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Depopulation, land abandonment and the loss of biodiversity are changes that may proceed very slowly yet are often irreversible.

In order for policymakers to solve these challenges, they need to know if current policy instruments are effective, who is benefiting from them and in what measure, what driving forces will be most influential and how they will affect the people, and the planet.

PoliRural will provide a set of knowledge resources including an inclusive learning environment where rural populations, researchers and policymakers come together to address common problems; an evaluation exercise that uses text mining to assess the perceived effectiveness of past or planned policy interventions; and a foresight study that will collect the development trajectory of  agriculture and its allied sectors until 2040 using several scenarios in which the evolution of rural populations occupies a central place.

As a result of these activities, PoliRural will leave decision makers at different levels of government better equipped to tackle existing and emerging rural challenges, rural populations more empowered and rural areas more resilient.



Build a strong enabling community in every pilot region (12 in total) with a government body (regional or local); a rural community organization; and university, research and/or innovation company

Minimise the research-policy-practice gap by including all in identifying problems, discover information and develop solutions

Foster the knowledge exchange within regions through a digital Policy Innovation Hub and a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Demonstrate the capacity of text mining (process of deriving high-quality information from text) to advance rural policy objectives by testing the tool on multiple languages and different occasions

Build a concept of rural ecosystem using quantitative and qualitative methods, exploring complex relationships between economic, social, political and environmental sub-systems across space (12 regions) and time (until 2040)

Translate the concept into a computerized policy simulator model which makes it easy for decision makers to understand the interrelationships and the influence of different policies, factors and forces on their dynamics

Undertake a thorough investigation of factors that make rural places and professions more or less attractive, distinguishing between the present and the future

Contribute with new insights into recent or potential newcomers’ needs, success and failure factors and added value of their work


Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CULS) is the third largest public university in Prague. Backed by one hundred years of history, CULS combines cutting-edge technologies, progressive science and research in agriculture, forestry, environment, engineering, economy, management and business. CULS provides complete higher education, summer schools, lifelong learning courses and the University of the Third Age to over 19,000 students. Leading faculty is the Faculty of Economics and Management (FEM).

Its focus is on management, agricultural economics, information technologies, system engineering, business and others. CULS cooperates with a number of private and public organizations both at local and international level and is a member of EuroLeague for Life Sciences (ELLS), a prestigious network of universities. CULS is also one of twenty-eight members of Agrinatura, a group of European universities and research institutions with aim to foster sustainable agricultural development. In 2016, CULS established the Centre for Precision Agriculture with support of the Czech Ministry of Agriculture.

CCSS is a research association established by legal entities, which support research cooperation among Universities, public and private sector. CCSS cooperate in Czech with number of Universities, University of West Bohemia, Masaryk University, Charles University, University of Life science in Prague, Mendel University on one side. On the other side, also with a significant number of public authorities and public organizations like Forest Management Institute, CENIA, Liberec Region and also with private sector like HSRS or Lesprojekt. CCSS has also large experience from European project and also from coordination of different European projects.

Activities of CCSS are oriented in a wide range of thematic areas implemented in International and European research projects related to environment, agriculture, planning, GI, ICT development, real estate and planning. Activities also extend to the field of information technology, spatial planning, advisory, education, sustainable development and the development of applications in the field of planning, smart cities, forestry, agriculture, agro-tourism, and farming.

CCSS has large expertise in design and implementation of geoportals based on INSPIRE, GEOSS and Copernicus principles. CCSS is working long time in this area and has large experience with single components like metadata, data management, measurement integration, visualization and data assessment. CCSS demonstrate this experience in many EU projects (see below), but also in commercial implementations of geoportals in Czech, Latvia, Armenia, Azerbaijan Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. CCSS has a strong team of developers and researchers, who have large experience in both research and implementation areas.

The Region of Sterea Ellada is one of the thirteen first-level administrative regional authorities of Greece. The Region is characterized by full financial and administrative independence, whereas its elected bodies are responsible for the coordination and enforcement of policies referring to the respective geographical area. The Region’s responsibilities cover a wide range of sectors, from development planning, environment protection and public health to transportation, rural economy and civil protection.

Perifereia Stereas Elladas (PSTE) is the second larger Greek Region consisting of 735,8 million hectares of mountain area, 497,1 million hectares of semi‐mountainous area and 322,2 million hectares of lowland area. It is worth noting that only 3% of the total area is residential. Forests cover the 25% of the total regional area, while 2% is covered by water. The cultivated areas of the region occupy the 26% of total area, while the 43% is used in farming activities. Furthermore, the region is rich in special and rare ecosystems; 18 special environmental sites of the Region are being protected according to the NATURA 2000 framework, while there are 3 Special Protection Areas, two of which refer to the Spercheios river: the Spercheios valley and the Spercheios Delta. Moreover, Sterea Ellada is famous for its world-renown hot springs and spa.

The Region is rich in a diversity of Ecosystem Services in all four categories defined in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Supporting, Provisioning, Regulating and Cultural services. As a result, the design of the proper protection strategies and the appliance of effective and sustainable development practices comprise fundamental objectives for the Region.

Overall, PSTE has identified and highlighted the need for an integrated intervention strategy for correlating environment protection, natural and technological disaster risks mitigation, business infrastructure development, investment attraction, job creation and rural and urban social cohesion activities. Such activities, are foreseen throughout the Region’s Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation – RIS3 and Regional Operation Plan. In this context, the Region retains a deep experience and expertise in designing strategies, adopting practices and carrying out development activities for protecting its natural resources, while driving urban and rural entrepreneurship.

Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação – Consultadoria Empresarial e Fomento da Inovação, S.A. (SPI) is a private consulting company created in 1996 as an active centre of national and international networks connected to the research and innovation sectors. Since its inception, SPI has become a leading promoter of linkages between national and international public and private organizations, private sector companies and science and technology institutions. From its onset, SPI has embraced the mission of managing projects that promote regional, national and international development, stimulating knowledge management, research, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as encouraging internationalization and creation of strategic partnerships and business relationships.

SPI has 75 full-time staff located in the various offices of the company – including in Portugal (Porto, Lisbon, Coimbra, Évora and Azores), China (Beijing and Macao), Spain (Santiago de Compostela) and USA (Washington D.C. and California). In addition, SPI has an affiliated office in Belgium (Brussels) through the European Business & Innovation Centre Network (EBN). SPI also has established professional and business network and operations in Brazil, Africa, Southeast Asia, Caribbean, India, Mediterranean countries and in other countries/regions of the world.

SPI is very experienced in working with the European Commission and DG Research & Innovation, across a range of research themes such as Smart City, Urban and Territorial development, ICT, Smart Energy, Environment, Food, Biotechnology, Health, international cooperation of science, technology and innovation, Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, NMP and Space. SPI has worked with clients like World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and National Governments. SPI´s activities have been spread to diverse geographical regions and characterized by successful implementation of different activities in the projects’ dissemination, exploitation, training, analysis and studies, policy recommendation, stakeholder engagement, amongst others.

With a population of around 80,000 people, Nitra is the fourth largest city in Slovakia, and the capital of the Nitra Region. Some 80 km from the Slovak capital, Bratislava, it sits in the valley of the river Nitra, in western Slovakia, between flatlands and mountains. Nitra lies at an altitude of 190 metres above sea level and covers an area of 100.48 square kilometres. It is also one of the oldest cities in the country, having been occupied by Celts in the 4th century BC.

Nitra is home to two universities, including the Slovak University of Agriculture, with a total student population of around 24,000.  It  has  a  number  of  research  institutions  related  to  agriculture  and environmental  protection.  It  is  also  a  cultural  centre,  with  galleries,  theatres  and  libraries.  A former synagogue is a national memorial to Slovakia’s Jewish population, largely destroyed during World War II. There is a new business park providing jobs for some 6,000 people, mainly in chemicals, plastic processing, electronics and car parts.  Agriculture remains an important sector, but now services, specially tourism and gastronomy are all important parts of the local economy.

Yet the city’s new economy is doing well, it was showing positive growth before the 2008 economic crisis. There is a new business park providing jobs for some 6,000 people, mainly in chemicals, plastic processing, electronics and car parts. Agriculture remains an important sector, but now services, and especially tourism, gastronomy and shopping centres are all important parts of the local economy. Tourists come to visit the historic old town, the castle and ancient churches.

Slovak Rural Parliament (VIPA SK) was established in 1999. The Aim of Slovak Rural Parliament is to support integrated development in regions through professional, advocacy and instructive communication activities mainly toward dialogue conducted on national level. This process is based on the identified needs, to prioritize increasing the quality of life in the countryside, to support rural initiatives in management of rural development, implementation of educational, establishment and mediation activities, organization of different events, market research and public relations.

Since 2000, Slovak Rural Parliament organizes a Discussion Forum of the Rural Parliament every second year to formulate politics and strategies for rural development for the upcoming two years, and also to set priorities until next discussion meeting. Since 2003, Slovak Rural Parliament publishes a magazine quarterly called “Our countryside about rural areas”.

Slovak Rural Parliament has also been organizing conferences named “Women in Carriage” on a world-wide day of rural women, where are announce the results of the competition “Country woman” for the women leaders. Good examples from their experiences are also published explaining the stories of women, who have taken their destiny into their own hands and despite fears overcame obstacles and successfully running loca businesses, doing art and craft and other activities in their spare time (usually they are women after fifty). Slovak Rural Parliament represents different Slovak regions in “Rural days” to support cooperation with citizens, non-governmental organizations and government, to create and achieve different levels of mechanism of cooperation and to establish interactive network of cooperation with active engagement of public relations, which contribute to improve the quality of living in countryside.

Agroresursu un Ekonomikas Instituts (AREI) – Institute of Agricultural Resources and Economics – is the derived public person which is supervised by the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies.

Its mission is the engagement in targeted development of internationally competitive multi-dimensional fundamental and applied research in the field of agricultural resources with a view to providing new knowledge for integrated and sustainable solutions for development of the national economy.

Its vision is to become an internationally renowned and competitive research institution in the fields of bio‑economics and agricultural resources which contributes to sustainable development of national economy and rural area, thus enhancing quality of life of the population.

Research activities in AREI are performed in three Research Departments: Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics; Department of Agro-ecology; Department of Economics.

Therefore, AREI is experienced to perform scientific and practical research in the following spheres: Genetics and plant breeding for integrated and organic farming system; Development of sustainable and production-efficient crop production technologies for integrated and organic farming system, based on agro-ecological principles; and Development of bio-resources or agricultural resources based economy and sustainable rural areas development.

