Project objectives


RURALITIES utilises a comprehensive ecosystem-based approach, integrating knowledge from social sciences and humanities. It adopts a methodology that encompasses various points of expertise and learning, facilitated by a network of actors and facilities from the project targeted intervention areas. This approach effectively builds the capacity of rural communities, promoting sustainable, balanced, and inclusive development of simplified socio-ecological systems (SIMSES). Additionally, RURALITIES raises awareness among rural communities about the diverse factors driving climate change challenges and provides pathways to overcome or mitigate them.

To achieve these goals, RURALITIES establishes a network of rural expertise and training centers organised in hubs. These centers form a knowledge alliance that incorporates cutting-edge concepts such as smart villages and eco-villages, among others. Supporting these efforts is a community of practice, a digital collaborative platform, a citizen-led network of living labs, and a citizen science sensing monitoring framework.

All-in-all, RURALITIES aims to create a robust infrastructure for knowledge sharing, capacity building, and sustainable development in rural areas. By combining interdisciplinary expertise, innovative concepts, and community engagement, RURALITIES seeks to empower rural communities to address climate change challenges effectively.

RURALITIES measurable objectives (MO) are structured as follow:

The project RURALITIES aims to engage, connect, and empower actors within the targeted simplified socio-ecological systems (SIMSES). This objective focuses on fostering collaboration and co-creation to establish a more inclusive, holistic, transparent, ecosystem-based, and knowledge-based approach.

To achieve this objective, RURALITIES implements a range of activities and mechanisms that encourage active participation and involvement from various stakeholders. These activities are designed to bring together actors from different sectors, including local communities, government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and experts in social sciences and humanities. By creating a collaborative space, RURALITIES enables these actors to exchange knowledge, share experiences, and jointly develop solutions for the sustainable development of rural areas.

One of the key mechanisms employed by RURALITIES is co-creation. This approach emphasises the active involvement of stakeholders throughout the project’s lifecycle, from problem identification to solution design and implementation. By engaging actors in a participatory process, RURALITIES ensures that their perspectives, needs, and aspirations are taken into account, leading to more inclusive and context-specific outcomes.

Furthermore, RURALITIES promotes a holistic approach that recognises the interconnectedness of social, economic, and environmental factors within SIMSES. This comprehensive perspective allows for the development of strategies and interventions that address multiple dimensions of rural development simultaneously. By considering the interdependencies and interactions among different components of the system, RURALITIES aims to avoid isolated or fragmented approaches, promoting a more coherent and effective implementation of sustainable practices.

Transparency is another crucial element of Measurable Objective 1. RURALITIES emphasises the importance of open communication, information sharing, and decision-making processes that involve all relevant actors. By promoting transparency, the project seeks to build trust and foster collaboration among stakeholders, enabling more effective and equitable governance of SIMSES.

Additionally, RURALITIES recognises the value of an ecosystem-based and knowledge-based approach. This involves understanding and integrating the ecological and socio-cultural dynamics of the targeted rural areas. By considering the intricate relationships between natural resources, human activities, and local knowledge systems, RURALITIES aims to develop strategies that are both environmentally sustainable and socially relevant. This approach leverages scientific knowledge, traditional wisdom, and innovative practices to inform decision-making processes and shape the development pathways of SIMSES.

In summary, Measurable Objective 1 of RURALITIES focuses on engaging, connecting, and empowering actors within targeted SIMSES through collaborative activities and mechanisms. By adopting an inclusive, holistic, transparent, ecosystem-based, and knowledge-based approach, RURALITIES strives to foster sustainable and context-specific solutions that address the diverse needs and challenges of rural communities.

The project RURALITIES aims to characterize both the specific simplified socio-ecological systems (SIMSES) and the broader national, pan-European, and pan-African Union rural landscapes. This characterization process serves to facilitate the development of knowledge and structure the goals of the project, ensuring they are linked to concrete needs, competences, and solutions.

To achieve this objective, RURALITIES implements a comprehensive assessment and analysis of the targeted SIMSES. This entails gathering and analyzing data on various aspects, including the ecological, social, economic, and cultural dimensions of these specific rural systems. By understanding the unique characteristics, challenges, and potentials of the SIMSES, RURALITIES can tailor its interventions and strategies to address their specific needs.

In addition to the specific SIMSES, RURALITIES takes a broader perspective by characterizing the national rural landscapes. This involves examining the rural areas within the respective countries where the project is implemented. By considering the national context, RURALITIES can identify commonalities, disparities, and trends that exist across different regions and develop strategies that account for national policies, regulations, and development priorities.

