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Innovating Rural Development: RISE Joins HORIZON Europe's RURACTIVE Research Project

Rural communities and regions in Europe possess considerable potential to transform into thriving hubs of innovation, rooted in local resources, grassroots initiatives, creativity, and social inclusion. By harnessing the power of digital innovation, the valorisation of local assets, and training, rural areas can aspire to become appealing destinations for residents, employees, and visitors alike. The newly launched research initiative, RURACTIVE - Empowering Rural Communities for Action and Change, aims to leverage this potential by developing and implementing novel strategies that facilitate a sustainable and equitable transition, aligning with European objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Empowering Rural Communities for a Fair and Sustainable Transition RURACTIVE will collaborate closely with 12 pilot regions, referred to as dynamos, to establish local Multi-Actor Rural Innovation Ecosystems. To ensure their long-term viability, the project will place significant emphasis on enhancing multi-level governance, providing training and capacity development, advancing place-based progress, and fostering inclusive processes. This will extend to more vulnerable demographics, including senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, migrants, and refugees. The project will also promote innovation led by women and address gender-related challenges in marginalized areas throughout its duration. Recognizing that digital connectivity and education are fundamental catalysts for economic diversification and intelligent solutions, the project's core objective is to deliver digital skills training and resources to rural communities.

"I am delighted to announce our participation in the RURACTIVE project, 'Empowering Rural Communities for Action and Change.' Rural development is an essential aspect of Europe's future, and through RURACTIVE, we aim to drive positive change in rural communities. I am particularly thrilled that Grad Zadar and its rural areas from Croatia are joining this consortium. Their involvement underscores the project's commitment to inclusive and sustainable rural development. Together with 12 other dynamic pilot regions, we will work to establish Multi-Actor Rural Innovation Ecosystems, fostering innovation, inclusivity, and economic diversification. RURACTIVE's focus on digital skills training and resource delivery is vital for the growth and prosperity of these regions, and we look forward to working collaboratively to make a real impact. This project aligns perfectly with European objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals, and I am excited about the transformation it will bring to rural areas across Europe" – said Smiljka Vikić-Topić, Head of RISE Office.

For additional information about RURACTIVE, please refer to the project's official website.