NEUROPUBLIC is an innovative ICT SME (it has over 90 employees), specialized in the development of integrated information systems and high-demand applications built in Cloud computing architecture. NEUROPUBLIC products and services are being successfully used for over 10 years, by more than 800.000 end-users in agriculture, local government and healthcare. Its financial state, its efficient infrastructure and resources, as well as its longstanding innovation, proper organization and proven technical know-how and experience, make NEUROPUBLIC one of the most reliable and quality companies in the area of Informatics in Greece. NEUROPUBLIC has a track record in providing Information System for the public sector since 2003, including Municipalities, Rural governments and more.

NEUROPUBLIC is a member of Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI), Big Data Value Association (BDVA), European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC), Farm Europe and their Smart Farming working groups. NEUROPUBLIC invests considerable amount of money in Research and Development (>3 million euros for the years 2013-2017) and implements the research results on innovative products that satisfy the demands of the future and the new trend markets.

The Agricultural University of Athens (AUA) is the 3rd oldest university in Greece. Since 1920 it contributes consistently and continuously to Greek and European primary sector development, by conducting basic and applied research in agricultural related sciences. AUA conducts the 1/3 of agricultural research in Greece. The University is situated on a green campus that straddles close to the Acropolis, at the heart of the ancient Olive Grove.

In the last 4 years, the Agricultural University of Athens has participated, as a leader or partner in 53 EU projects. With its considerable research activity, which is carried out within the framework of well-organized postgraduate studies and funded by EU and various international and national organizations, AUA contributions address a wide range of issues related to food safety and environmental protection significantly affecting the daily lives of Greek and Europeans citizens: food quality and safety, plant protection, water resource conservation, organic farming, alternative energy sources, biotechnological applications in agriculture, information and communications technology.

The Precision Agriculture Lab, belonging to the department of Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Engineering, will represent the Agricultural University of Athens. The department covers the area of research and provision of knowledge concerning the: design and operation of farm machinery, equipment of agricultural enterprises, automation of agricultural production processes, postharvest technologies, application of modern technology in agriculture and energy saving.

21 Consultancy Limited (21c) is an small and medium-sized enterprise with an established track record in designing, delivering and promoting successful ICT research and innovation initiatives that generate multi-stakeholder engagement (business, public sector, civil society and academia) across multiple communication channels. The team specializes in using new technologies for co-creation to kick start innovation, citizen engagement and improve public services and policy. For close to a decade, 21c has driven the shift toward citizen-centric government. 21 Consultancy Limited is an expert in understanding the new technologies that are about to reshape the way government is delivered, and work alongside public administrators in driving successful change. National government departments that consult 21c include: India Department of Administrative Reform (DARPG), Oman Information Technology Authority (ITA), Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA), Bahrain government Authority, Kazakhstan National Information Centre (NIC), Flemish eGovernment Authority (CORVE) and UK Communities and Local Government (CLG).

21 Consultancy Limited centres on three key areas: open innovation, open data and eParticipation. 21c is a member of GODAN Network and it specializes in providing every functional aspect of stakeholder engagement, communication, dissemination and pilot support (including user requirement gathering and execution).

Asplan Viak Internet As (AVINET) is a Norwegian technology company specialized in development of Internet based spatial enabled and database driven end-user applications. The company was established in 2001 as a subsidiary of the consultancy and advisory firm Asplan Viak. AVINET team of experts consists of skilled and experienced ICT architecture and development professionals with rich experience within the domains of technology for decision support in policy development, planning and natural resource management.

AVINET offers a wide range of services, such as: Specification, development, running and maintenance of web based map and database solutions; Participation in national and international research and development projects in order to develop new knowledge and innovative services; Academic lectures within GIS, courses related to AVINET products and tailor-made courses to suit the need of individual customers.

AVINET vision is to provide smart solutions based on innovation and experience. By doing so, AVINET wishes to improve the working processes and information needs of customers.

The Joint Institute for Innovation Policy (JIIP) is a joint venture of four renowned Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) from four different European countries: Joanneum Research (Austria), TNO (the Netherlands), Tecnalia (Spain) and VTT (Finland).

JIIP provides intelligence to support policy making, with a focus on research and innovation policy. One of the competitive strengths of the partnership lies in the interdisciplinary nature of its parent institutes and the resultant added value for the work that the JIIP partnership can deliver. The partnership involves a core pool of around 170 researchers in relevant units of the four partner organisations. A central office, located in Brussels, coordinates joint activities and assists in the ongoing strategic development of the partnership.

The core competences and services lie in policy analysis (evaluation of policy initiatives and programmes, impact assessments, policy monitoring), analysis of innovation dynamics and systems, data and indicators, and foresight research. Thematically, JIIP is specialised in research and innovation policy; industrial innovation and sector dynamics; sustainable innovation and circular economy; and information society and Information and Communication Technologies.

AgFutura Technologies is a small and medium-sized enterprise focused on supporting the agricultural sector through providing services in the area of precision agriculture and agricultural consultancy. AgFutura activities are based on extensive knowledge and experience in the area of Information and Communication Technology in agriculture, Agricultural Business Development and Agro-Food Marketing. AgFutura has four full-time employees, network of more than 30 local and international experts on regular pay-roll in the area of rural development and agribusiness, and regular two internship positions. The field of expertise covered by this well-developed network includes: agronomy, agribusiness, agricultural and rural development, precision agriculture and agricultural marketing. These vertical areas of operation are supported by strong horizontal skills such as econometrics, statistics, software engineering and design.

