Pan-European transfer of good practices in rural innovation

RegioStars 2012 FinalistUnder the RUR@CT project a network of European regions has been brought together to jointly reinforce the effectiveness and efficiency of rural development through the transfer of good practices in the area of rural innovation.

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The RUR@CT network brings together 32 member regions and 30 partner regions with similar socio-economic characteristics. Through the grouping, experiences and good practices are shared and ‘exported’ to other regions where they are adapted to the local context and implemented.

Within the RUR@CT network, ‘rural innovation’ is understood in broad terms not only as technological, but also as economic, social and/or organisational innovation in rural areas.

Strengthening the effectiveness of rural development

The network’s overall objective is to strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of rural development policies at regional level through the successful transfer of good practices between European regions.

RUR@CT is underpinned by an online database, which currently makes available 155 good practices related to rural innovation. The content is segmented into areas such as ‘accessibility and new infrastructures’; ‘services to the population’; ‘demographic challenges’ etc. Each good practice is described, analysed and classified according to its level of innovation and suitability for transfer.

Innovative methodology

The RUR@CT methodology aims to ensure effectiveness and sustainability by detailing all the steps needed for the transfer as well as the role of the importing and exporting regions.

The results of RUR@CT’s work and the achievement of its objectives can be seen in the development of some 40 Action Plans which have been inspired by the good practices of the ‘exporting regions’. These Action Plans have a catalytic role in the development of innovative regional policies since they define the conditions and the structure for the implementation of such policies.

The transfer of good practice enables the emergence of innovative and concrete rural development projects which are led by a mix of stakeholders: small and medium-sized enterprises, local authorities, civil society, and research institutions.

In the area of ‘environmental innovation’, for example, good practice on awareness-raising initiatives for energy-saving in high schools is to be transferred from Baden-Württemberg (DE) to Limousin (FR).

In the area of ‘organisational innovation’, good practice developed in the wool sector can help others better organise and structure their wool industry at regional level, while reinforcing their marketing approach. Good practice from Jämtland (SE) is currently being implemented in Limousin.

The guarantee for sustainability is the existence of a complete database of good practices relating to all dimensions of ‘rural innovation’ that is regularly updated. The existence of this database and the detailed methodology facilitate future transfer opportunities and secure the implementation of transferred good practices.

Total and EU funding

The project “RUR@CT – Régions actrices de l’innovation rurale” has a total eligible budget of EUR 2 000 000 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 1 000 000 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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