On the occasion of the seminar “Extending LEADER Innovation” of the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD), taking place today 22 of February of 2017 in Brussels, LAG Ripolles (“Associació Leader Ripollès Ges Bisaura”) and “Associació d’Iniciatives Rurals de Catalunya” have presented experiences and examples on the links to regional approach and endogenous resources, renewables, environment, forestry, jobs and society. On this regards, Albert Puigvert Tuneu has presented the projects ENFOCC and BCN Smart Rural.

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Background (from “Extending LEADER Innovation)

This seminar will focus on the different ways in which LAGs and other actors can strengthen and improve innovation in LEADER at local, regional, national and EU levels, extending its scope and raising ambitions. Recognising the importance of rural innovation and that:

  • Innovation is one of the founding principles of the 2.600 LEADER groups expected to be operating across Europe at local level but has faced implementation challenges;
  • Around 3.000 Operational Groups will bring producers and innovation actors together to co-create knowledge trackling specific problems or opportunities relevant for farmers/foresters; and
  • Every region in the EU has developed a Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation.

There are points in common and points of difference between these approaches. In focusing on LEADER’s role in stimulating and supporting local creativity and the capability to build on local assets and achieve the best solutions the seminar will:

  • Allow participants to explore how local strategies developed and managed by LEADER Local Action Groups can be reinvigorated by improving their approach to innovation and how delivery systems can support this; and
  • Consider how synergies and complementarity between LEADER innovation and the local relevance of other strands of EU innovation policy (and in particular EIP Operational Groups and Regional Research Innovation Strategies) can be strengthened. How enhancing local relevance and bringing these together can support local rural communities in adrdressing some of the major challenges and opportunities they face today.
  • Develop a set of practical actions and recommendations trough which LEADER innovation activities can be improved to better address local needs and take advantage of and contribute to regional and wider innovation initiatives.

The initiation of a practitioner working group focused on improving the implementation and effectiveness of LEADER’s rural innovation activities and the links to other rural innovation instruments is anticipated as an output of this seminar.

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