First ROBUST expert workshop takes place in Brussels

Thu 22 Feb 2018

The first ROBUST expert workshop was hosted in Brussels by DG-Agri. The workshop brought together 20 participants from the ROBUST consortium and organisations including DG-Agri, DG-Regio, OECD, European Network for Rural Development and RWI-Leibniz Institute for Economic Research.

The workshop was opened with an update on progress to-date in ROBUST by Han Wiskerke. The day was then organised into three sessions. In each, an invited speaker reported on existing research or interventions in smart development and rural-urban relations. Each presentation prompted discussions, chaired by Michael Woods. 

Summary of key points

Four areas of focal questions for ROBUST research emerged from the workshop:
1. Terminology. There are many similar ‘smart’ and rural development concepts. What do they mean? How to be clear in communications?
2. Development aims. What are the characteristics of a smart approach to rural development? What are the aims and targets?
3. Smart opportunities. What does smart specialisation mean across particular domains? What opportunities does it open up?
4. Engagement. Who is involved in making decisions about what is ‘smart’? How can different stakeholders engage in the process?

These questions will help inform further development of the ROBUST conceptual framework. Looking ahead, they also have implications for deliverable outcomes, both at policy level and in what practice partners can do on the ground.

For more information about the workshop, including main themes arising from the discussions, download the workshop report.

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ROBUST is a European research project involving 24 partners from 11 countries. ROBUST receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727988.

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