The SIMRA project is managed through eight work packages (WP), each of which covers one or more aspects of the project.

WP1 (HUT): Scientific coordination of the project and its efficiency and quality. Read More

Its main objective is to sustain the conditions for successful implementation and completion of its research and operational aspects (social innovation actions). The tasks include: i) monitoring/controlling scientific quality of the work plan, its milestones and deliverables; ii) managing and resolving risks related to science; iii) managing the interactions with the European Comission funding agency in terms of scientific contents; iv) scientific coordination among WPs and partners, and leading on progress reporting; v) supporting the Executive Board (ExB) and Scientific Advisory Board.

WP2 (IFE SAS): Theoretical and operational approaches. Read More

We will develop the theoretical framework to define and conceptualise the process of assessing social innovations and an operational framework for trans-disciplinary engagement of stakeholders to put social innovation into action. The main objectives are to: i) develop a systematic basis/approach to clarify spatial and temporal dynamics of social innovations by identification of variables affecting the motivations and actions of multi-actors across various levels and dimensions of the territorial capital in marginalised rural areas; ii) elaborate a trans-disciplinary framework to engage stakeholders for the life of SImarginalised rural areas. The operational framework will elaborate further and adapt the Mc Ginnis and Ostrom’s framework (2012) to connect to social innovation processes in forestry, agriculture and rural development in marginalised rural areas. The framework will incorporate spatial and temporal dynamics of social innovations, by identifying the determinants that affect the motivations/actions of multiple actors engaged across various levels and concerning the key dimensions of social innovation and territorial capital. Furthermore, interactive mapping of stakeholder views, e.g. using a mapping tool by Stirling (2007), will integrate these to the design and implementation of the objectives. The frameworks developed in WP2 will be used throughout the project: from social innovation evaluation design to innovation actions.

WP3 (PERTHCOLLEGE): Holistic analysis and categorisation of existing examples of social innovations. Read More

Objectives are to: i) define and categorise types of marginalised rural areas in candidate countries, the drivers of marginalisation and related societal challenges (e.g. limited employment opportunities, depopulation, lack of public services, climate change, consumption/degradation of resources, cohesion) which characterise each region; ii) use this categorisation to establish a database of case studies of social innovations in agriculture, forestry and rural development; iii) based on WP2 hypotheses, develop variables for explaining diverging paths of social innovations to create a set of case studies for evaluation (these hypotheses will be tested in WP5, while case study final selection will be based on stakeholder engagement defined by WP2).

WP4 (UNIPD): An innovative integrated set of methods developed, tested, refined and finalised. Read More

This will allow integration of different assessment strategies, methodologies and operational tools to measure social innovation and its impacts. We will develop: i) guidelines to identify/analyze/adapt/integrate existing methods to evaluate social innovation and its impacts on components of territorial capital in rural areas (specifically marginalised rural areas) at various levels; ii) a set of methods that can be chosen/adapted/combined sequentially case by case, and by means depending on needs (e.g. social innovation to be evaluated; evaluation objectives, e.g. jointly measuring all the impacts or only economic; ex post, in itinere, or ex ante). We will apply quantitative-based (e.g. indicators), qualitative-based (interviews, focus groups, etc.) and mixed methods (e.g. MCA, Section 1.3.1) for assessing social innovation, measuring its impacts and understanding processes/ policies. The selected, advanced and combined set of methods will be integrated with existing assessment frameworks (e.g. CMEF). Special attention will be given to the economic, social and institutional/political (governance) aspects of social innovation, e.g. social innovation’s role in enhancing businesses/ entrepreneurship options, creating conditions for accessing new markets and providing new investment opportunities, and the means of increasing/reinforcing social capital as a key factor for local development.

WP5 (EFI MED): Evaluation of social innovation case studies. Read More

WP5 will collect and analyse empirical evidence of social innovation and its impacts in selected case studies representing the variety of marginalised rural areas and social innovations. case studies will vary from entrepreneurial social innovation initiatives to network-based ones at sub-national or inter-regional level. Using research methods designed in WP4 and interacting with WP2, case study selection and analysis will guarantee consistency among case studies and scales to extract relevant knowledge of and conclusions on social innovation activities, organisations/networks in agriculture, forestry and rural development. The set of case studies will allow a ‘with-without’ social innovation comparison (counterfactual approach) and the application of co-constructed analytical tools to explain why regions with similar initial conditions display diverging paths regarding social innovation outcomes. WP5 will feed back to WP4 in terms of applicability and refining of the developed method.

WP6 (BOKU): Policy and practice: analysis and recommendations for policy-makers, stakeholders and end-users. Read More

Based on work in previous WPs, WP6 will examine the current political framework conditions, e.g. adapting policy design for democracy analyses (Schneider & Ingram, 2013) to analyse how far and in which way policy designs support or hinder social innovation. It will analyse social innovation-related policies and governance using empirical case study evidence to scrutinise the role of social capital, local engagement and governance in social innovation (and vice versa), and multi-level governance problems. Special attention will be given to the role of institutional/political conditions and related instruments in driving (jointly with the social capital) businesses/entrepreneurial behaviors and attitudes, creation of options for new markets and investment opportunities. Qualitative and mixed methods will be used to collect and analyse policy-relevant data. Collaboration with WPs 4 & 5 will enable proper design of the policy and governance analysis exercise and interpretation of empirical evidence from case studies along with exploration of policy and governance frameworks. By taking into account also lessons learned from innovation actions (WP7), WP6 will formulate guidelines and recommendations for defined policy and practice target groups (i.e. policy-makers at different levels, entrepreneurs and their networks, farmers et al.) fostering links between science, policy, practice/businesses and communities/society.

WP7 (IAMZ–CIHEAM & EUROMONTANA): Communication, dissemination and innovation actions.Read More

Using a range of social media (e.g. distance-learning, social networks, local social innovation hubs and social innovation incubators networked at higher levels) WP7 will organise a technical platform for stakeholder involvement and, jointly with WP2, will coordinate their actions throughout the project. WP7 will ensure the effective/efficient dissemination of results to policy makers, key EU networks, local communities and multi-actor networks, producer-consumer associations, hybrid social innovation networks, territorial alliances, etc. to clarify the dimensions/trends of social innovation in agriculture, forestry, rural development and to support more sustainable systems. WP7 activities will be linked to existing social innovation actions (e.g. Socialinnovationexchange.org, OpenAIRE European Comission’s platform). Given the pace of social media development, there will be huge innovation in how SImarginalised rural areas knowledge/information will be shared over the life of the project and beyond. WP7 will also lead the creation and management of periodic networking events to encourage interested actors to present, learn about, discuss and start up inter-sectoral innovation action for rural development; market places for social innovation projects, ideas, products/services; technical and relational tours, show-casing existing examples of social innovation; specialised technical assistance, especially to small and medium-sized enterprisess (e.g. contractual arrangements for starting up).

WP8 (HUT): Management and administration.Read More

Led by a different team at HUT but in coordination with WP1, it will: organise the General Assembly and project meetings; analyse the review output and recommendations; propose/reach agreements with other parties on updated work logic, adjustments or corrective actions to comply with review recommendations; manage the contractual interfaces with the European Comission and with partners; analyse, evaluate and mitigate project risks (other than scientific); manage actions and analyse change requests from the European Comission; handle.

Work Packages