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Open Calls

Within the framework of the PoliRuralPlus project, a series of four open calls are anticipated. These calls are designed to attract and fund innovative proposals that align with the project’s overarching aims. The primary objective of these calls is to extend the impact of the PoliRuralPlus initiative, exploring new methodologies, technologies, and strategies for rural-urban development.

The calls aim to:

  • Encourage innovative approaches to rural development that can be replicated or scaled across different regions.
  • Promote collaboration among stakeholders from various sectors, including technology, agriculture, and regional planning, to address rural challenges in a holistic manner.
  • Generate insights and solutions that can inform policy and practice, contributing to the broader objectives of balanced rural-urban development.

Maximum support for one organisation across all calls can be 60.000 Euro.

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OUTREACH CALL

Objective: foster grassroots innovation in rural-urban interactions; to uncover and support unique ideas that redefine rural-urban interactions, demonstrating a deep dive into regional intricacies and fostering grassroots innovations.

Focused on exploring the unique dynamics between rural and urban areas, this call encourages stakeholders from 9 key EU regions to share innovative ideas. Selected initiatives, awarded a lump sum of 5,000 EUR, will foster regional innovation, leveraging local insights to strengthen rural-urban synergies.

Expected Results:

  • Funding of the most promising project from each region with a lump sum of 5,000 EUR to stimulate regional innovation and the development of grassroots initiatives.
  • Generation and support of innovative ideas aimed at redefining rural-urban interactions, gathered from workshops across key EU regions.
  • Extending the PoliRuralPlus stakeholder database.
  • Collect and describe a set of innovative ideas supporting the call objective.
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Specific Objectives per Pilot Area

Pilot 1, situated in Ireland's Monaghan County, aims to foster a vibrant and integrated Rural-Urban community by 2030. Through the "Rural and Urban Monaghan County Action Plan," the pilot endeavours to create an inclusive environment where all residents enjoy an enhanced quality of life while promoting innovation and prosperity.

Specific objectives to be addressed:

  • Uncover pathways for enterprise development in the green economy
  • Identifying emerging sectors and innovative practices in the green economy.
  • Highlight opportunities for growth in the environmental sector.
  • Inform strategies for promoting sustainable livelihoods and community development.
  • Identification of social enterprise opportunities and support mechanisms, the research could strengthen the social enterprise sector.

Slovakia's pilot (Pilot 2), covering the entire country, focuses on envisioning more attractive rural areas, striving to revitalise Slovak rural regions through stakeholder engagement, political leadership, and capacity-building efforts. This pilot serves as a platform for inclusive consultations and decision-making processes, essential for shaping impactful policies.

Specific objectives to be addressed:

  • Vision for more attractive rural areas
  • Revitalization of Slovak rural areas
  • Stakeholder engagement and capacity building
  • Inclusive consultations and decision-making processes

Pilot 3, located in the region of Central Greece, is geared towards providing training in sustainable agritech technologies and promotional services for agritourism. By enhancing digital skills and promoting local agricultural products, this pilot aims to stimulate economic diversification and capitalise on the region's natural resources.

Specific objectives to be addressed:

  • Training for sustainable agritech technologies
  • Promotional services for agritourism
  • Increase in digital skills among AKIS actors
  • Diversification of agritourism opportunities and promotion of local agricultural products

Italian pilot (Pilot 4), situated in Apulia, emphasises the establishment of short food supply chains to strengthen connections between rural and urban areas. By promoting healthy diets and rural lifestyles, this initiative aims to foster synergies and attract urban dwellers to rural communities.

Specific objectives to be addressed:

  • Establishment of short food supply chains
  • Promotion of healthy diets and rural lifestyles
  • Creation of direct linkages between rural and urban citizens
  • Attraction of urban dwellers to rural areas

Pilot 5 in Finland, situated in the Mallusjoki rural district, aims to build a Rural Event Industry Ecosystem, fostering community engagement, cooperation, and economic opportunities through rural events. By leveraging the region's natural assets and creative sector, this pilot seeks to attract visitors from urban areas and stimulate rural development.

Specific objectives to be addressed:

  • Building the Rural Event Industry Ecosystem
  • Community engagement and cooperation
  • Economic opportunities through rural events
  • Attraction of urban visitors to rural areas

Pilot 6, the Bavaria-Czechia rural innovation network, defined by the Bohemian Forest (Šumava and Bayerischer Wald) and surrounding areas, aims to enhance connectivity, innovation, and social capital across rural and urban areas. By establishing incubators and fostering cultural connections, this pilot strives to create a conducive environment for rural startups and strengthen territorial identity.

Specific objectives to be addressed:

  • Establishment of the Bavaria-Czechia Rural Innovation Network
  • Improvement of connections and strategies for synergistic development
  • Enhancement of business and innovation opportunities
  • Strengthening of social connectivity and territorial identity

Spanish pilot (Pilot 7), situated in Segobriga and region of Sierra y Mancha Conquense, centres on rural-urban synergies and cultural heritage, leveraging the Segobriga Archaeological Park as a focal point for community collaboration and economic development. This initiative aims to attract visitors, foster local entrepreneurship, and bridge the gap between rural and urban areas.

Specific objectives to be addressed:

  • Promotion of rural-urban synergies and cultural heritage
  • Utilisation of the Segobriga Archaeological Park as a focal point
  • Economic development through community collaboration
  • Bridging the gap between rural and urban areas

Pilot 8 in Latvia's Vidzeme Planning Region is a public regional development institution. Its mission is to coordinate and promote long-term and well-balanced development of the region, which is guided by the VPR Development Programme (DP). So far there are no systematic mechanisms to monitor progress of VPR DP on a territorial level, and so far, it is monitored only on an organization level. It is very important that each goal and planned activities of a VPR DP responds directly to needs of inhabitants and where possible actively involve them into the action. Therefore, a transparent, reliable system for collecting, aggregating and communicating regional development progress to the public is a necessity. The establishment of a unified monitoring framework in the Vidzeme planning region as a territory is very important in order to ensure a successful development management process and feedback to each of the parties involved in the implementation of the VPR Development Programme, thus also promoting the interest and involvement of each resident of the region in the development of their place, region and Vidzeme region as a whole.

