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RAPIDO — Result In Brief

Project ID: 44264
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Germany

Innovation embraces rural Europe

A study on how to improve innovation and knowledge transfer to support the development of rural areas could have positive repercussions on the economy and environment in these regions.
Innovation embraces rural Europe
Innovation and research form important pillars of the European economy today and are in line with the vision of the EU's knowledge-based economy. The EU-funded project 'Rural areas, people and innovative development' (Rapido) encouraged innovation and knowledge transfer in Europe's rural areas, focusing on agriculture, forestry and the food industry. This is important as rural areas exhibit more socioeconomic challenges such as ageing populations, relative seclusion and high unemployment. Rural areas also have an important impact on agricultural markets and local economies, making innovation there all the more important.

The project brought together researchers linked to innovation to work together through several workshops and initiatives. It investigated processes and actors in the three concerned industries across Europe and outlined recommendations on how to integrate EU objectives into rural development policies.

Rapido encouraged mutual learning related to rural development, assessing success factors and barriers to growth. It analysed the role of stakeholders such as public vs. private and outlined processes that facilitate innovation, including policymaking. In addition, the project assessed the role of the EU's Environmental Technology Action Plan (ETAP) to foster innovation in rural regions.

Towards the end of the project, Rapido outlined best practices related to innovation in rural areas. Through workshops and events it looked at agri-environmental schemes, coastal farm business, organic food production, renewable energy, job creation, information and communication technology (ICT), among other aspects. Rapido also articulated the socioeconomic and environmental benefits of rural innovation. All the project's findings and reports have been published on its website. Its policy briefs and recommendations are destined to support policymakers in improving the economy, environment and well-being of rural areas.

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