ROBUST [Virtual] Final Conference

Tue 21 Sep 2021 to Wed 22 Sep 2021

Online (Zoom)

The ROBUST project held its Final Conference online on 21 and 22 September 2021. The event focused on wrapping up the project’s activities and presenting its key findings, takeaways and outlooks on the future of rural-urban governance in Europe. You can view and download the conference presentations, illustrations, and recordings below.

The Programme At-A-Glance

Download the Final Programme here.


Welcome and Introduction

Allison Wildman (ICLEI Europe) opens the ROBUST [virtual] Final Conference with a brief overview of the agenda for the two day event.

ROBUST Project Coordinator, Prof. Han Wiskerke (Wageningen University), welcomes the conference participants and reflects on the ROBUST project landscape horizon - from proposal conception to today - a seven-year effort.


Keynote: Rural-Urban in the EU's Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas

Alexia Rouby gave the first keynote presentation entitled "Rural-Urban in the EC's Long Term Vision for Rural Areas" that illustrated how ROBUST informed the European rural policymaking agenda. Ms. Rouby is a Research Programme Officer, DG for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG-AGRI) with the European Commission who works on innovations to improve rural well-being and resilience, collective and territorial approaches (especially living labs), urban farming, and developing a large-scale initiative to accelerate the transition to agroecology. 


Session 1: Unlocking Rural Synergies

What is There to Unlock and Synergize?

Prof. Han Wiskerke (Wageningen University) brings together experts from the ROBUST project - Damian Maye (CCRI), Hilkka Vihinen (LUKE), and Vincent O'Connell (PURPLE) - to discuss the main findings and lessons learned from the empirical work that was carried out in the project, and what this means for governing rural-urban relations and for rural and territorial policies.


Session 2: Living Labs in ROBUST

Innovations, Outcomes, Challenges

In Session 2, Daniel Keech (University of Gloucestershire, CCRI) will moderate the experiences from four of the 13 ROBUST Living Labs: rural Mid Wales, the metropolitan region of Styria, the metropolitan capital region of Lisbon, and the Province of Lucca. This cluster represents the geographic, demographic, and political diversity in the ROBUST project. Michael Woods (Aberystwyth University), Kerstin Hausegger-Nestelberger (Regional Management Agency of the Metropolitan Area of Styria), Carlos Pina (Lisbon Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR-LVT)), and Sabrina Arcuri (University of Pisa) share practical reflections on their intended Living Lab innovations and the challenges experienced in pursuing their goals.


Session 3: More Than Just Money

Wellbeing Approaches for Thriving Regions

Prof. Bettina Bock is Professor for Inclusive Rural Development at the Rural Sociology Chairgroup at Wageningen University and a Professor for Population Decline and Quality of Life at Groningen University. Her areas of research include rural-urban relations, rural development and regional policies, civic participation and social innovation, with a particular focus on remote and depopulating rural areas. In this session, she brings together international experts Marc Hameleers (Regions Portfolio of the Dutch Ministry for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality), Ellen van Selm (Mayor, Opsterland, Netherlands), Rosemarie Harris (Powys County Councillor, Wales) and Stephan Bartke (German Environment Agency) to discuss regional approaches to wellbeing.


Keynote: Back to the Future - Re-engaging to Build New Relationships

Tom Jones shares his vision towards a holistic strategy on sustainable, equitable rural/urban development in the second keynote presentation. Mr. Jones is the President of the European Rural Community Alliance, as well as a farmer and rural activist in Wales UK. Mr. Jones is a former member of the European Economic and Social Committee EESC, where he was their rural expert.


Share this Event:

Related Topics

Related Living Labs

, , , , , , , , , ,


News about Rural-Urban Europe and the ROBUST project is published regularly in the INFORMED CITIES newsletter.

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.

European flag