AgFutura is one of the first companies that has introduced the concept of precision agriculture in the Republic of Macedonia. In this area, the company has established a strategic partnership with already recognized companies dealing with the topic of precision agriculture. Current operations in this area supports 5 large farms in the Republic of Macedonia, covering more than 3000 ha of different type of crops and indirectly through our partners we serve more than 60.000 hectares in Serbia and Hungary. With its headquarters in Macedonia, AgFutura takes upon and collaborates on projects not only in the Balkans but also all over Europe and broader, like in Africa.

The Tragsa Group forms part of the group of companies of the State-owned holding company Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (SEPI). It is incorporated by Empresa de Transformación Agraria, S.A. (Tragsa), the parent company founded in 1977 for the performance of rural development works and services, environmental conservation and emergency relief operations and its first subsidiary Tecnologías y Servicios Agrarios, S.A (Tragsatec), which was established in 1990 for carrying out consulting and engineering projects, among others.
Its 37 years of experience working for the public authorities to the service of society have placed this business group at the forefront of the different sectors in which it operates, from the provision of agricultural, forestry, livestock, and rural development services, to the conservation and protection of the environment.

Dealing with marine and coastal resources, the company works in the management, assessment and scientific monitoring of 9 Spanish marine protected areas, takes part in the development of marine strategies and recovery plans for different species, and develops ICT tools for the monitoring of vessels and marine resources for Spanish Public Bodies. In other fields, development of irrigation and control systems across Spain, agricultural sensors networks for crops monitoring, the Spanish Forest Map, the National Forest Inventory, the SIGPAC service are only a few examples of national projects carried out by the company for the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Environment and the technologies used.

TRAGSA Group counts on an Innovation, Research and Development Unit in charge of the monitoring, management, technical support and financial tasks of the R&D projects carried out by the different units of the company.

22SISTEMA is a company that has the mission of helping organizations to develop their vision as a system, and their imbrication in the wider systems they are part of.

22SISTEMA helps decision-making through systems thinking. It uses graphical tools (conceptual maps, mind maps and causal loop diagrams) and operative tools (system dynamics). It identifies patterns and dynamics to understand dysfunctionalities, decide actions and monitorize results. 22SISTEMA builds decision making environments.

22SISTEMA proposes comprehensive solutions for a consistent action integrated in the environment. As the specialist in system dynamics, 22SISTEMA is very experienced in introducing and reviewing SD concepts in projects.

Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK) is a multidisciplinary higher education institution situated centrally in the most populated area of southern Finland. HAMK offers inspiring higher education, applied research, and has seven campuses, 7000 students, 600 staff members and a 52 million euro annual budget. HAMK is a state-recognised higher education institution, offering bachelor-level and master-level degree programmes, professional teacher education and continuing education programmes in Finnish and English.

HAMK has a long tradition in research field and has four research units that support the education and operate according to specific focus areas: Bioeconomy, Smart Services, Professional Excellence and Sheet Metal Centre. Research units and research groups operate in important research projects in Finland, and internationally with strategic partners. Inside the research units there are multiple research groups, which publish their results for public.

Bioeconomy Research Unit is focused on sustainable and resource-wise primary production and use of natural resources by applying modern technology. HAMK’s long tradition as an education institution of natural resources combined with skills in bio-refining processes, food engineering and cleantech gives a solid background for high level applied research in bioeconomy. HAMK has strong visibility also in rural areas of the region through several campuses located around Häme region. The research unit operates on five campuses with five specialization areas, which are: Lepaa, horticulture; Evo, forestry; Mustiala, agriculture; Forssa, cleantech and sustainable development and Hämeenlinna; bioprocess technology.

The National Microelectronics Applications Centre (MAC), was established in 1981 by the Irish Government, to provide consultancy and complete innovative development and exploitation of electronic, software and e-business/e-government citizen participation technological solutions.

MAC is an innovative SME with a 37 year track record of delivering to tight schedules with industry, SMEs and public agencies to assess and assist entrepreneurial and innovative technical solutions. To date, MAC has delivered 225 leading edge product developments, 35 Web/online services, 175 process applications, 470 consultancy projects, 29 pan-European technology development consortia and 3,000 new idea evaluations. These have enabled the growth of several multi-million Euro companies. We have completed numerous evaluations, studies and outsourced R&D projects for European companies where we act as the innovator and designer of their future services and product set.

Working in many projects with networks of partners across Europe has allowed MAC to see the future trends, and bring to bear the latest technologies and research methodologies to the solutions that it creates for our own products and solutions. They have enabled MAC to work with the prime movers across Europe and see at first hand the opportunities, trends and markets for ICT over the coming years. As part of this activity, MAC has gained a huge experience in innovation management, productisation and exploitation of project results, total project management, successful completion and delivery of complex technical systems and solutions, ICT applications evaluations and studies, and the development and management of distributed project consortia

Confagricoltura Foggia is the territorial branch of Confagricoltura, the Trade Union Organization of agricultural entrepreneurs and direct growers. Its primary purpose is the protection of the legitimate interests of the agricultural enterprise, in all its forms and types of management. It represents it against any Authority, Administration and public or private body, as well as any other trade union economic organization. Confagricoltura Foggia contributes to the Confagricoltura or General Confederation of Italian Agriculture and finds its representation in the Region in Campania Confagricoltura.

At the Community level, Confagricoltura Foggia is present through National Confagricoltura with a representative office at the European Union and is protected by the Committee among the Professional Agricultural Organizations (COPA) of which it is a constituent part.

