Discussion panel of PoliRural Latvian partners

On 30th September 2022, a Latvian partner seminar on the results of the PoliRural project was held. 88 participants applied for the seminar, who received basic information about the PoliRural project and the website of the project for obtaining additional information. All registered participants are also sent access information for both the seminar presentations and the video recording (available here). As part of the seminar, basic information about the PoliRural project was provided to 26 territory planning specialists, 22 researchers, 17 regional development specialists, 11 rural development specialists, as well as representatives of education, consulting services, welfare industry, state and local government administration, information technology and business. 39 participants took part in the seminar, getting more information about the digital tools created and used in the PoliRural project and about the experience, benefits and challenges of Latvian partners within the project.

The aim of the seminar was to share international experience with the local Latvian community, as well as to reflect the local and practical application of project results. As the Latvian partners pointed out, this international project was a new and valuable experience, which was carried out in a systematic process, combining the experience gained in the past in order to create a methodology and tools for the development of rural areas that can be used in the future. As the project partners admit, one of the biggest challenges has been the availability of data and the efforts of all participating partner countries to create a common forecasting model/tool, as each member state had its own peculiarities in data availability.

The seminar provided information on the developed tools – Semantic Explorer (Semex), A Text Mining Tool for Smart Research, Digital Innovation Hub (DIH), System dynamic modeling for rural development (SDM), as well as Action Oriented Foresight for Rural Development and Mission oriented regional development.

In the panel discussion of Latvian partners, the significance of the developed methodological materials, practical tools (Semex, SDM, DIH) that can be applied to the regional situation and used in the preparation stages of planning, as well as in creating scientific research projects, was noted.

PoliRural Polish and Italian pilots’ session at ERDN Annual Conference in Mielno (Poland)

On 14th-16th September 2022 the PoliRural partners took part in the conference “Cooperation and experience of science in support of policies for rural development” organised in Mielno (Poland) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the European Rural Development Network (ERDN). The conference was attended by the ERDN members and sympathisers, rural researchers and practitioners representing Poland, Italy, Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Turkey, the UK, Kosovo, Moldova and Ukraine.

The aim of the conference was to exchange methodological experiences and research results as well as to integrate the different approaches to rural systems in European countries. The conference speakers addressed the most current issues that affect social, economic and environmental development in rural areas in Europe. Special attention was given to visions for rural and agricultural development in the face of the challenges of climate and demographic change, green transformation of the countryside and agriculture, as well as alternative and innovative activities in rural areas.

The conference was an opportunity to summarise and discuss the main achievements of the PoliRural project, and to present the unique tools developed as part of the project, including Semex, System Dynamic Modelling and STEEPV Inventory of Drivers of Change, show best practices we collected, but also the results of PoliRural deep dives’ exercises related to the most current global challenges.

The members of both pilots introduced the specifics of Mazowieckie (Poland) and Apulia (Italy) regions, related lessons learned during the project and presented technical and foresight tools intended to use after the project. The examples from Poland and Italy were of great interest as possibilities to support the planning of future development at regional and local level in other EU countries, but also found very useful as a general support to rural planning in the Candidate and non-EU countries.

The meeting was a good summary of the project, but also a fine example of the increasing cooperation between the actors forming the pilot regions under the PoliRural project.