EDORA – European Development Opportunities for Rural Areas

What kind of policy is needed to achieve “smart sustainable and inclusive growth” across rural Europe during the second decade of the 21st Century?

The EDORA project was funded through the ESPON 2013 Programme, partly financed by the European Regional Development fund. The study involved a mix of theoretical and applied research across 12 EU member states between 2008 and 2010. The CCRI was one of 16 partners, with research on urban-rural linkages and territorial cooperation undertaken by Dr Paul Courtney. The project was coordinated by Dr Andrew Copus of the UHI Millennium Institute.

The EDORA research team comprised 16 partners from 12 EU Member States:

  • UHI Millennium Institute UK
  • Nordregio – Nordic Centre for Spatial Development
  • Newcastle University UK
  • University of Valencia ES
  • Research Committee – University of Patras GR
  • The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority IE
  • CCRI, University of Gloucestershire UK
  • University of Ljubljana SI
  • Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries. DE
  • Federal Institute for Less-Favoured and Mountainous Areas AT
  • Dortmund University of Technology DE
  • Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy of Sciences PL
  • Institute of Economics Hungarian Academy of Sciences HU
  • Higher Institut of Agronomy PT
  • Scottish Agricultural College UK
  • IOM International Organization for Migration/Central European Forum for Migration and Population Research PL

The EDORA study sought to better understand the patterns of differentiation across rural Europe. The study concluded that most of the challenges and opportunities faced by rural areas are essentially ubiquitous, and that increasing differentiation is principally a consequence of differing capacities to respond. This in turn is a function of each region’s unique constellation of assets, both “hard” and “soft” (intangible). The key challenge for rural cohesion policy relates to intangible assets, such as human and social capital, institutional capacity, entrepreneurial culture, and networking of various kinds.

Tailoring the policy response to each region’s potential points to a ‘neo-endogenous’ approach, where local knowledge and commitment is supported by advice and regulation from the EU and National levels. Advocacy of such an approach highlights the pressing need for more appropriate indicators, and regional auditing procedures, to facilitate assessment of intangible assets.

This project received an EC Programme funds subsidy under the ESPON 2013 Programme.

The findings from the EDORA study were presented at a policy seminar in Brussels in December 2010.