NUI Galway Researchers to Support Rural Regeneration in New EU Project

May 29 2019 Posted: 09:59 CDT

A new four-year, €5.9 million RURALIZATION project aims to develop knowledge and support policy making to help answer some of the challenges facing rural areas and support rural regeneration. The Rural Studies Cluster at the Discipline of Geography, NUI Galway, is part of the RURALIZATION project that involves partner organisations across 12 European countries.

At NUI Galway, the project is led by Dr Maura Farrell, Lecturer in the Discipline of Geography, School of Geography and Archaeology. Dr Farrell said: “The balanced development of the EU is threatened by the unequal development of urban and rural areas. The issue of regenerating rural areas is not new. Innovative solutions exist, but need to be better applied and adapted. One size doesn’t fit all. What is unique about this project is that it will find these solutions, assess and develop them with people in rural areas where they are used, and then look at how they can be applied in new contexts. The project also uses innovative methods, assessing the dreams of youth for rural futures, which then feeds into a proposed set of renewed policy options.”

Rural areas face specific constraints related to depopulation, apparently poor development opportunities and the transition from reliance on primary sectors, such as farming and forestry. Funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme, RURALIZATION will work to develop knowledge and support policy making in answering some of these challenges. In particular the project will improve understanding of rural regeneration, including the issue of access to land, define innovative instruments and strategies to facilitate generational renewal in agriculture and rural development, as well as support policy making to make rural dreams for new rural generations come true.

Two Irish organisations, NUI Galway and Teagasc, are among the partnership of 18 organisations involved. The research team from NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography are Dr Maura Farrell, Principal Investigator, Dr Aisling Murtagh, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Dr Marie Mahon, Dr Therese Conway, Dr John McDonagh and Dr Shane Conway.

The diverse project partnership includes universities, research institutes, SMEs and other practitioners such as five members of the Access to Land Network. This multi-disciplinary consortium will put in place research and innovation activities ensuring the involvement of farmers, young people and rural entrepreneurs, following a multi-actor approach.

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