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University research is awarded 500,000 euros in EU funding

Researchers at University of Gloucestershire have won 500,000 euros in funding for a collaborative project aimed at improving knowledge exchange between rural businesses and communities across Europe.

Professor Janet Dwyer, Dr Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins and PhD student Caitlin Hafferty from the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI), based at the University, secured the funding from Horizon Europe – an EU research and innovation programme. The work will complement CCRI’s already strong research role in the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE) in England.

The team is looking at how businesses and communities can innovate, exploring new approaches to sourcing and analysing rural information and data, with a view to aiding planning, while considering the opportunities and challenges of climate change, demographic shifts and digitalisation.

Their four-year research project is entitled RUSTIK – Rural Sustainability Transitions through Integration of Knowledge for improved policy processes.

Professor Janet Dwyer

Janet Dwyer, Professor of Rural Policy, said: “Bryonny, Caitlin and I are delighted to have secured funding from the Horizon Europe programme for RUSTIK to help support the research we are carrying out jointly with our partners in Europe.

“We will be working with Gloucestershire Rural Community Council and Torridge District Council in North West Devon as partners among a suite of 10 ‘Living Labs’ across Europe, researching rural diversity and societal transformations.

“Our fieldwork in the UK will be linked to a network of other sites across Europe providing opportunities to experiment and share ideas, and generate lessons and recommendations for practice and for policy. This will help to improve access to better quality rural information for businesses and communities.”

Dr Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins

The full consortium involves 31 partners and is led by the Institute for Rural Development Research in Frankfurt, Germany.

The Horizon Europe programme tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth. UK researchers can apply for funding on the same terms as EU-based applicants.