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Creating data for diverse rural futures

Rural proofing is a long established practice in European politics. But how do we know how European policies play out in rural areas? How can functional and diverse rural areas be fostered by European strategies and funding? The Horizon project “RUSTIK” (Rural Sustainability Transitions through Integration of Knowledge for improved policy processes), launched on September 1, aims at creating indicators and databases that enable better rural proofing for European policies.

The four-year transdisciplinary research project wants to enable rural communities’ actors and policy makers to design better strategies, initiatives and policies fostering sustainability transitions of rural areas. To achieve this, the project will contribute to an advanced understanding of different rural functionalities, characteristics and future scenarios of rural areas, their potentials and challenges.

RUSTIK focuses on grasping key transitions in rural areas, i.e. socio-economic transitions, changes through climate change and in the environment as well as digitalisation. From this starting point the project partners will create a robust methodological framework for understanding functional rural areas that will result in the development of databases integrating data of different types and sources. Against this background the project will provide improved strategies and governance approaches for rural decision makers and stakeholders, as well as improved approaches for rural impact assessment and decentralised rural proofing.

Central to the project are Living Labs in 14 European Pilot Regions in 10 European countries. They are the key element of an action-oriented multi-actor approach to researching rural diversity and societal transformations. The RUSTIK project is coordinated by IfLS e.V involving a consortium of 30 partner organisation. Among them is the Regionalrat Wirtschaft Rhein-Hunsrück e.V. [link in german], coordinating the Living Lab in the pilot region Rhein-Hunsrück.

You can find a short description of the project here.

Contact person at  IfLS: Simone Sterly (sterly[at]