Rural Inspiration Awards (RIA) 2021: Our Rural Future

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Rural Inspiration Awards
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Successful stories can inspire more people to replicate similar initiatives elsewhere and unlock the potential of the EAFRD to help rural areas meet the wide range of economic, environmental and social challenges of the 21st century. For this to happen, though, key information about the projects has to be collected and effectively shared.

The theme of this year Rural Inspiration Awards (RIA) 2021 is 'Our Rural Future' in line with the Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas developed by the European Commission. This initiative will set out a vision for the future of rural areas by 2040 and gather views covering challenges such as demographic change, connectivity, low income levels and limited access to services.

Purpose of the competition

  1. To increase the visibility of rural development policy and the EAFRD's contribution to the Long Term Vision for Rural Areas. 
  2. To promote knowledge exchange and networking among rural development stakeholders. 
  3. To assist the common work of NRNs and the ENRD, in particular in the following tasks:
  • the collection of examples of projects at national level;
  • promoting their sharing at European level via the ENRD;
  • facilitating thematic and analytical exchanges.  

To contribute to the work of ENRD's Thematic Group on the Long Term Vision for Rural Areas, organised by the ENRD CP for 2020-2021. 

Thematic categories linked to the Long Term Rural Vision

Green Futures: Projects or initiatives addressing or mitigating climate change, demonstrating sustainability and contributing to the green recovery which signal or demonstrate a step change or a more widely transferrable approach.

Digital Futures: Projects which show a sustainable approach which advances the benefits of digitalisation in farming and rural communities, whether about improving digital and broadband infrastructure, provision of digital services, uptake of new technology or in improving digital skills or knowledge.

Resilient Futures: Projects which demonstrate their contribution to strengthening the resilience of Rural Europe. This category can cover a wide range of community, value chain and business initiatives including the broader definition of sustainable and future-proof projects.

Socially Inclusive Futures: Projects which demonstrate the ability to address diverse aspects which contribute to the inclusiveness of rural society. While this can apply to wide range of marginalised groups, this would include gender, generational renewal, disability and seniors. This could also include social economy initiatives.

Popular Vote: In addition to the thematic categories, a Popular Vote Award will be awarded and decided via an online voting system.

Submitted projects

  1. All projects must be 2014-2020 EAFRD-funded.
  2. None of the previous shortlisted RIA finalists from 2019 or 2020 may be re-submitted.
  3. Projects may be on-going or finalised. If on-going, their implementation should be well-advanced.
  4. The projects must be submitted by the NSU/NRN.
  5. One NSU can submit in total up to 8 projects. Each NSU can submit entries across the four categories and is responsible for nominating the projects to the most appropriate category.
  6. The templates must be submitted in English.
  7. The final project entry as edited will be no more than 1500 words in total, with a maximum of three images per entry.

The submission period closed on 18 January 2021. More information on the Rural Inspiration Awards 2021 timeline here

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