Topics to be addressed:

  • Exploring/understanding mechanisms for developing sustainable and resilient rural economies in the Vidzeme region
  • Strengthening capacity for monitoring of regional/territorial effects of the production of high-added value products and services within smart specialisation areas of the Vidzeme region
  • More effective and inclusive governance mechanisms for rural and urban stakeholders in the Vidzeme region
  • Tools to increase take-up of innovation support instruments by businesses in the region

Pilot 9 in Malta targets digital transformation and entrepreneurial capacity building in rural areas, aiming to level up agricultural sectors through digitization and youth empowerment. By fostering collaboration between rural and urban stakeholders, this pilot endeavours to bridge societal divides and promote circularity.

Specific objectives to be addressed:

  • Digital transformation and entrepreneurial capacity building in rural areas
  • Levelling up of agricultural sectors through digitization
  • Empowerment of youth and promotion of circularity
  • Bridging societal divides between rural and urban areas
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Eligibility criteria

To ensure the integrity and impact of the PoliRuralPlus project, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Type of organisation: Any type of organisation can apply for the Outreach Call funding as long as they have the operational and financial capacity to carry out the tasks that they propose.
  2. Single applicants: Only single organisations are eligible to apply. Consortia or joint submissions are not permitted for this call.
  3. Eligible countries: Applicants must be legally established in an EU Member State or an Associated Country as outlined by the Horizon Europe rules.
  4. One proposal per applicant: Only one proposal will be accepted for funding per applicant. In the case of multiple submissions, only the last one received (timestamp of the system) will enter into the evaluation process, the rest being declared as non-eligible.
  5. Declaration of honour: Applicants must declare their eligibility and no conflict of interest in the online application.
  6. Pilot specific proposals: The proposal must address specific challenges and opportunities identified within one of the 9 designated pilot regions of the PoliRuralPlus project.
  7. Language: English is the official language for PoliRuralPlus open calls. Submissions and deliverables done in any other language will not be evaluated. Any supporting documents requested at the time of proposal submission must also be in English, except the document proving the legal status of the organisation.
  8. GDPR compliance: Any project involving personal data must adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure data privacy and protection.
  9. Non-beneficiary clause: Organisations currently receiving funding or classified as beneficiaries under the PoliRuralPlus project are ineligible.

Obligatory deliverables

  1. Database of Stakeholders: An accurately maintained, GDPR-compliant record of all stakeholders involved. A template for data collection will be provided.
  2. Blog post(s): A contribution to the PoliRuralPlus blog available at the PoliRuralPlus Knowledge Hub.
  3. User Needs and Innovation Solutions Report: A detailed document outlining the needs identified through stakeholder consultations. A template for this deliverable will be provided.

Submission process

Proposal submissions are solely via the online form on the PoliRuralPlus Knowledge Hub, for which the link will be provided once the submission opens.

Upon submission, applicants will receive a confirmation email, ensuring that their proposal has been successfully received.

The proposal contains two parts:

  • Part A: Administrative Form - This section is designed to collect essential information about your organisation and designated contacts for technical and contractual matters. Please provide accurate and complete details to facilitate smooth communication throughout the application and project implementation process.
  • Part B: Technical Description - Part B of the proposal is the narrative part that includes three sections that each correspond to an evaluation criterion. Part B needs to be uploaded as a PDF document following the template provided as part of the open call documents. Part B includes the proposed budget and its justification.

Guidelines for applicants

For more information about the open call and evaluation process, see Guidelines for applicants:

The official Call for Proposal document can be found here:

If you have any questions, contact opencalls@poliruralplus.eu

UPCOMING CALLS

  • Objective: To mobilise local stakeholders, IT experts, and regional advisors, leveraging AI/DL tools to illuminate their potential in transforming rural-urban interactions, and fostering community-driven innovations.
  • 9 proposals to be funded.
  • Expected opening date: January 2025

Expected Results:

  • Successful Hackathon/Ideathon events across EU regions, showcasing the impact of AI/DL tools on rural-urban dynamics.
  • Active engagement of local stakeholders, leading to the creation of prototypes and solutions that integrate technology with local insights.
  • A dedicated budget of 10.000 EUR for each region to support participation and innovation.

  • Objective: To curate and support innovative solutions that address the unique challenges and opportunities within rural-urban dynamics, showcasing the adaptability and applicability of these solutions across the EU.
  • 5-15 proposals to be funded.
  • Expected opening date: May 2025

Expected Results:

  • Funding and support for new use cases that offer innovative approaches to rural-urban interaction challenges, with financial support ranging from 30.000 to 100.000 EUR based on their complexity and potential impact.
  • Encouragement of collaboration across single and multi-organizational teams to foster a wide range of solutions.

  • Objective: To refine and augment existing models of rural-urban interactions with new, innovative approaches that address specific challenges, ensuring continuous improvement and sustainability.
  • 7-15 proposals to be funded.
  • Expected opening date: May 2025

Expected Results:

  • Proposals that offer significant improvements and added value over existing models, with selected initiatives receiving up to 25.000 EUR based on their scope and potential.
  • Integration of 7-15 initiatives that align with PoliRuralPlus objectives, ensuring continuous innovation and improvement in rural-urban dynamics.