SIMRA – a European Cooperative Research project funded by the H2020 EU Framework Programme is making its first advances in identifying key success criteria and good practice examples for social innovation in some of the most marginalised rural areas in Europe. The project was born with the aim of decoding and explaining the criteria of what makes a good idea or project successful in often under populated, isolated or challenged geographical areas. It aims to drive innovative solutions through reconfiguring social practices and implementing proven and successful civil society actions. The SIMRA project is set to run from April 2016 to March 2020 and involves 26 organisations across Europe and the Mediterranean. The project aims to understand the mechanics behind the success of trialled and tested examples of innovation that improve people’s lives, add value to the local economy, enhance the circular economy (i.e. placing sustainable production and farming techniques at the core of all actions) and, encourage people to reinforce their “roots” in marginalised areas.
On behalf of the European Rural Development Network, the Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics hosted a conference on 3-4 October 2017 in Eisenstadt, Austria. It brought together around 50 researchers and policy makers from the European Union and neighbouring countries, giving lectures, presenting posters and participating in lively discussions.
Project H2020 SIMRA – Social Innovation in Marginalized Rural Areas was introduced in the invited lecture during the Slovakia’s National Info Day Horizon 2020, particularly considering the societal challenge 2 – “Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy. The event took place on November 7th, 2017 at the National Agricultural and Food Centre in Lužianky, with the participation of Marc Duponcel, the Head of the Research and Innovation of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development. Professor Tatiana Kluvánková presented the most important outcomes of SIMRA project gained during the first year of the project on behalf of SIMRA scientific team. Institute of Forest Ecology at Slovak Academy of Sciences within Centre of Excellence SPECTRA is participating in the project research as Slovak partner leading Work Package 2 dealing with the transdisciplinary understanding of social innovation in marginalized rural areas.