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Project partners

Overview


1 . Institute for Rural Development Research (IfLS)

The Institute for Rural Development Research (IfLS) was established in 1956 as an independent research institute attached to the University of Frankfurt. A scientific board links the IfLS with the University. Funding received for research and consulting projects constitutes the financial basis of the institute. The main clients are the European Commission, ministries, and agencies of the state (agriculture, regional development, environment, economy) and the German Länder as well as various foundations and non-governmental organisations. The main fields of research and consulting are the integration of agricultural goals with rural development and environmental objectives, the exploration of processes of agricultural structural change, and of its determinants and implications, the monitoring and evaluation of the effects of agricultural policy with advice on policy formulation, and, related to that, concepts and programmes for supporting a sustainable development of rural areas. In the last 45 years the IfLS has cooperated with EU and national bodies, programmes, networks and initiatives in over 400 projects.

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AGRIDEA is active in training agricultural extension workers and preparing training material for rural communities since 1958, in all aspects linked to farming (production, management, environment, marketing).
AGRIDEA employs 100 engineers and scientists, active in all the topics related to agriculture and rural development, biodiversity and natural resources. AGRIDEA is a national Swiss non profit organization which is involved in advisory, training and research in the field of agriculture and rural development. The mission of AGRIDEA is to provide to farmers and rural actors, the access to knowledge, tools and competences to upgrade their efficiency, their capacity to adapt and their quality of life. AGRIDEA has strong partnerships with farmer advisory organizations, teaching institutions, public administrations and ministries, farmers associations and research institutes.
 
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UNIPI is an interdisciplinary department where crop science, animal production, rural engineering, botany and agricultural and environmental economic research are carried out. The Agricultural Economics group of UNIPI has a long-standing experience in the research on rural development. It has a distinguished position in the scientific Italian landscape for its interdisciplinary approach, which has opened agricultural economics to social studies and to issues related to the agri-environment. Pisa school is also generally recognised as a major contributor to the concept of ‘rural district’ and to its application to public policies, and it is the group which has introduced the concept of ‘rural communication’ into agricultural studies in Italy. The group has a profound experience in the field of agriculture and rural change in Tuscany, and for this reason it strongly cooperates with the Regional government of Tuscany and with the Regional Development Agency in the fields of rural development and agro-food policies.
 
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Baltic Studies Centre (BSC) is an independent research organisation, established in 1991 after Latvia regained its independence and the necessity for studying social and political transformations increased. In the last 15 years BSC has carried out over 40 research and consultancy projects. The areas of BSC expertise include: regional and rural development studies, sustainable agriculture, rural innovation, organic farming, multifunctionality of agriculture, analysis of food supply chains, community development, rural partnerships, and public policy analysis in relation to Latvia’s integration into the European Union. BSC researchers have taken part in the preparation of the annual Latvia Human Development Reports published by UNDP, elaboration of national development plans and programmes, e.g. Latvia Rural Development Programme, and Latvia National Development Plan for 2007-2013. Other topics of research include labour market analysis, development of small and medium-size enterprises, educational system reform, youth policy, ethnic relations, NGO sector development. Internationally, BSC has participated in EU 5th and 6th Framework Programme projects, EU COST Programme, EU PHARE Programme, the World Bank research projects, UNDP Programme ‘Partners in Development’, International Social Survey Programme projects, the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) programmes. The national clients have been The Ministry of Agriculture, The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, The Ministry of Welfare, the Bureau of Prime Minister of Latvia, the Latvian Council of Sciences, Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre, regional development agencies, media and other organisations.
 
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In connection with various challenges in society at large, the Communication Science Group of Wageningen University studies the role of communication in change processes. Keywords that best describe both the education and research programmes include: everyday communication, change and conflict management, social and organisational learning, awareness-raising and behavioural change. All this is linked to a variety of societal domains and issues, including: agriculture, healthcare, food science, biotechnology, water management, nature conservation, multiple land-use, sustainability and environmental management – in countries of the South and North. The sub-department Communication Science consists of two permanent chair groups: the Communication and Innovation Studies chair group headed by Professor Cees Leeuwis and the Communication Management chair group headed by Professor Cees van Woerkum. Among the sub-themes dealt with are: interactive design processes, trans-disciplinary collaboration, social learning and negotiation processes, process and system innovation and the organisation of knowledge and policy networks. The chair group studies issues of communication, innovation and policy, related to all themes of the WUR domain (for instance, ecological, sustainable agriculture, multifunctional land-use, biotechnology and the promotion of health). The Communication Management chair group focuses on communication within the context of the continuously changing relations between organisations and their environment. The chair group studies various issues of communication management, related to the gamut of organisations that work within the WUR domain (for instance agriculture, agribusiness chains, food, health, environment, green and blue spaces, etc...).
 
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The French Livestock Institute is an applied research and development institute of an associative character. IEL has a general mission providing innovation and gathering knowledge for livestock farmers. The French Livestock Institute employs 250 people of whom 180 are researchers and engineers. We are organised in four main departments: technical aspects and quality, farming systems and regional actions, economy and genetics. The farming systems and regional actions department is working with a farm network of 2000 farmers which represent important variability of existing production systems, geo-climatic and socio-economic situations. It focuses on systemic and global approaches to farms. The Project Engineering Group is part of the farming system and regional action department. It is specialised in project management, advisory methods and sociological studies. Since 1980 it has been working with the aim to help livestock farmers to create and adopt relevant innovations in order to improve their income, their working conditions, and mainly since 1990 to take into account social demands about environment, product quality, animal welfare and landscape. It developed innovative and participative advisory methods.
 
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Ruralia Institute is an institute of the University of Helsinki which is one of the leading universities in the Baltic Sea Area, being a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), founded in 2002 as an association of twelve research-intensive universities sharing the values of high-quality teaching within an environment of internationally competitive research. Ruralia Institute is the Finnish centre of multidisciplinary academic research in Rural Studies as well as the regional centre of education, development and training in Savo, Eastern Finland’s interior region. The institute practices keen cooperation with regional partners. Development in the Ruralia Institute serves business life, supports regional development and promotes innovations. Development projects combine research knowledge and rural development requirements. Research in the Ruralia Institute is closely interconnected with rural development. In its own fields of rural expertise, the Institute especially carries out applied and multidisciplinary research.
 
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