SIMRA - Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas

Social innovation (SI) encompasses the new forms of interrelating which aim at solving shared problems and achieve common goals through strengthened collaboration. This social structure is especially relevant in rural areas to overcome provisioning, commercial or environmental challenges i.a. Consumer-producer networks, associations, or cooperatives exemplify some SI.

SIMRA seeks to advance understanding of SI and innovative governance in agriculture, forestry and rural development, and how to boost them, particularly in marginalised rural areas across Europe, with a focus on the Mediterranean region (including non-EU) where there is limited evidence of outcomes and supporting conditions.

The project aims to better understand the role of Social Innovations in building territorial capital and enhancing sustainable development through application of a systematic theoretical and operational framework of SI governance in rural areas across Europe and non-European Mediterranean regions.

Specific objectives
1. Developing systematic frameworks:
a) theoretical - for improved knowledge of the complexity of SIs and its dimensions, and its impact on unfolding territorial capital;
b) operational - to advance understanding of preconditions and success factors (e.g. instruments, incentives etc.) for implementing SI.
2. Creating a categorisation of SIs which encompasses the specificities in terms of social priorities, relationships, collaborations etc.
3. Creating an integrated set of methods to evaluate SI and its impacts on economic, social, environmental, institutional and policy dimensions of territorial capital.
4. Co-constructed evaluation of SIs in case studies across the spatial variation of European rural areas
5. Synthesis and dissemination of new knowledge of SIs and novel governance mechanisms to promote social capital and institutional capacity building
6. Creating collaborative learning and networking opportunities and launching innovative actions at multiple scales with stakeholders’ interaction.

Expected impact
• Clarified dimensions of social innovation and its dynamics in agriculture, forestry and rural development.
• Pathways to unfold the territorial capital of rural regions for shaping sustainable development trajectories
• improved territorial governance for agro-food and forestry systems and rural development
• Policy makers and the local communities informed on factors to foster sustainable SI

EFI leads the work-package on the analysis of Social Innovation in case studies across Europe and Mediterranean non-EU countries. EFI leads as well the task on Innovation Actions. Besides, EFI leads the task on environmental monitoring of Social Innovations.

SIMRA on social media

Twitter: @simra_eu
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More information on the project website: (last visited 27.7.2018)

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 677622

Project management
elena.gorriz @
James Hutton Institute
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