HORIZON EUROPE FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME┋International benchmarking of rural and territorial policies and delivery mechanisms



Expected Outcome

The successful proposal will contribute to fostering a sustainable, balanced, equitable and inclusive development of rural areas, supporting the implementation of the long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas objectives (contributing to make rural areas stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous), the rural pact, the European Rural Observatory, the European territorial agenda for 2030, and to the European Green Deal more in general, and in particular to the EU climate adaptation strategy.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of following expected outcomes:

  • Improved understanding of rural development and territorial policies existing across the world, as well as delivery mechanisms by policy makers at different levels (e.g. international, national, regional and local).
  • Upgraded and more innovative and integrated rural policy frameworks (e.g. for rural revitalisation and attractiveness, for improving rural innovation ecosystems, for urban-rural linkages, for improved adaptation strategies, plans and measures that aims at addressing climate change in a systemic manner) at different levels (e.g. international, national, regional, local) capitalising on international knowledge exchange to increase inclusive and sustainable rural well-being;
  • Enhanced uptake of a positive narrative on the future of rural areas at international level by policymakers.


The study and implementation of rural policies is unequally advanced across the world. The project funded under this topic should contribute to increase policymakers’ understanding of rural challenges and strengthen their capacities to implement adequate policy responses to these challenges in order to increase inclusive and sustainable well-being in rural areas, considering also climate change mitigation and adaptation. Proposals are expected to work by adopting a holistic vision to rural development and/or revitalisation, avoiding a sectorial approach (e.g. rural development should not be limited to agricultural development, but overarch several aspects of the rural life).

Proposals are expected to:

  • Perform international benchmarking of rural policies within the EU and third countries who appear as best practice examples of science-society-policy exchange activities, global dialogue on rural policies and capacity building for policymakers working at different levels (e.g., international, national, regional, and local);
  • Analyse delivery mechanisms (decentralised vs centralised, quality of multi-level governance, role of politics, etc.) and ways to measure impact combining both quantitative and qualitative methods;
  • Focus on multi-dimensional policies (e.g. coordination among different policies and different policy level, from local to international) that address several needs and challenges in an integrated manner;
  • Analyse also rural and territorial policies that were developed with and for rural communities and identify effective citizen engagement methods;
  • Identify and analyse also successful policy measures aimed at creating opportunities for young people in rural areas;
  • Enhance peer-to-peer learning among international, national, regional and local policy makers by experimenting different mechanisms and tools for effective knowledge exchange, even among different levels, on best practices and lessons learnt about rural and territorial policies and delivery mechanisms;
  • Provide recommendations to policy makers at different levels (e.g. international, national, regional and local) on how to best address rural needs and challenges and foster sustainable balanced, equitable and inclusive development of rural areas.
  • Provide recommendations to policy makers at different levels, in particular regional and local, on how to best access and make use of existing funds.
  • Projects should provide relevant results, in particular develop a framework to measure communities’ well-being beyond economic indicators (including social, health-related, environmental) to measure policy impacts in rural areas that can be linked with the work of the upcoming EU Rural Observatory.

This topic should involve the effective contribution of social sciences and humanities (SSH) disciplines (e.g., economics, international studies, development studies, political science, citizen engagement studies, and human geography).

In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is strongly encouraged.

Legal entities from third countries can take part in the project as associated partner or beneficiary.

Application date
Social sciences : Economy, Geography, International Relations, Political science, Environmental Sciences, Sociology
Citizen Sciences