Furthermore, RURALITIES extends its characterization efforts to encompass the pan-European and pan-African Union rural landscapes. This broader scope allows for a comparative analysis of rural areas across different countries and continents. By examining similarities, differences, and shared challenges, RURALITIES can identify best practices, transferable knowledge, and potential collaborations that can contribute to the development of sustainable rural communities.

The characterization process conducted by RURALITIES serves as a foundation for knowledge development and goal setting. By collecting and analyzing relevant data, the project gains insights into the specific needs, resources, and capacities of the SIMSES and the larger rural landscapes. This knowledge forms the basis for identifying gaps, areas of improvement, and opportunities for intervention.

By linking the characterization findings to concrete needs, competences, and solutions, RURALITIES ensures that its goals and strategies are evidence-based and contextually relevant. The project can prioritize interventions that address the identified challenges, leverage existing competences and resources, and align with the aspirations and priorities of the local communities and relevant stakeholders.

Summarising, Measurable Objective 1 of RURALITIES emphasizes the importance of understanding and characterizing the SIMSES, national rural landscapes, and broader pan-European and pan-African Union rural contexts. This characterization process facilitates the development of knowledge and the structuring of goals that are rooted in the specific needs, competences, and solutions of these rural areas. By adopting this approach, RURALITIES aims to maximize the impact and effectiveness of its interventions, leading to sustainable and inclusive development outcomes.

The RURALITIES project has a specific goal of generating instruments and mechanisms to expedite the innovation cycle of identified projects that address the needs of rural communities. These resources and tools are made accessible through the RURALITIES resources platform, and they are aligned with the six objectives outlined in the EU Taxonomy Regulation.

To achieve this objective, RURALITIES focuses on fostering innovation in rural development by providing practical support and guidance to project initiatives. The project recognizes that innovation plays a crucial role in driving sustainable and inclusive development in rural areas. By shortening the innovation cycle, RURALITIES aims to accelerate the implementation of projects that address the specific challenges and opportunities faced by rural communities.

The RURALITIES resources platform serves as a central hub where relevant tools, methodologies, and best practices are made available to project initiators and stakeholders. This platform provides a repository of knowledge and practical resources that can assist in different stages of project development, from concept design to implementation and evaluation. By making these resources easily accessible, RURALITIES aims to facilitate the sharing of expertise, exchange of ideas, and replication of successful models across different rural communities.

Importantly, the project’s resources and mechanisms are framed within the six objectives of the EU Taxonomy Regulation. The EU Taxonomy Regulation is a framework that aims to identify economic activities contributing to environmental sustainability. By aligning with this regulation, RURALITIES ensures that the projects and initiatives supported through its resources platform are in line with the EU’s sustainable development goals and environmental standards.

The six objectives of the EU Taxonomy Regulation include climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources, transition to a circular economy, pollution prevention and control, and protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems. RURALITIES integrates these objectives into its resources, ensuring that the identified projects and initiatives address one or more of these key areas.

By aligning with the EU Taxonomy Regulation, RURALITIES enhances the credibility and relevance of the supported projects, as they contribute to the broader European sustainability agenda. This alignment also enables project initiators to access additional funding opportunities and leverage policy support within the EU framework.

Summarising, RURALITIES aims to generate instruments and mechanisms that expedite the innovation cycle of projects addressing rural communities. By offering these resources through the RURALITIES platform and aligning with the objectives of the EU Taxonomy Regulation, the project facilitates the implementation of sustainable initiatives that address the specific needs and challenges of rural areas while contributing to the broader European sustainability agenda.

The RURALITIES project recognizes the importance of establishing expertise centers on rural innovation in the targeted simplified socio-ecological systems (SIMSES). These centers serve as hubs for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and capacity building, bringing together key actors from the rural scene. The project aims to strengthen links and foster collaboration between these rural actors, their initiatives, and other research and innovation actors.

The expertise centers play a vital role in creating a supportive ecosystem for rural innovation. They serve as focal points where actors from diverse backgrounds, including local communities, government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and experts in various fields, can converge and collaborate. By establishing these centers within the project’s SIMSES, RURALITIES ensures that the expertise and resources are accessible and relevant to the specific rural contexts.

The expertise centers act as platforms for knowledge sharing and capacity building. They facilitate the exchange of experiences, best practices, and lessons learned among different actors, allowing for the transfer of knowledge from research and innovation institutions to rural communities and vice versa. By leveraging the expertise and insights of these key actors, RURALITIES aims to enhance the effectiveness and impact of rural development initiatives.

