The RURALED project aims to address the gaps, problems and needs of rural areas for the implementation of an inclusive Smart Village strategy, promoting the development of transversal skills of adults and rural residents.
Compared to urban areas, rural areas face a lack of infrastructure and services, a poorly diversified economy, low incomes, a higher risk of poverty and social exclusion, degradation of agricultural land, inadequate educational facilities and a high percentage of early school leavers (ESPON 2020).
To address these challenges, the European Commission, in cooperation with the IFLS coordinator, closed the ‘Smart Rural 27‘ project in March 2024, which aimed to promote villages to develop and implement smart approaches and strategies, drawing conclusions and supporting future policy interventions. According to the project results, the preconditions for smart rural development are not only related to technology or infrastructure, but also socio-cultural and political. These include an orientation of those living and working in Smart Villages towards local problems and opportunities and a smarter use of rural resources through external partners such as scientific and experimental development institutions. The prerequisites for the implementation of the Smart Village concept include active participation of the local community, cooperation with various stakeholders and participative local government decisions. The RURALED project builds on the achievements of these previous initiatives and, to address these issues, will develop a methodological framework mapped onto the European competence frameworks (e.g. DigComp, EntreComp, GreenComp and LifeComp), a community assessment tool and a training manual, to identify a set of key and transversal competences for rural residents and test a methodology to include rural narratives in the implementation of the Smart Village strategy.
Through the development of transferable and replicable European methodological frameworks and tools for Smart Villages, the RURALED project will support the objectives of the Smart Village Action Plan, the EU Rural Pact, the EU’s long-term vision for rural areas and the EU Green Deal.
Ultimately, the project will help rural residents and under-represented groups in the digital transition and support transformative pathways towards socially and economically sustainable systems.

Institut für Ländliche Strukturforschung e.V. (DE),
CESAR, Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development (IT),


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