Horizon 2020 | SIMRA: Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas

SIMRA: Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas 

Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA) is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. SIMRA seeks to advance understanding of social innovation and innovative governance in agriculture, forestry and rural development, and how to boost them, particularly in marginalised rural areas across Europe, with a focus on the Mediterranean region (including non-EU) where there is limited evidence of outcomes and supporting conditions.

SIMRA’s overarching objective is to fill the significant knowledge gap in understanding and enhancing social innovation in marginalised rural areas by advancing the state-of-the-art in social innovation and connected governance mechanisms in agriculture and forestry sectors and in rural development in general. This objective will be achieved by blending diverse theoretical positions into a coherent explanation of spatial variability of social innovation, encompassing its empirical diversity (complexities and various dimensions), co-constructing a novel evaluative toolkit, and developing improved knowledge of determinants of success in order to answer the question of how to support enhanced governance and social innovations, addressing specificities and priorities of social needs and new social relationships and collaborations, especially in marginalised rural areas across the EU, Associated States and other countries, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean region, including non-EU Mediterranean countries. In this territorial context, the specific objectives of SIMRA include:

  1. A systematic theoretical framework and a systematic operational framework developed for categorising, understanding, and operationalising social innovation in different settings and across scales.
  2. A categorisation/classification (‘catalogue of diversity’) of the social innovations observable in rural areas considering the varying specificities in terms of social needs, priorities and social relationships/collaboration types etc.
  3. An integrated set of methods developed for the evaluation of social innovation and its impacts in rural areas across the target region.
  4. A co-constructed evaluation will be carried out (by academic and practice community) of success factors for social innovations across selected case studies (CSs),
  5. New/improved knowledge of social innovations and novel governance mechanisms coming from the analysis (primarily CSs),
  6. Collaborative learning and networking opportunities created and innovative actions (IAs) launched by integrating,

Official website

Grant agreement ID: 677622

 Duration: Start date1 April 2016 – End date31 March 2020

 Budget: Overall € 5 935 828,75 – EU contribution€ 5 575 828,75

25 partners

Coordinated by THE JAMES HUTTON INSTITUTE, United Kingdom

Partnership: International Center for Research on The Environment and the Economy (ICRE8) – GREECE

Principal Investigator (PI) is Prof. Koundouri and members of the team are: Dr. Ebun Akinsete


  • Ravazzoli E, Dalla Torre C, Da Re R, Marini Govigli V, Secco L, Górriz-Mifsud E, Pisani E, Barlagne C, Baselice A, Bengoumi M, Dijskhoorn-Dekker M, Labidi A, Lopolito A, Melnykovych M, Perlik M, Polman N, Sarkki S, Vassilopoulos A, Koundouri P, Miller D, Streifeneder T, Nijnik M. Can Social Innovation Make a Change in European and Mediterranean Marginalized Areas? Social Innovation Impact Assessment in Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, and Rural DevelopmentSustainability. 2021; 13(4):1823. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041823

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