Research project Digitalization: Economic and Social Impacts in Rural Areas

In progress DESIRA
Desira phone

Main research question

Digitalization in European rural areas and in agriculture and forestry is a challenge. The DESIRA research project develops tools and improvements to address this challenge by policymakers and by society as a whole. The aim is to build knowledge and to develop methods to assess the impact of digitalization better and easier. This concerns the past, present and future socio-economic impact of digitalization and ICT-related innovations.

Research approach

To achieve this, DESIRA mobilizes an extensive rural network: businesses and services, public authorities, citizen groups, digital technology operators, farmers, media and academics. They all participate in 20 Living Labs and one EU-level Rural Digitalization Forum (RDF). Each Living Lab works around one specific challenge related to digitization in a given context. The task of the Living Lab is to evaluate the potential of specific digital tools (so called Digital Game Changers; collected in an EU wide inventory). The systemic perspective is an essential part of the evaluation. Furthermore, each Living Lab develops a number of possible digitalization scenarios for their specific situation.


Based on all Living Labs and their findings, DESIRA is developing a policy analysis and step-by-step plan and a code of ethics, with the aim of increasing the attention paid to societal interests in ICT-related policy and innovation. In this way, the project contributes to ensuring that societal needs and expectations are taken into account in the further digitalization process. All this is based on the principles of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).


EU Horizon2020