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DESIRA: focus on digitalisation in rural areas

DESIRA brings together 25 organisations from across Europe
"The first step is to gain a solid understanding of 'the game' – the variables involved and the context – and then identify the main stakeholders in the digitisation landscape"

A new research project involving the James Hutton Institute is aiming to improve the capacity of society and political bodies to respond to the challenges that digitalisation generates in rural areas, agriculture and forestry, and provide a comprehensive assessment of opportunities and threats.

The DESIRA (Digitisation: Economic and Social Impacts on Rural Areas) initiative, funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme and led by the University of Pisa, brings together 25 organisations from across sectors and disciplines including research institutes, NGOs, and SMEs.

To achieve its goal, DESIRA wants to build a knowledge and methodological base that makes it easier to assess the past, current and future socio-economic impacts of ICT-related innovation. It seeks to embed responsible research and innovation into researchers’, developers’ and users’ practices and policies, and looks to offer mechanisms and tools that will support decision-making on challenges and opportunities related to digitalisation.

DESIRA will initially carry out a compilation of the most relevant and innovative actors within the concept of socio-cyber-physical systems. The aim is to come up with a taxonomy and inventory of 'Digital Game Changers'.

According to Gianluca Brunori, DESIRA coordinator, the first step is to gain a solid understanding of “the game” – the variables involved and the context – and then identify the main stakeholders in the digitalisation landscape who are capable of bringing about notable change to rural areas.

Leanne Townsend, a researcher within the Institute's Social, Economic and Geographic Sciences (SEGS) group and part of the DESIRA team, commented: “We are delighted to be contributing to this exciting research. There are a number of researchers in SEGS with expertise in the impacts of digitalisation, and this project allows us to develop this thematic area further within the Institute.

"With digital innovations in rural industries developing at an accelerating rate, there has never been a more important time to interrogate whether these developments are happening in a responsible and equitable way.”

Besides the James Hutton Institute and the University of Pisa, DESIRA partners include FIBL Switzerland, SISTEMA Gmbh, Universidad de Córdoba, Consiglio Nazionali delle Ricerche, Cultivate, SARGA, AEIDL, Zemnieku Saeima, Karlsruher Institut Fuer Technologie (KIT) - Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse (ITAS), Amigo SRL, Ghent University, Stichting Wageningen Research, Baltic Studies Centre, Advisory Service Croatia, Uniwersytet Łódzki, Instituut voor Landbouw, visserij en voedingsonderzoek, Jyväskylän yliopisto, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Erevnitiko Kentro Kainotomias Stis Technologies Tis Pliroforias Ton Epikoinonion Kai Tis Gnosis – AHINA, Debreceni Egyetem, PEFC – Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, and Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V. – IESE.

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Printed from /news/desira-focus-digitisation-rural-areas on 22/02/24 06:26:49 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.