Innovation

Mountain areas-A spirit of innovation

silhouette-74565_640Being obliged to deal with major challenges in their everyday life, mountain people have been dynamic and innovative throughout the ages. Problems of remoteness and accessibility, lack of services, sparseness of population and businesses, etc. all these disadvantages mountain areas have to face do have a positive implication as well. New ideas and original ways of overcoming these difficulties illustrate that constraints can be turned into engines of innovation, innovation being here understood in a broad sense, as being not only technological but also organisational, social, environmental, etc.

Innovation at the core of Europe’s vision

cress-255938_1920Innovation is increasingly considered as a key lever solution to achieve greater competitiveness of European countries at a global scale and to respond to the consequences of the financial crisis of 2008. To do this, European policy makers have made a commitment to encourage all European regions to better stimulate innovation and competitiveness and to help them build on their strengths. Several strategies have been developed to this end:

  • EU2020 Strategy – Innovation Union:  Innovation, together with research, is the core of this strategy aiming to energize European businesses. Constantly raising awareness of the opportunities that lie in mountain and rural areas will be of high importance for future policy developments in that respect.

  • EU Innovation Partnerships: the European Commission introduced “Innovation Partnerships” as from 2011, starting with one partnership dedicated to “Active and Healthy Ageing” followed-up by Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability, Water, Raw Materials, and Smart Cities. Mountain areas should have their say and collaborate in those partnerships in order to raise awareness of the specificities of these regions.

Euromontana also closely follows the Smart Specialization Strategy approach implemented by the European Commission. “Smart specialisation means identifying the unique characteristics and assets of each country and region, highlighting each region’s competitive advantages, and rallying regional stakeholders and resources around an excellence-driven vision of their future.” (RIS3 Factsheet) Mountain people and businesses are particularly well placed to develop innovative solutions and new ideas because they face specific challenges that require specific solutions such as: demographic changes, climate change, international competition in both economy and access to markets, and digital divide. These challenges are a great stimulus to creativity. Fostering innovation is the most promising way forward to address these challenges, thus contributing to economic diversification and to increased competitiveness.

Our actions

mountain-299000_1920The theme of innovation is too rarely associated with rural and mountain areas. Euromontana members adopted as an objective to contribute to fill this gap through networking, communication and projects development.

In the course of the preparation of the VIIth European Mountain Convention entitled “European Mountain Areas – A spirit of Innovation” innovation became a central topic in the network’s reflections. During this high-level conference it was proved that mountain areas have a lot to contribute when it comes to innovation.

Policy-representation

trekking-245311_640Follow–up of activities at EU level: Euromontana closely follows and informs its members about the European policy development regarding innovation.

Events

Studies

Projects

SIMRA (2016-2020)

Euromontana is a partner of the HORIZON 2020 project “SIMRA” coordinated by the James Hutton Institute in the UK.

The project aims to advance understanding and promote social innovation in agriculture, forestry, and rural development, particularly in marginalized rural areas of Europe and the Mediterranean region. It will create a classification of social innovations in rural areas, create an integrated set of methods to evaluate social innovations and their impacts, and synthesise and disseminate new and improved knowledge of social innovations and novel governance mechanisms.

A New CAP: Mountains of Opportunity (2014)

“A new CAP: Mountain of opportunities” is an information campaign coordinated by Euromontana, in collaboration with six of its members from Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia and Romania. This campaign is co-funded by the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission.

Read the thematic factsheet on Innovation here

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