Furthermore, the establishment of expertise centers creates opportunities for collaboration between rural actors’ initiatives and other research and innovation actors. By connecting rural communities and organizations with broader research and innovation networks, RURALITIES promotes cross-sectoral collaborations and interdisciplinary approaches. This collaboration can lead to the co-creation of innovative solutions, the sharing of resources and expertise, and the identification of new avenues for rural development.

Through these collaborations, RURALITIES aims to bridge the gap between academic research, practical implementation, and community-driven initiatives. By fostering dialogue and cooperation between different actors, the project encourages the integration of local knowledge, traditional practices, and scientific expertise. This holistic approach ensures that the solutions developed and implemented are contextually appropriate, sustainable, and responsive to the needs of rural communities.

The expertise centers also contribute to capacity building by providing training, workshops, and mentoring opportunities for rural actors. These capacity-building activities enhance the skills, competences, and entrepreneurial mindset of individuals and organizations involved in rural innovation. By empowering rural actors with the necessary knowledge and tools, RURALITIES aims to promote local ownership, sustainability, and long-term impact in rural development initiatives.

Summarising, the establishment of expertise centers in the RURALITIES project serves as a catalyst for collaboration, knowledge exchange, and capacity building in rural innovation. By strengthening links between rural actors’ initiatives and other research and innovation actors, the project promotes interdisciplinary approaches, facilitates the transfer of knowledge, and fosters sustainable and inclusive rural development.

The RURALITIES project recognizes the importance of establishing training centers as part of its overall strategy to promote rural development. These training centers are designed to provide a comprehensive learning framework that encompasses various disciplines and proficiencies related to the project’s work program outcomes, as well as the call and work program impacts destination.

The training centers serve as focal points for capacity building and skills development within the targeted simplified socio-ecological systems (SIMSES). They are rooted in a learning framework that integrates a wide range of disciplines and proficiencies relevant to rural development. These may include subjects such as agriculture, environmental sciences, social sciences, economics, community development, sustainable tourism, and entrepreneurship, among others. By incorporating these diverse disciplines, RURALITIES ensures a holistic and multidimensional approach to capacity building.

The learning framework within the training centers is designed to align with the project’s work program outcomes. These outcomes are the specific objectives and deliverables outlined in the project’s plan and are tied to the overarching goals of promoting sustainable, balanced, and inclusive development within rural communities. The training centers focus on developing the knowledge, skills, and competences that are necessary to achieve these outcomes effectively.

Furthermore, the learning framework is also interlinked with the call and the work program impacts destination. The call refers to the specific funding opportunity or initiative that RURALITIES responded to, while the work program impacts destination represents the desired long-term impacts that the project aims to achieve. The training centers ensure that the capacity-building activities are aligned with the objectives and priorities set forth in these documents, ensuring a clear path towards generating meaningful and sustainable impacts in rural areas.

The training centers within RURALITIES adopt a participatory and experiential learning approach. They provide a combination of theoretical knowledge, practical skills development, and hands-on learning opportunities. This allows participants to acquire both the theoretical understanding of relevant concepts and the practical application of those concepts within real-world rural contexts.

Moreover, the training centers facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration among participants. They create a supportive and interactive learning environment where participants can share their experiences, learn from one another, and foster networks and partnerships. This collaborative approach promotes peer-to-peer learning and encourages the co-creation of innovative solutions and approaches to rural development challenges.

By establishing training centers rooted in a comprehensive learning framework, RURALITIES ensures that the capacity-building activities are tailored to the specific needs, priorities, and aspirations of the targeted SIMSES. This approach fosters the acquisition of relevant skills, knowledge, and proficiencies that empower individuals and organizations to contribute effectively to sustainable rural development.

Overall, the training centers within RURALITIES play a crucial role in promoting capacity building and skills development in rural areas. Through their comprehensive learning framework encompassing relevant disciplines and proficiencies, they equip participants with the tools and knowledge needed to achieve the project’s work program outcomes, in line with the call and the work program impacts destination. By fostering collaborative learning and practical application, the training centers contribute to building a skilled and empowered workforce that can drive sustainable rural development forward.



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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program under grant agreement no 101060876. UK participants in Horizon Europe Project RURALITIES are supported by UKRI grant numbers: 10051963 The Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership and 10050988 Earthwatch Europe.