RSAI Founder's Medal

RSAI Founder's Medal


J F Thisse

Jacques Thisse



Geoffrey Hewings



 Manfred Fischer


Arthur Getis

(deceased, 2022)


Antoine Bailly

(deceased, 2021)


Peter Nijkamp



 David E. Boyce



Jean H. P. Paelinck



William Alonso

 (deceased, 1999)


Martin J. Beckmann

(deceased, 2017)


Walter Isard

(deceased, 2010)

rsai medalThe Regional Science Association was founded in 1954 to provide intellectual leadership in the study of social, economic, political and behavioural phenomena with a spatial dimension. Consequently, the Association brings together scholars from a large number of fields, including economics, geography, urban and regional planning, civil engineering, sociology, finance and political science. Members are found in academic institutions, in government, in consulting organizations and a variety of private firms. In 1990, the Association changed its organizational structure to better reflect the growth and development of the field; the Regional Science Association International now serves as an umbrella organization overseeing three major superregional organizations in North America, Europe and the Pacific.

The main objectives of the Association are the fostering of exchange of ideas and the promotion of studies focusing on the region, including the utilization of tools, methods and theoretical frameworks, specifically designed for regional analysis as well as concept, procedures and analytical techniques of the various social and other sciences. These objectives are supported through the acquaintance and discussion among its members and with scholars in related fields, by the encouragement of publication of scholarly studies and by performing services to aid the advancement of its members and the field of regional science. For more information contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Traditionally, the RSAI honoured its leading members through their election to the office of President. This practice changed in 1990, when the President became principally a leadership position in the Association. In 1978, the Association honoured its founder, Professor Walter Isard, by establishing the Founder's Medal. Today, this award remains the only honour conveyed by the Association as a whole, although its three supraregional organizations have established annual awards.

The Founder's Medal was established to recognize lifetime contributions to the field of Regional Science and to the Association. The criteria established for the award are as follows:

  • The recipient should be a senior scholar who has contributed in an important way to the field of Regional Science in a scholarly sense;
  • The recipient should have been active in the RSAI for a sustained period, but not necessarily active at the time of the award; also, the award is not given posthumously;
  • The recipient should be a person with whom many members can identify; his/her contributions could be a major work in one area or many works in several areas;
  • The contribution need not be limited to one type of contribution; it might be theory, method or policy, for example;
  • It is recognized that the native country and language of scholars affect the extent to which they are known by the membership, and an effort should be made to take this into account.

The recipients of the Founder's Medal:

  1. Walter Isard, Professor of Economics, Regional Science and Peace Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; in 1979, Professor Isard became Professor of Economics (Regional Science and Peace Science), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA; awarded in 1978 at the North American Meetings, Chicago.
  2. Martin J. Beckmann, Professor of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA, and Professor of Applied Mathematics (Operations Research), Technical University, Munich, Germany; awarded in 1983 at the North American Meetings, Chicago.

  3. William Alonso, Saltonstall Professor of Population Policy, Center for Population Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA; awarded in 1991 at the North American Meetings, New Orleans (deceased, 1999).

  4. Jean H. P. Paelinck, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Rotterdam School of Economics, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; awarded in 1996 at the World Congress, Tokyo.

  5. David E. Boyce, Professor of Transportation and Regional Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA; awarded in 2000 at the World Congress, Lugano.

  6. Peter Nijkamp, Chair and Professor of Regional and Urban Economics and Economic Geography, Free University, Amsterdam, and President of the governing board of the Netherlands Research Council; awarded in 2004 at the World Congress, Port Elizabeth.

  7. Antoine Bailly, Born in 1944, Antoine Bailly is professor emeritus of economic geography at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He is the president of the IGU Applied Geography Commission, of the Scientific Committee of the INRA PSDR (France) and of the Forum Sante Gesundheit (Switzerland). He was presented with the Founder's medal at ERSA conference Liverpool, August 2008. 

  8. Arthur Getis is a Distinguished Professor of Geography, Emeritus, at San Diego State University. He holds BS and MS degrees in Geography from The Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Washington, and his areas of research include spatial statistics, pattern analysis, urban geography, disease and crime clustering, and geographic information sciences. He was presented with the Founder's medal at the 9th World Congress in Timisoara, Romania, May 2012.

  9. Manfred M. Fischer is Chair Professor of Economic Geography at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. He was co-founder of the prominent interdisciplinary journal Geographical Systems (Gordon & Breach) and is now editor-in-chief of its successor, the Journal of Geographical Systems (Springer), and is a member of the editorial boards of several other peer-reviewed journals. He also co-founded the Springer book series, Advances in Spatial Science, and served for eight years as Chair of the IGU Commission on Mathematical Models. He was presented with the Founder's medal at the 56th ERSA Congress in Vienna, Austria, August 2016.

  10. Geoffrey Hewings was the founding Director of REAL and served in this position until August 2016. He obtained a B.A. from the University of Birmingham (UK) and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington (Seattle). Prior to coming to Illinois in 1974, he was on the faculty of the University of Kent at Canterbury (UK) and the University of Toronto (Canada). He is also a recipient of the Fulbright and the Woodrow Wilson awards and, in 2003, he has also been nominated Fellow of the Regional Science Association International. He is also Fellow of the International Input-Output Association (since 2010) and the Western Regional Science Association (also since 2010). Geoffrey has also served as President of the North American Regional Science Council, the Regional Science Association. He was presented with the Founder's medal in 2020.

  11. Jacques Thisse a Fellow of the Econometric Society, of the Regional Science Association International and of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, is professor Emeritus of economics and regional science at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and a member of CORE. He has published over 150 articles in different international journals (Econometrica, American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Theory, Operations Research, etc) and in different disciplines such as industrial economics, spatial economics, international economics and management science. He is the co-author of Discrete Choice Theory of Product differentiation and of Economics of Agglomeration. He is particularly interested in product differentiation, heterogeneous consumers and firms in various types of market structure and spatial settings, as well as in the spatial organization of economic activities. He has been a Visiting Invited Professor in many departments, most recently at Columbia economics department and has received many prestigious awards, amongst which the Solvay price of the Belgian Science foundation in 2006.

About Us

The Regional Science Association International (RSAI), founded in 1954, is an international community of scholars interested in the regional impacts of national or global processes of economic and social change.

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Regional Science Association International
University of Azores, Oficce 155-156, Rua Capitão João D'Ávila, 9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo, Azores, Portugal

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