Confagricoltura Foggia, through the establishment of special services, assures member companies the widest and most qualified assistance and advice in every field of activity. It is committed to pursue the expansion and improvement of agricultural production, as well as the promotion and coordination of all the different forms of activities aimed at the economic defense of provincial agriculture. Further activities are aimed to support he establishment or the adhesion of economic organizations, stimulating cooperation and network among farmers.

The great strength of Confagricoltura Foggia lies in the number and quality of member companies and in its character as an organization that is independent from any political party and therefore free at all times to exercise its economic, trade union and social defense action of agricultural enterprise.

Plan4all is a non-profit association sustaining and further enhancing results of multiple research and innovation projects. Plan4all conducts research and experimental development and transfers results of such activities into practice.

Plan4all aggregates large open datasets related to planning activities in different specialisms including spatial/urban planning, rural development, transport, environment, tourism and precision/autonomous farming. Plan4all makes sure that open data are easily accessible for reuse, data are maintained and their quality is improved.

Plan4all is an umbrella organization of 60 partners from 22 countries including public bodies, universities, research organizations and business partners. Plan4all is a proud member of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), and Big Data Value Association (BDVA).

The National Institute for Research on Innovative Technologies (NUVIT) is a newly established non-profit research organization.

The main mission of the Institute is to bring together leading experts from the academic and commercial domains into autonomous technology projects, necessarily requiring comprehensive interdisciplinary cooperation. Throughout all projects, NUVIT focuses on the systematic application of methods of automatic knowledge interpretation.

Unlike established approaches, NUVIT is actively confronting the constraints of the fixed structure and statistical processing of data that are common to most conventional information sources and systems. Since overcoming these limitations requires specific attention at the level of technical data representation and processing of native languages, NUVIT carries out research and technology development especially in these areas. The motivation of this approach is not the disqualification of relational or statistical processing, but the creation of a technical basis which is necessary for the continuous transformation of human knowledge into a machine-readable form and its application in the form of artificial intelligence.

Slovak University of Agriculture (SUA) in Nitra is a public university providing education in accredited study programs on bachelor, master and doctoral level of study as well as various programmes of lifelong learning.

Since its foundation in 1952, SUA has continuously retained its position as one of Slovakia’s leading universities for high quality of its teaching and research. The University is consistently rated in the top group for the high quality of its teaching and research in the Slovak Republic. The University cultivates close and productive links with its local and regional community and will continue to expand its work at an international level in both teaching and scientific research. They have a strong tradition of working in collaboration with business and industry and playing an active role in economic regeneration. They place great emphasis on embracing and responding to new information and communication technology opportunities.

The University specialises in education in the field of agriculture and related research areas such as: agrobiology, food resources, sustainable agriculture, agricultural production, biotechnology, food technology, engineering of agricultural machinery and equipment, computerization and automation of agricultural equipment, operation of energy facilities on agricultural production, gardening and landscape design, economics and management, international trade in agricultural commodities, marketing, development of rural tourism, project management for rural development, lifelong learning, amongst others.

Agroinštitút Nitra is training institution under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic established in 1967.  Agroinštitút Nitra provides a wide range of services especially in the field of lifelong education and agricultural advisory services.

The main strategic goals of Agroinštitút Nitra are contributing to human resources development in agricultural sector, the training process of farmers and the training process of agricultural advisers in the field of agriculture and forestry.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak republic Agroinstitut Nitra manages two unique departments and that is the National Center AGRIS FAO and FAO Depository Library. Activities of both departments are within the professional and technical chapters Program FAO that Slovakia is committed to support and develop. This outputs and services are aimed to member countries of FAO, national and international agricultural community, scientific research base of the department, academic institutions, professional unions and associations, consultants, and students.

Agroinstitut Nitra cooperates with many organizations in the sector of agriculture and rural development, but also outside the resort. Our long-term partners are the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak republic, Agricultural Paying Agency, research and development centers, universities, secondary vocational schools, professional chambers, unions and associations and European Commission Representation in Slovakia.

KAJO s. r. o. is a Slovak based consultancy offering a diverse range of services related to natural disasters, natural based solutions for risk reduction. In recent years KAJO is very active in social and mainstream news monitoring, language processing and text mining. KAJO is employing the cutting edge advancements in both, machine learning & language processing and early warning systems (e.g. Copernicus EFAS, GLOFAS) to develop tools and services for real time monitoring of social networks for information related to natural disasters in order to assist the responders in all phases of risk management cycle. KAJO couples early warning systems and social media monitoring to improve abilities to detect events. KAJO algorithms use data derived from social media to fill the gap between EWS and traditional observations to improve our rapid mapping and impact assessment products. Several levels of filtering, sense making and aggregation techniques are all designed, developed and tested in-house to distill valid information from the social media stream and provide our customers with tailored data feeds.

KAJO staff has expertise in implementing large scale real time data collection software for meteorological and hydrological observations including data collection, storage, quality control and delivery for operational systems. We developed tools for time series operations (e.g. gap filling, interpolation) and mapping (e.g. spatial interpolation).

KAJO develops customer driven applications for scraping data large amounts text from public sources (e.g. Eurlex) and we train the custom language models to be used in different domains (e.g. EU policy framework for nature based solutions).

KAJO is currently collaborating with national and international organizations (e.g., ECMWF, JRC, RedCross), and it is taking part in international expert networks, such as the Global Floods Partnership.

