Project info

Funding programme: Horizon Europe
Duration: 1 January 2024 – 31 December 2027
Coordinator: University of Burgos


Enhancing Social Innovation in Rural Areas

ESIRA (Enhancing Social Innovation in Rural Areas) aims to contribute to the roll out of place-based innovative social economy initiatives for rural inclusion and development in marginalised rural areas. The project will support enabling frameworks for social innovation, well interconnected policy architecture and directly piloting innovative solutions which ultimately build more inclusive, resilient and prosperous rural areas.

To this end, ESIRA will set up Multi Actor Platforms (MAPs) in 9 pilot areas across Europe, 5 of which are mountainous, each targeting a range of vulnerable groups including women, migrants, Roma, older people, young people and people with disabilities. Each MAP will pilot social economy initiatives aimed at strengthening the inclusion and living conditions of these groups. A large part of the project will be devoted to using these experiences to formulate recommendations for policy makers, to promote knowledge exchange and to encourage replication.

ESIRA unites a diverse consortium consisting of 15 partners from 8 countries representing the diversity of Europe’s rural areas. Euromontana’s main role will be to lead the activities relevant to policy recommendations. 4 Euromontana members are also partners: SODEBUR – the Society for the Development of the Province of Burgos (Spain), the Eastern Norway Research Institute (Norway), the County of Innlandet (Norway) and Cooperazione Trentina (Italy).

Expected impact

By the end of the project, ESIRA will help increasing policymakers and citizens’ understanding of marginalisation and social inclusion in rural areas, paving the way for better policies supporting the development of social innovations. The project will also enhance the economic opportunities linked to the development of social entrepreneurship in rural Europe, therefore also contributing to the improving access to services for vulnerable rural communities.

Ultimately, the project will contribute to the sustainable, balanced, equitable and inclusive development of Europe’s rural areas. In addition, ESIRA will empower local communities and provide them with the tools to act for place-based social, environmental and digital sustainable transformations and to design solutions for the inclusion of vulnerable populations and for reducing the feeling of being left behind.


Universidad De Burgos
SODEBUR Sociedad Para El Desarrollo De La Provincia De Burgos
Fundacion Oxigeno
Hetfa Kutatointezet Kft
Magyar Reformatus Szeretetszolgalat Alapitvan
Institut Za Razvoj I Inovacije – Iri
European Rural Development Network
Lietuvos Socialiniu Mokslu Centras

Druskininku Vietos Veiklos Grupe
Euricse It Partner
Borghiin Rete Di Imprese It Partner
Federazione Trentina Della Cooperazione Sc
Hogskolen I Innlandet
Innlandet Fylkeskommune