The British and Irish Section of the Regional Science Association International was founded in 1968 and it forms part of the Regional Science Association International (founded in 1954). The British and Irish section is one of the 18 European sections of RSAI that fall under the European Regional Science Association (RSAI also comprises a North American Regional Science Council and a Pacific Regional Science Organisation). Its membership is drawn, in the main, from academics, consultants and scientists in local and national government, who share an interest in spatial issues.
As with all the RSAI sections (national and regional associations), the British and Irish Section seeks to promote the study of regional and urban phenomena and the advancement of regional science. Regional Science is a multi-disciplinary field, with a strong foundation in quantitative methods, encompassing expertise in economics as well as geography, planning, mathematics and sociology. With the development of the interest in spatial issues across a range of fields (economic geography, spatial economics, regional studies, urban economics, spatial econometrics, etc) as well as in policy (see, for example, at the European level the European Spatial Development Perspective), regional science has become at the centre of the development of theory and method in urban and regional analysis and policy.