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  • BAB 062/22: Rural Sustainability Transitions through Integration of Knowledge for improved policy processes - RUSTIK

BAB 062/22: Rural Sustainability Transitions through Integration of Knowledge for improved policy processes - RUSTIK

Horizon Europe Projekt

The project was tendered in the Horizon Europe Programme in the area of promoting "resilient rural communities" under the title "Grasping rural diversity and strengthening evidence for tailored policies enhancing the contribution of rural communities to ecological, digital and social transitions (RIA)" (CL6-2021-COMMUNITIES-01-01). In view of insufficient impacts and the increasing challenges posed by social and ecological developments, this call for proposals provides for intensified analysis of societal adaptation needs and support for effective rural policy-making processes.
The evaluation of previous developments in rural regions and relevant policy programmes has identified deficiencies in both the targeted implementation and the processing of relevant spatially differentiated information. This differentiation is necessary on the one hand due to the diversity of characteristics and institutional structures and organisation in the rural regions, and on the other hand to capture local, small-scale specificities and participation structures. Accordingly, targeted policy instruments should pay attention to the strategic orientation of the different levels of action and the effective design of policies in order to support urgent transformation processes in terms of ecological, social and digital adaptation in view of climate change, ecological threats and socio-economic marginalisation processes of rural regions. The political focus on these programmes can be justified, among other things, by the special functions that rural areas also provide for other types of areas.


Building on an improved analytical understanding of the "functions" of rural areas and the processes for achieving sustainable and resilient spatial development, the project should therefore contribute to an area-specific examination of effective implementation examples. In particular, supplementary information systems on relevant data regarding rural regions for spatially differentiated assessments are to be developed and tested. These are to be examined for their suitability for the implementation of "rural proofing" methods and used to achieve resilient adaptation processes in rural regions. A knowledge-based participation strategy of local actors and decision-makers in 14 European pilot regions will be developed for this increased impact orientation of existing (or future) support programmes. These adapted methods should enable an improved understanding of the different characteristics of rural regions, contribute to the planning and collection of relevant data structures and information needs, and develop a basis for effective adaptation processes for rural development policies at local, regional, national and EU level.

Planned procedure, implementation

The international project, coordinated by IfLS (DE), was selected for implementation by the EU Commission in February 2022. After the elaboration of the contract, it will be implemented with the 30 project partners over a project period of 4 years starting in summer 2022. In Austria, the Federal Institute for Agricultural Economics and Mining Research (BAB) will contribute as a scientific partner to the theoretical conception and analysis and will be responsible in particular for Work Package 5 (synthesis of the work of the pilot regions and policy implementation). As an Austrian study region, the region of Upper Carinthia is represented by a practice partner (Regionalverband Nockregion - RVN) and will bring the special conditions of this mountain region, exemplary for this spatial type of rural regions, into the project work. Due to the participatory character of the project, a close cooperation of the two Austrian partners is planned in order to be able to adequately include the possibilities and results of the participation in the project results.
As usual in Horizon Europe projects, a series of deliverables and milestones has been agreed upon for the entire course of the project, through which the respective results of the project work will be summarised and made accessible. Further publications and dissemination of the results at different levels will be defined by the project partners in the exploitation plan at the start of the project.

Time schedule

Project start: probably summer 2022
Project end: 2026

Project Leader


Mag.a Ingrid MACHOLD

Mountain Areas Research and Regional Development



Mag. Lisa Bauchinger

Mountain Areas Research and Regional Development
DAX, Thomas

Dr. Thomas Dax

Mountain Areas Research and Regional Development

Mountain Areas Research and Regional Development


Mountain Areas Research and Regional Development
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