Baltic Open Solutions Center (BOSC) is a Latvian small and medium-sized company, which was established 2007 as common Spin off between Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Latvia (IMCS UL), and Czech Centre for Science and Society (CCSS). BOCS partners and specialists have more than ten years work experience in 5th, 6th and 7th framework projects, H2020 projects and other cross-border initiatives, and more than 30 years’ experience in scientific work.

Main partners in research projects and technology solution development are Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Latvia (IMCS UL) and non-profitable Czech association CCSS. Other cooperation partners are from other institutions like WirelessInfo, research institute Lesproject, other municipal organisations in Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, partners in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Montenegro, Albania, and many others from also outside Europe, mainly from Africa and Latin America UN funded projects. Based on the needs of research tasks BOSC is able to use resources of IMSC and CCSS and has access both to large ICT infrastructure, and also to large amount of existing software infrastructure, mainly in the area of Internet of Things and Web GIS.

BOSC is working in the area of environment, agriculture and public services, GIS and open code programming, WSN hardware design, prototyping and testing, remote sensing and open data processing, Web based online learning tool and App development.

Vidzeme Planning Region (VPR) is a public regional development and coordination institution, established in 2006 by the Latvian Law of regional development, and acts under supervision of Ministry of Environmental protection and regional development. The main functions of VPR are to ensure the regional strategic and spatial planning and coordination, as well as cooperation between municipalities and governmental institutions. VPR provides planning services on national, regional and local level, and ensures regional and local level representation in the elaboration of national policies. The mission of the Vidzeme Planning Region is to coordinate and promote long-term and well-balanced development of the Vidzeme region. VPR is responsible for the development and implementation of the long-term sustainable development strategy (2030) and medium term development programme (2020) of the region.

VPR Strategy is focused on the development of three core areas of the region: human resources, economic development and innovation, and territorial development. As a regional level institution, VPR has a wide expertise in many cross-border Projects (in many different areas – tourism, innovation, business development, geospatial planning, ICT, energy efficiency, social services etc.), most of them being large scale Interreg Projects. VPR has implemented more than 20 international projects and has developed a significant experience in project management, as a project partner, work package leader, lead partner, policy development, policy and good practices transfer, stakeholder management, dissemination, and strategic communication planning. VPR also is one of the founders of Latvian high added value and healthy food cluste. VPR experience in the area of spatial planning, landscape management and geomatics is mainly gained through implementation of development and spatial planning function and from international projects and cooperation with local and international researchers and institutes.

Latvian Rural Forum (LRF) is an umbrella organization uniting more than 80 rural non-governmental organizations, including both local community organizations and local action groups that implement LEADER approach in Latvia. The aim of Latvian Rural Forum is to promote sustainable development of Latvian rural territories by strengthening civil society in rural territories in order to create it as a place where contented people live, able to meet their economic and social needs in the place of their residence.  

Core activities of Latvian Rural Forum include strengthening civil society in rural territories, promoting local initiatives and cooperation, representing the interests of rural population on national and international level, creating cooperation tools with government, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, businesses and other institutions and promoting sustainable development of Latvian rural territories. 

Since its establishment in 2004, Latvian Rural Forum has been working on building capacity and sustainability of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), which has resulted in a member network that is covering the territory of all Latvia, and Latvian Rural Forum being one key actor of CSOs in Latvia.

Latvian Rural Forum is a member in six Committees and Councils lead by Ministries, including European Union Funds Monitoring Committee for the EU Funds 2014-2020, Committee “Education for all”, Monitoring Committee for the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and others.

GAIA EPICHEIREIN was founded in 2014 as a result of a broad alliance between farmers & agri-cooperatives (71 agri-cooperatives and associations, more than 150.000 farmers) that have teamed up with partners from the IT sector (NEUROPUBLIC SA) and the banking sector (PIRAEUS BANK GROUP via its member EXCELIXI SA) sharing a common vision of a more sustainable and competitive primary sector in Greece. GAIA EPICHEIREIN’s mission is to assist Greek farmers and agri-cooperatives in making a quality leap towards a more sustainable and competitive agricultural model by investing in three strategic pillars: knowledge and innovation, entrepreneurship & cooperation. To fulfill its mission GAIA EPICHEIREIN provides information, policy support & high quality services to the representatives of the Greek primary sector. The key denominator of all services is technological innovation and they broadly cover Greek farmers’ and agri-cooperatives’ needs, ranging from the optimization of their economic & environmental performance by adopting innovative approaches, to assistance in applying for national & EU support.

MIGAL Galilee Research Institute Ltd., founded in 1979, is a private applied research institute, located in Kiryat Shmona, Israel. Research at MIGAL is highly interdisciplinary and specialised in the areas of Agro-technology, Environmental Sciences, Agriculture, Nutrition Science and Biotechnology.

As a leading institute for applied research, MIGAL aims to strengthen and promote scientific innovation and spur economic growth in the Galilee. With over 85 Ph.D. scientists and a total staff of 200 researchers, engineers and students – all residents of the Galilee, MIGAL is a unique phenomenon, serving as a focal point for regional economic and scientific developments as well as for community development in the Galilee. The Institute has sophisticated laboratories (lately over one million EURO were invested in sophisticated equipment) and is responsible for managing research in 10 experimental farms all over the Galilee region. MIGAL has carried out a wide variety of successful joint ventures with leading industrial and academic institutions in Israel and abroad. It also provides laboratory and consulting services in the field of microbiology, fish diseases, extraction of pharmaceutical materials from plants and chemical analyses.

