Skip to content

EU publishes new CCRI-led research into rural development across Europe

Research headed up by the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) based at University of Gloucestershire, has been published by the EU.

Professor Janet Dwyer, Research Fellow Katarina Kubinakova, Dr John Powell, Dr Evgenia Micha and research assistant Fred Dunwoodie-Stirton led the study, which examines an approach to rural development across Europe.

The CCRI team worked with the Austrian Institute for Regional Studies, the Italian Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, and Aide à la Décision Economique (Belgium), as well as several national experts, to produce a report entitled ‘Evaluation Support Study on the Impact of LEADER on Balanced Territorial Development’.

The LEADER approach – a unique and integral part of the EU’s rural development policy –  aims to involve people and local organisations in the design of community-led rural development strategies, adopting a ‘bottom up’ approach to help ensure that funding meets local needs.

The new study gathered evidence on LEADER’s design, delivery and impacts including an analysis of spending by EU countries, two major EU-wide surveys of local actors and government administrations, as well as almost 300 interviews in 14 national and regional case studies.

Janet Dwyer, Professor of Rural Policy

Janet Dwyer, Professor of Rural Policy, said: “Our study concluded that LEADER developed solutions to effectively address economic and social development challenges and opportunities at local level.

“The study suggests that LEADER’s strongest areas are local job creation and maintenance, adding value to products and developing and improving local enterprise.

“Strengthening local governance, social inclusion and knowledge in LEADER areas was also identified as a benefit, while LEADER’s environmental impact was more modest.

“We recommended improvements in the bureaucracy of LEADER delivery, including clearer roles within national, regional and local government, simpler procedures and more resources for animation and collaboration, within and between local action groups.”

The study will contribute to the European Commission’s own evaluation of the impact of LEADER on balanced territorial development, to be published at the end of 2022.