Frequently Asked Questions – SIMRA

How does SIMRA work?

   How is SIMRA funded?  Read More

SIMRA is funded through the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under grant agreement 677622. SIMRA is a Research and Innovation Action (RIA) project under topic ISIB-03-2015 “Unlocking the growth potential of rural areas through enhanced governance and social innovation”.

   What kind of actions is SIMRA working on?  Read More

  • Develop a theoretical framework to define and understand social innovation dynamics
  • Develop a set of variables to assess diverging paths of social innovations in marginalised rural areas
  • Launch of digital platforms for exchange of knowledge and transdisciplinary dialogue on social innovation
  • Categorise, characterise and map marginalised rural areas throughout Europe and the Mediterranean countries
  • Launch of interactive database of social innovation examples
  • Selection and in-depth analysis of social innovation case studies
  • Definition of a method to assess social innovation and its impacts in rural areas
  • Organization of transdisciplinary workshops to transfer knowledge on social innovation
  • Analyse policies that influence social innovation and formulate guidelines for policy-makers
  • Disseminate results and guidelines to policymakers and end-users
  • Create a collaborative MOOC (Massive On-line Open Course)
  • Implement social innovation actions

   What are SIMRA innovation actions?  Read More

SIMRA will identify and promote embryos of social innovation initiatives in selected regions (IT-Veneto, UK-Lancashire, NW-Lillehammer, Lebanon, ES-Catalonia and Aragón). SIMRA partners working on these regions will act as innovative actions implementers, will promote these social innovation embryos through facilitating and coaching the social innovation implementation. This foresees meetings with local stakeholders, training of local actors who implement the social innovations, the co-development of a social innovation feasibility plan.

   Where are the case studies located? Read More

You can find the list of case studies here.

   Why is involving stakeholders important for SIMRA?  Read More

The design and management of the project ensures that networking and knowledge exchange takes place at all stages of SIMRA and includes the active involvement of actors who, in turn, are part of the intended audience for research findings. The SIMRA transdisciplinary strategy integrates closely and from the very start of the project those initiating and benefiting from social innovations in order to learn about stakeholders and end-users’ motivations and experiences of support to socially innovative actions and/or of barriers encountered. SIMRA has for aim to create a transparent and open-ended approach and to produce socially innovative solutions to problems in MRAs by actively engaging stakeholders acting in the fields of forestry, agriculture and rural development right from the outset of the project in order.
The involvement of stakeholders is thus important for creating collaborative learning and networking opportunities and launching innovative actions at different/multiple scales, with continuous interactions among researchers, ‘knowledge brokers’ and stakeholders to foster and mainstream social innovation, leaving a durable legacy.

   What are the different stakeholders involved in SIMRA?   Read More

The SIMRA project foresees the involvement of three typologies of stakeholders, as follows:#1 Stakeholders involved in the SITT (Social Innovation Think tank – see next question) are representatives of key organizations and actors in rural development, agriculture and forestry at international, national and regional levels (in European, Associated and non-EU-countries) including qualified academic experts.#2 Stakeholders directly linked to Case Studies and Innovation Actions. This group will be created in accordance with WP3 (collecting examples of social innovation and selecting the case studies), WP5 (case study assessment) and WP7 (Innovation Actions), starting from the list of actors identified as involved in candidate case studies and innovation actions.#3 Other locally and regionally grounded stakeholders – constituting a larger platform from outside the case studies areas. This group will be identified based on online instruments (such as the Rural Development Helpdesk around Europe) or snow-ball approach starting from key stakeholders already involved in the project.

   What is the Social Innovation Think Thank?  Read More

The Social Innovation Think Tank (SITT) consists of invited stakeholders actively working in the field of SIMRA focus. These experts will provide critical feedback from an external perspective and, when necessary, will offer guidance, practical guidelines and recommendations. They already participated in a first meeting in Bratislava in October 2016 and are part of SIMRA online platform discussion forum.. The feedback from this first meeting was taken into account in SIMRA’s definition of social innovation and mapping of marginalised rural areas, as well as parameters to consider when evaluating social innovation.The transdisciplinary nature of the project means that members of the SIMRA Think Tank will participate over the course of the project in research development and knowledge transfer meanwhile local actors will be directly involved in steering and working groups at case study levels.

   What are some of the expected impacts?   Read More

SIMRA will develop a framework for understanding social innovation dynamics in marginalised rural areas and methods to identify and evaluate social innovation, as well as ways of supporting and sustaining socially innovative initiatives, in order to bridge the existing gap on that subject between research, policy and practice.SIMRA will support the widest possible community engaging in social innovation, particularly in Mediterranean marginalised rural areas. The aim is to create thanks to the project collaborative and learning opportunities where local stakeholders (communities, researchers, businesses) could work together towards the realization of social innovation initiatives (new networks, business opportunities, etc.), which could leave a lasting legacy in the area where they are promoted.

A few definitions

   What is social innovation?  Read More

For the SIMRA consortium, social innovation refers to “the reconfiguring of social practices, in response to societal challenges, which seeks to enhance outcomes on societal well-being and necessarily includes the engagement of civil society actors”.

   What is a marginalised rural area?  Read More

Some characteristics for defining marginalised rural areas within SIMRA are:

  • Marginal in terms of limited access to infrastructure, using indicators of access to the internet from home; and accessibility by local road transport
  • Marginalised populations (i.e. societal marginality): criteria may include: a) people with (very) low incomes (as measured by GDP); b) high proportion of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion; c) high levels of infant mortality; d) high proportion of early leavers form education and training.

   Do you have examples of social innovation in marginalised rural areas?Read More

Several examples can be found on SIMRA website, including here and here. A database of social innovation examples is currently being developed. If you have some interesting examples, do not hesitate to share them with us .

How can I participate?

   How do I get involved?  Read More

If you are a business, a farmer, a worker in local or regional authorities, member of a SI initiative or a researcher there are many opportunities for you to get involved in SIMRA:

  • Suggest a case study and help us learn more about existing social innovations by writing to us or using the contact form on our website
  • Explore our database of social innovation examples and send in your own
  • Contribute to our blog by writing to us or using the contact form on our website
  • Download our resources
  • Follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook
  • Start a discussion in our LinkedIn group
  • Get in touch by writing to:

   Where do I find further documentation about SIMRA?  Read More

In the Resources section of SIMRA’s website, you will find the newsletter and the brochure translated in several languages. More resources, including the deliverables, will be available in the coming months.

   Can I participate to some meetings to know more about the subject?  Read More

Several events will be public:

  • Training courses and MOOC on social innovation in marginalised rural areas available in 2019
  • Final conference (early 2020)

   I would like to invite a representative of SIMRA to present the project and its results to my organisation / to my event, whom should I contact? Read More

You can contact us by using this email address: or directly get in touch with the partner closest to you.