities: Urban Living Labs
    • Smart Tourism Labs
    • Social Capital & Social Entrepreneurship
    • Political Geography & Economy
  • (Strategic) Governance

    • Territorial Prospective & Strategic Planning
    • Collective Intelligence
    • Local Governance, Citizen Participation & Communitarian Development
    • Action Research Methodologies
    • Political Innovation: Civic Nationalism, Sovereignty, Stateless Small Nations, Identity, Constitutional Change, Self-government, The Right to Decide, Devolution & Independence.


He has been presented with 10 Research Fellowships and Awards from 2008 to the present time to research on Regional Comparative Studies:

  1. 2017: Awarded as Fellow of the Regional Studies Association, FeRSA.
  2. 2016: Visiting Research Fellowship by Brussels Centre for Urban Studies (BCUS), Cosmopolis Research & POLI Political Science Dep at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
  3. 2016-2019: Urban Transformations ESRC portfolio European Branch (University of Oxford, UT – COMPAS)
  4. 2016-2018: Regional Studies Association RSA Research Network core member (University of Oxford, UT- COMPAS)
  5. 2014-2015: Regional Studies Association RSA Early Career Grant (University of Oxford, FoC- COMPAS)
  6. 2014: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship by the Basque Government & Ikerbasque (University of Oxford & Deusto)
  7. 2013: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship by the Basque Government & Ikerbasque (University of Oxford, FoC- COMPAS)
  8. 2012: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship by the Basque Government & Ikerbasque (University of Oxford, FoC- InSIS)
  9. 2009-2010: Doctoral Research Fellowship by Caja Madrid Foundation (University of Nevada – USA)
  10. 2008-2009: Doctoral Research Award by the Spanish Princess (University of Nevada – USA)

He has been appointed in the following professional posts:

Alongside his educational qualifications are as follows:

He is/has been member of the following institutions by presenting these academic affiliations:


Recently he was appointed as a Senior Policy Adviser for the following projects in the field of (Smart) City & Regional Policies:

  1. 2021<: New Emerging Citizenship Regimes (WISERD Civil Society ESRC).
  2. 2016-2021: EU-H2020-SCC-01-2015-691735-Lighthouse. ‘REPLICATE: REinassance of PLaces with Innovative Citizenship And TEchnology by the European Commission, Horizon 2020 – Research and Innovation Framework Programme. Lighthouse cities: St Sebastian (Spain), Bristol (UK), Firenze (Italy), Essen (Germany), Laussane (Switzerland) and Nilüfer (Turkey). WP8 Replication leader (Univ. Oxford): City-to-city learning & Benchmarking.
  3. 2019: Smart Rural Communities Summer School Co-Director. The University of the Basque Country. St. Sebastian (Spain). 12-13 Sept.
  4. 2018: Science, Technology, & Innovation Plan 2020 of the Basque regional government: Social Innovation in Neighbourhood Living Labs for the Urban Renewal. Ministry of Spatial Planning, Urbanism and Urban Regeneration.
  5. 2017-2018: Tarragona Province Council. Projectes d’Especialització i Competitivitat Territorial (PECT)/RIS3CAT/FEDER. TurisTIC LivingLab.
  6. 2017-2018: Ayuda en Acción (NGO). ‘Smart Rural Communities‘ intervention project. (Latin America: Colombia & Africa: Mozambique).
  7. 2017-2018: Municipality of Zumaia. ‘Smart Tourism Labs in the Basque Geopark of Unesco in the village of Zumaia, Basque Country (Spain).’
  8. 2016-2019: EUDEL, Basque Municipalities’ Association with LKS Consultancy for the Basque Regional Government. ‘HerriSmarTIK: Strategic Smart City-Regional Bottom-Up Strategy of Basque Autonomy’s Municipalities‘/La Estrategia Vasca de Territorio Inteligente en el Contexto Europeo Horizonte 2020: De la Agenda Digital Municipal a la Gobernanza de la Ciudad-Región Inteligente Vasca’. (Spain)
  9. 2016: Future Cities Catapult. ‘Smartness for Prosperity: UK & Brazil‘ Research Executive Advisor in the joint venture research project with MACI Innovation in Projects. (UK)
  10. 2015-2016: EU-Marie Curie Actions – Cofund Regional Programmes (AYD-000-268). Comparing Smart City-Regional Governance Strategies: Bilbao, Barcelona, Bristol & Glasgow‘ (2015-2016). (Spain)
  11. 2015: EU-FP7-314679-STEP UP Smart City Plan MSc Global Sustainable Cities Master Lecturer Energy Planning for Cities Smart City Master Plan for four EU Cities: Glasgow (Scotland-UK), Riga (Latvia), Gothenburg (Sweden) and Ghent (Belgium).
  12. 2014-2015: EU-FP7-314277-STEEP Smart City Plan Advisory Board project member funded by the EU FP7-314277: Systems Thinking for comprehensive city Efficient Energy Planning Smart City Master Plan for three EU Cities: St Sebastian (Spain)(leader), Bristol (UK) and Florence (Italy).
  13. 2015-2017: EU COST Evaluator: Urban Development, Rural Communities, Societal Resilience & Urban Networks.
  14. 2010-2015: Gipuzkoa Sarean New Governance (relationship) Model for Territorial Development of Gipuzkoa. Collaboration agreement between the Gipuzkoa Province Council (Basque Country – Spain) and the University of Oxford (UK)
  15. 2015: Fomento San Sebastian City ‘Social Innovation Strategy: Sharing Economy & Youth Employment (Basque Country – Spain).
  16. 2015: Elhuyar Consutancy & Gipuzkoa Province Council ‘Social Innovation & Local Development for the Territorial Strategy‘ Policy Paper (Basque Country – Spain).
  17. 2015: Curator/Coordinator of the Special Series Between Independence & Re-centralisation: Political Innovation in an Age of Devolution at Politics in Spires by the University of Cambridge & Oxford, Departments of Politics (UK) funded by Social Science Division at the University of Oxford (UK).
  18. 2015: Co-Director of the Political Innovation: Constitutional Change, Self-Government, The Right to Decide and Independence. Summer School 9-10 July 2015 in the University of the Basque Country EHU-UPV (Spain).
  19. 2014: Organizer of the #Unplugging: Beyond Hyper-Connected Societies Workshop funded by TORCH, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, University of Oxford (UK).
  20. 2014-2015: Science popularizer and analyst in the following media: TEDx Montevideo 2015, El País ‘Seres Urbanos’, ETB ‘Azpimarra’ TV, Euskalerria Irratia Radio ‘Metropoli Forala’, Euskonews, AberriBerri, Berria and Norabidea.


Dr Calzada has been lecturing from 2005 onwards in the following High Education Institutions (HEI): University of Oxford (UK), University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (UK), Aston University in Birmingham (UK), University of Mondragon (Spain), University of Nevada (USA), University of Helsinki (Finland):