The kick-off meeting of the PoliRural project took place on the 19th, 20th and 21st of June 2019 at the Czech University of Life Sciences, in Prague, Czech Republic. The event marked the launch of the project and was a chance for all the partners, project and policy officer, representatives of the European Commission, to meet.
The three-day event started with an introduction of all the partners, including their contribution to the PoliRural project. The coordinator gave information on key obligations of the grant agreement, as well as administrative and financial rules.
Each partner responsible for a specific output of the project presented the tasks and results to be achieved during the project. These are divided into Work Packages as follows:
- WP1 – PoliRural Framework: provide the conceptual and methodological framework for the project;
- WP2 – Text Mining Technology: develop a text mining solution to facilitate the understanding of rural needs and perceived effectiveness of regional policy measures;
- WP3 – Innovation Hub & System Dynamics Technology: the Innovation Hub will serve as a platform for publishing all PoliRural results, while System Dynamics Technology will include parallel tracks focused on immediate modelling needs and long-term exploitation;
- WP4 – Current Rural Situation – Pilot Phase 1: the first of two stages in the foresight process that investigates the current state of rural attractiveness in 12 study regions;
- WP5 – Future Rural Outlook – Pilot Phase 2: the second phase of research will focus in the future, providing the necessary conceptual foundation;
- WP6 – Regional Rural Change – Pilot Phase 3: the third phase will target rural populations and potential or recent newcomers with tailored, mission-oriented interventions;
- WP7 – Communication, Dissemination & Exploitation: communicate, disseminate and exploit the project and its results;
- WP8 – Coordination and project management – manage the consortium, coordinate its members, manage risks and ensure intellectual property.
Two workshops were also implemented during the kick-off meeting: one concerning rural track and another about the technological track.
In the rural track workshop, participants were divided into groups and presented their ideas of rural attractiveness, including aspects such as wellbeing, rural services and infrastructure, and sustainability. The groups also reflected upon rural assets, needs and challenges, as well as opportunities and enablers.
In the technological track, differences between deterministic and probabilistic approaches were presented, as well as the software systems that will be used in PoliRural. Means to connect proposed technology development and products with needs and vision of rural research were discussed with participants, as well as policies to coordinate and maintain the linkage between technology track and rural track.
In conclusion, the kick-off meeting of the PoliRural project was an enthusiasm-generator for the project, providing valuable information for all the partners and allowing them to meet and share ideas.