Call for Panel Proposals

Dear IRSPM members, colleagues, and friends,

On behalf of the Scientific and Local Organising Committee for the 2025 Annual IRSPM Conference we cordially invite you to submit proposals on Conference panels.

The Department of Management at the University of Bologna, Italy is happy to host the IRSPM Conference on 7 - 9 April 2025 on the theme of “Civic engagement and social capital in contemporary public management: facing the challenges of social equity and environmental sustainability”. This theme is deeply connected to Italy’s and Bologna’s history of civic engagement and local governance.

Conference themes

Civic engagement, and social capital, are often highlighted as central factors in shaping public administration governance and performance, but also collective responses to important challenges, among which rising inequalities, climate change and environmental (un)sustainability stand out. The Conference will encourage academics to explore the increasingly complex relationships between citizens and their communities (be they virtual or physical), the environment, and public administration and services. In particular, it will emphasise the role of social capital and civic engagement in shaping (and being shaped by) the governance and management of public services, and to bring about a more socially equitable and environmentally sustainable world.

The aim is to explore the dynamic relationship between three pivotal pillars: citizens and their communities, government, and the environment. In particular, it will serve as a platform to delve deep into the following interconnected themes.

Citizen-Government Interactions, Civic Engagement, and Social Capital: The Conference will focus on the role of civic engagement and social capital in shaping and being shaped by governance, accountability, and performance. These are areas where the IRSPM community has traditionally provided a very strong theoretical and empirical contribution, and the Conference will thus represent an important platform for further fostering debates on the relationship between citizens’ forms of engagement, social capital, and public administration governance and management. In particular, the Conference will encourage a reflection on how current knowledge, practice and policies can support change towards more equitable societies, and sustainable environment, in a context shaped by fast technological advancements. 

Social Equity, and Sustainability: The exacerbation of inequalities, and the challenges posed by climate change have very significant implications for the public management community, yet engagement on these issues is likely to become even more central in the years to come. This Conference aims to bring together advanced ideas on how social equity and sustainability can be infused into the governance and management of public services. The Conference serves as an ideal moment to connect these concepts with practical public management applications and share the most recent innovations and best practices. The Conference will thus represent an important platform to explore innovative approaches in ensuring that environmental and inclusivity considerations find full expression in public management and governance. In particular, it seeks to address the following questions: “How can the voices and needs of vulnerable citizens and minority groups, future generations, and the environment be adequately represented and included in policy and public services? How can public management practices contribute to sustainability, and what solutions exist to bridge the gap between theory and practice?

Digital Transformation: Underlying the above considerations is the awareness of the increasing centrality of digital transformation in affecting public services, public management, and citizens-government interactions. The Conference will thus represent an opportunity to explore the above phenomena in light of the increasing influence of digital technologies, social media, and artificial intelligence on citizens’ lives and interactions with governments, and on the role, responsibilities, and tasks of public managers.

IRSPM uses a two-stage process in compiling the Conference programme: a call for panel proposals followed by a call for abstract.

Call for Panel Proposals

Panel proposals should address either the Conference theme or another key issue in theory and knowledge in public management, governance or policy. Collaborative proposals are particularly welcome with two or three co-chairs.

The Scientific Committee will evaluate these in terms of their contribution both to our research community and to the coherence of the Conference programme.

This call is open to IRSPM Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and to any IRSPM member or other colleague with compelling ideas on bringing together people and knowledge, on sharing experiences, discussing lessons learned, and new methods and concepts. The proposal can include more traditional as well as novel formats for our panels.

Whilst it is recognised that the content of any panel is dependent upon the submissions made to it, and their overall quality, the Local Organising Committee asks all panel Chairs to take due consideration of gender and diversity balance in their panels and in arrangements for chairing their panel sessions.

Please note that in the case of similar or overlapping panel submissions, the Scientific Committee may ask panel chairs to collaborate in leading consolidated panels to ensure the overall coherence of the Conference.

Successful panel chairs will then be invited to circulate a ‘call for abstracts’ for their panel, both through the Conference website and their own networks.

For those panels accepted by the Scientific Committee, it is the responsibility of the panel chair(s) to:

  • assist in soliciting abstracts for papers and review them in line with the Conference guidelines and deadlines,
  • ensure the acceptance and rejection of papers in a timely manner based on the communicated timelines and deadlines
  • provide adequate feedback to be forwarded to authors,
  • plan the scheduling of papers in their panel track in collaboration with the Local Organising Committee and arrange for discussants if appropriate,
  • provide a nomination from their panel for the Best paper award,
  • at the Conference, ensure that arrangements are in place for the chairing and moderation of panel sessions, and
  • at the conclusion of the Conference, complete a brief evaluation.

Submission of Panel Proposals


All panel proposals should include:

  1. The name(s) and affiliation(s) of the chair(s) and a contact email(s),
  2. The title of the panel,
  3. A description of the panel topic, with introduction and theoretical framework & methods. An explanation of its contribution to the field of public management should be mentioned.


Proposals must not exceed 700 words. Longer proposals will be rejected.

The Conference language is English, thus all panel proposals (and subsequent papers) must be written in English.


  • The proposal for a panel should be submitted via below link to the online submission form by 5 July 2024
  • Notification of accepted panels will be provided by 20 August 2024
  • The call for paper abstracts will open on 16 September 2024


                                       Submit Your Proposal

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