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IN-SIGHT — Result In Brief

Project ID: 44510
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Germany

Innovation systems for rural growth and development

EU-funded investigators sought to better understand innovation systems related to agriculture and rural areas with a focus on the link between research and practice in innovation chains and networks. Recommendations for innovation policy have the potential to enhance growth and development of rural areas.
Innovation systems for rural growth and development
Growth and development require many things for success. A key pillar is innovation and, as with everything else, valuable lessons can be learned both from those who have succeeded and those who have not.

Supported by EU funding, investigators of the ‘Strengthening innovation processes for growth and development’ (In-sight) project conducted research at the country level and focused on the types of innovation infrastructure required to meet the future needs of rural economies, including those based on agriculture and those endowed with natural resources.

A summary of reviews of seven European countries revealed several factors influencing innovations systems. The researchers identified the need for greater flexibility of organisations dealing with innovation. In addition, multi-actor innovation networks were deemed better at fostering innovation than formalised institutions.

Furthermore, constant cooperation via networking and education was seen as essential and was clearly supported by the case studies. The team extended the importance of cooperation emphasising the need to balance science and technology (S&T) policies with rural innovation policies.

Decentralisation of administration was identified as a strength of innovation systems. Having various bodies and actors involved at European, national, regional and local levels will allow for better detection of local issues and the opportunity to address them. Overall, the researchers identified openness and cooperation as the foundation of any successful innovation system.

In-sight provided a framework and recommendations to strengthen innovation in rural and agricultural areas with the potential to enhance growth and development by bringing new products and technologies to market or by utilising existing ones in new ways. The project outcomes could make an important impact on urbanisation by providing the incentive to young people to remain in rural areas without sacrificing productivity, technological savvy or survivability.

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