MIGAL is in good relation with the Rural Planning and Development Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which is a headquarter unit that sets policy and regulations in all matters relating to rural planning in Israel and with the 14 Municipalities in the Galilee. Therefore, MIGAL also promotes an integrated policy regarding agricultural planning, rural planning, rehabilitating rural localities, developing areas in the periphery and rural entrepreneurship, while preserving agricultural land and open areas.

Innovagritech is a university spin-off (considered as a private small and medium-sized enterprise) born to enhance the research products of the Department of Economics of the University of Foggia. The activity of Innovagritech is aimed at offering, through a series of integrated software solutions, operating models to guarantee the constant “knowledge transfer” to single or associated companies in agro-food sector. Therefore, the mission of Innovagritech matches with the project objectives, particularly encouraging the use of digital technologies in agriculture, boosting economic diversification and empowering rural communities.

The aim of Innovagritech is to help private sector in the agricultural field to use rationally the existing and emerging knowledge, technological achievements to meet the challenge of market demand through a sustainable environmental and economic approach. For this purpose, the intention of Innovagritech is to test the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) innovative solution in the agro-food sector developed by the scientific and academic institutes, promote their adoption in practice and enhance the resource allocation that can lead to a significant improvement of Apulia region’s agricultural field performances.

CKA is a Brussels based provider of strategic management services. It has over 20 years of experience advising top management teams in both the public and private sector, on issues related to research and innovation, education and training, as well as economic and business development. The CKA toolbox includes the use of Foresight as a change-management tool. CKA has extensive experience working on agri-food and rural development policies at International, EU, member state and regional level. CKA is a member of the EU Platform for Business and Biodiversity. Patrick Crehan, the founder and Director of CKA, is a full member of the EU Chapter of the Club of Rome

CKA helps organizations “discover the future” and understand their innovation needs using a structured “Foresight” approach. CKA conducts research on the measurement and management of innovation, helping managers understand, design and put in place the systems they need to make innovation happen.

VITO, the Flemish institute for technological research, provides high level services, multi-disciplinary assistance and applied research in the fields of environment, energy and materials. The Remote Sensing Unit focuses on monitoring and modelling by means of earth observation to include image processing for environment, vegetation, climate and agriculture monitoring at different resolutions; and, the development of data platforms. VITO hosts the Proba-V archive and SPOT-vegetation archive. Vito is the main production center of the Copernicus Global Land Service. Data Platforms allow a large user community to process and analyse large time series of data and derive value from remote sensing products.

VITO is involved in the DIAS consortia. The Remote Sensing Unit has relevant expertise in agriculture and environment combining field observations, large statistical databases and geo-data with earth observation and model output in web-based services. The Unit delivers timely and high quality services to the EC-JRC, ECMWF and UN-FAO. Agriculture projects are implemented with WFP and various regional and national institutes in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. In addition, projects are financed by the EC Framework Programmes, ESA, the Belgian Science Policy Office and the Flemish government.

VITO has a strong expertise in data handling, Earth Observation processing, data platforms, integration with geo-data layers, meteorological data and statistics related to agricultural monitoring, climate impacts, agricultural insurances and environmental resources management. VITO uses a Multi-Actor Approach to co-create decision support systems based on a combination of big data and user interaction. Data mining and deep learning techniques will complement a multi-actor approach to elucidate important components in a transition towards “rural attractiveness in a changing climate”.

The Club of Ossiach is a group of agriculturists, agribusiness managers, agriculture and forestry technologists, environmentalists and agricultural ICT specialists from around the world. They meet periodically to collectively discuss and collaboratively act on influencing the use of information and communications technologies to improve agricultural productivity, profitability and contribution to food and nutritional security and safety globally. 

Concerning its vision, the Club of Ossiach in the next decade will develop into an internationally accepted think-tank on issues related to ICT use in agricultural development globally. Through its members, it will support more effective use of ICTs in agriculture and forestry, better knowledge management for sustainability in farming and in the protection of environment.

The Club of Ossiach mission is to link globally all scientists to educate and train with new technologies and enable them to upgrade these technologies with local databases of local crops and local tree sorts based on growth tables with all detailed data.

Fundación SocialInnolabs is a non-profit organization whose activity is mainly focused on: Promoting research, innovation, technology transfer, entrepreneurship, social and territorial cohesion through specifically focused projects and structuring of an international network Social Spaces for Research and Innovation (SSRI); Overcoming the barriers of society so that people-centred innovation is effective, transparent and participatory; Supporting innovation policies, environmental, social cohesion and inclusive rural development in society and enterprises, promoting Corporate Social Responsibility projects; Promoting transparency and citizen participation in associations and government agencies; Promotion of social and cultural Projects to help and contribute to the integration of people and groups having disadvantaged conditions.

Specific actions carried out by Fundación SocialInnolabs are the following: Open innovation service provision through a technological platform that allows members of the network and each SSRI as support for tasks requiring Technology Surveillance, collaboration in innovation and research, impulse Technology Transfer actions and promotion of entrepreneurship in the context of a specific SSRI; Implementation of training initiatives regarding methodologies and technologies required to implement strategies and projects for open people led innovation; Promotion of best practices benchmarking frameworks to certify methods applied by a Social Space of Research and Innovation; Implementation of relevant technologies and standards (Big Data, Linked Open Data, Blockchain, IoT, etc.) to support participative user driven innovation.

