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Focus Group 2: Preserving the innovative/experimental character of LEADER


Preserving the innovative and experimental character of LEADER is recognized to be a challenge for all involved in the implementation of LEADER in 2007-13. The Focus Group aimed to develop:

  • definition of the scope of innovation relevant for LEADER;
  • examples of good practice in the design and implementation of eligibility conditions for innovative projects and innovation support schemes;
  • suggestions for improvements to implementation procedures for the current programming period;
  • recommendations for the future.


Marieke Koot, NRN Netherlands and Frank Bartelt, MA Germany


The group has 16 participants drawn from 13 Member states and includes representatives of Managing Authorities, NRN support units, LAGs and one research institution.

Main activities up to February 2011

  • The FG has held one full meeting on 28th January 2010 in Brussels at which case studies from Poland and Austria were presented and discussed as well as presentations from other Member States on the innovative approaches in LEADER at the RDP, local development strategy and project levels.
  • A questionnaire was developed and circulated to members of the group to be completed in respect of in their own Member State. It related to the definition of innovation, procedures and eligibility rules applicable to innovative projects.
  • A draft of a first progress report and two case studies (at the local strategy/project level highlighting the practicalities of implementing innovative approaches on the ground) were presented at the LEADER subcommittee meeting of 20th May 2010.
  • The Extended report was completed and included the results of the questionnaire and case studies. The final version of the Extended report was established in November 2010. The report covers two main aspects:
    • Findings on eligibility criteria for innovation, the appropriate level to define innovation and on difficulties related to the financial framework.
    • Possible solutions at the different levels: EU regulatory framework, RDP and local development strategy.
  • The final results of the work of the group including recommendations for possible solutions and case studies was presented during LEADER Subcommittee meeting of 12th November 2010.
  • Summary of the Extended report was established in February 2011.
  • Further Activities: It is intended that the findings of FG2 will feed into other ENRD activities related to the implementation and improvement of EU rural development policy.

Relevant Documents

  • Summary of the Extended Report [PDF ]
  • Extended Report on Preserving the Innovative Character of LEADER [PDF ]