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Digitalisation Economic and Social Impact in Rural Areas - DESIRA

DESIRA consortium at the Kick off meeting Pisa, italy 3-6th September 2019
DESIRA consortium at the Kick off meeting Pisa, italy 3-6th September 2019

DESIRA (Digitisation: Economic and Social Impacts on Rural Areas), a project funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme and led by the University of Pisa, brings together 25 organisations from across Europe, including the James Hutton Institute.

The project seeks to understand how digital technologies affect life and business in rural areas. The aim is to explore both the opportunities and the challenges that are presented by new digital technologies.

Leanne Townsend, a researcher in James Hutton Institute and part of the DESIRA team, commented: “We are delighted to be contributing to this exciting research. Digital technologies are developing at an accelerating rate. We need to question whether these developments are providing the same opportunities to everyone, including those in rural areas. How can we help rural communities to get the most from these developments?”

In Scotland, we will carry out a case study in the DESIRA project to explore the role of digital technologies in the future development of crofting communities. We are working with Anne Campbell of the Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape Project (CALLP) to bring together a group of crofters and others whose work is relevant to crofting or the wider crofting community. We will work with this group through workshops and other activities to understand the impacts of digital technologies. We will also provide the group with training and knowledge exchange on innovations such as peatland restoration, digital tools for crofting, new cropping methods, environmental monitoring and more.

For more information including project objectives, please see the main DESIRA website

SEGS Staff involved

Leanne Townsend; Lee-Ann Sutherland; Claire Hardy; Dominic Duckett; Margaret Currie,

Christina NobleDESIRA (Digitisation: Economic and Social Impacts in Rural Areas)

Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project


Areas of Interest


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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.