The network of collaborators of the Foundation is held on a large number of experts in different technological and social disciplines that individually are part of the Social Spaces of Innovation deployed in Spain. Many of these members come from the university, private companies and other foundations with a strong vocation for social technological research.

The mission of Smart & Lean is to support organizations to reach high level Operational Excellence at quality, delivery and cost. Smart & Lean is a Finnish based micro enterprise, which contributes its customers, companies and public service organizations, at three interconnected fields: Continuous Improvement, practice-oriented experiments and development activities, and process innovations. The capacity building and implementation of the process improvements are in the core. The operative model of Smart & Lean is to transfer value to the end customers via collaborative network focusing on digital solutions.

The aim of training and coaching is to build capacity to establish continuous improvement culture into the customer organizations. The concept and methodology of the training is based on Lean and Six Sigma.

Research and development activities are driven by customers’ practical needs and problems. The approach of Smart & Lean is fact-based, in which the extensive data analysis has a key role, but not limited to. By collaborative- and co-creation activities, the extract of tacit knowledge and engagement of participants are confirmed.

The European Rural Development Network (ERDN) is an international research association (NGO) based in Poland. Established in 2002, the Network is meant to encompass the leading research centres and stimulate their joint works on the state and paths of transformation of rural areas in Europe, and in particular in its central, eastern and south-eastern countries. Activities of the Network are parallel to the Community’s idea of building the European Research Area for agriculture and rural development. The involvement of institutions, but mostly all of its individual experts from EU and Non-EU CEECs, makes it – apart from a research network – a forum for knowledge and information exchange based on mutual friendship, trust and goodwill. This decides on the unique character of the ERDN, where informal ties (social capital) and commitment of a group of people from various countries is the value added of the strictly scientific work.

After 16 years of successful cooperation the ERDN is one of leading research initiatives in Central-Eastern Europe enabling knowledge transfer between the EU countries, the Eastern Europe and Western Balkans. Multinational team gives to ERDN a great potential for cross-country research, including surveys, pilots, case studies, data and policy analysis in native languages of many European countries, i.e.: Hungary, Romania, Czechia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova, Bosnia, Slovenia, Turkey, Austria, Italy, Poland, amongst others.

The efforts of the Network’s members in investigation of rural processes provide extensive information needed to understand the specificity of rural development in CEE, especially in the context of the EU policy reforms and enlargements. Different scientific backgrounds, international origin of the ERDN experts and over a decade of successful cooperation help to prepare complex and interdisciplinary solutions for research and policy making. The members of the Network are representing the leading universities and research institutes in Central-Eastern Europe and different scientific background. Research outcomes of the Network members are presented during ERDN annual conference (16 conferences since 2002) published in the ERDN open-access, peer-reviewed yearbook “Rural areas and development”. As part of cooperation within the ERDN, a number of successful proposals of the research projects were drawn up by our Members and submitted under the EU Framework Programmes (e.g. FARO EU, CEEC AGRIPOLICY, COMPETE, PERCEIVE). ERDN is also an active partner in BIOEAST (Central Eastern European Initiative for Knowledge-based Agriculture, Aquaculture and Forestry in Bioeconom) initiative.

Murgia Più is a Local Action Group consortium including private and public entities, e.g. municipalities, the Alta Murgia National Park, farmers’ unions, SMEs. The mission of Murgia Più is promoting local development of the area including the municipalities of Canosa di Puglia, Gravina in Puglia, Minervino Murge, Poggiorsini, Ruvo di Puglia and Spinazzola, in the south-east of Italy. Murgia Più conceives local development as a cross-cutting issue, involving different economic sectors alongside environmental sustainability, conservation of natural and cultural heritage, innovation and social inclusion. Murgia Più fully applies a participatory approach, by actively involving local communities and stakeholders in the decision making process.

The mission of Murgia Più is mainly pursued through EU, national and regional funding. Within the 2007-2013 RDP of Puglia Region, co-funded by the EAFRD, Murgia Più acted as a Local Action Group and successfully managed a local development plan with a budget of approximately € 12 million. The whole plan gave a substantial boost to the local economy and enabled Murgia Più strengthening its ties with the local communities.

Green Growth Platform (GGP) is a non-governmental organization formed by young professionals from the Republic of North Macedonia with a purpose of empowering the concept of green growth in all segments of the Macedonia national economy as well as in the economies in the region.

GGP key goals are encouraging green growth development, promoting information and communication technologies in the function of green growth development, education and training, development and promotion of contemporary knowledge and practices, enhancing institutional capacities, supporting the formulation and implementation of development policies.

GGP is focused on three main pillars: agriculture and rural development, environment and innovations. All of the three pillars are based on two horizontal functions: sustainability and EU compliance.

Agriculture and rural development make the first pillar and primary focus of the Green Growth Platform. These sectors are in GGP focus because we have an understanding that there is an underutilization of the natural resources and perception of social and economic inequality when compared to other sectors.

Green Growth Platform assists farmers and other stakeholders to achieve a better understanding in the areas of agricultural development, agribusiness and agricultural markets. Its team is specifically focused on international agricultural development, having knowledge and skills to create enabling environment for development of the agri-food industries in Western Balkans and Eastern Europe. In this area we are specialized in modern technologies that can leverage the process of agricultural development.

Additionally, GGP focuses on environmental protection (which includes activities like prevention of  environmental deterioration as a result of human activities, control of human activities that contribute towards deterioration of our environment, initiation measures for the improvement of our environment and increasing public awareness about the state of our environment), sustainable development and zero population growth.