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Research and innovation

Rural and farming dynamics and policies

Policy, funding opportunities, jobs, projects, publications and databases

Why does research and innovation on rural and farming policy matter?

Rural areas across the EU have undergone and are still undergoing profound changes including the transition from economies focusing on the primary sector towards more diverse economies where industries and services play an increasing or even dominant role.

In many territories, new activities are flourishing, including tourism, small-scale and niche manufacturing, food production and business services. Digital developments also offer a wide range of new business and networking opportunities. At the same time, many rural areas are facing demographic and social decline that endangers the delivery of vital ecosystem services.

While economic diversification was an important objective of rural policies for decades, the food security agenda – including concerns over generational renewal in farming – and the increasing demand for biomass for bio-based applications, created renewed interest towards primary production.

This new interest needs to accommodate stakeholder concerns over the capacity of rural areas to sustainably cater to all these needs while delivering a high level of environmental and social benefits in the context of urbanisation and climate change.

Evidence and knowledge are an essential input into the design of modern policies that will help rural communities and businesses overcome these challenges, using the most appropriate instruments and governance approaches.

Funding opportunities

Horizon Europe

Calls for proposals and funding information related to agriculture, forestry and rural areas.

Horizon 2020

Calls for proposals related to rural and farming dynamics and policies are spread across numerous schemes in Horizon 2020. This page lists them and explains how you can apply.

European agricultural fund for rural development

The rural development policy supports innovation through a range of interventions, including the European innovation partnership for agriculture (EIP-AGRI).

LIFE programme

Some rural and farming dynamics and policies related calls may be found in this programme.

ESPON programme

The European spatial planning observatory network (ESPON) funds territorial research projects and analysis, including on rural territories.

Projects and results

AgriResearch factsheet on rural areas and communities

This factsheet collects most of the research and innovation related to rural and farming dynamics and policies under Horizon 2020 societal challenge 2.

Project success stories

Stories of particularly successful EU-funded research projects

EIP-AGRI agricultural innovation project database

The one-stop shop to EU-funded agricultural innovation projects.

Research project database (CORDIS) 

The Commission's primary portal for results of EU-funded research projects.

Rural innovation: Developing real solutions for smart and resilient rural areas in Europe

This CORDIS Results Pack features 9 EU-funded rural research and innovation projects.

Collaboration and jobs

EIP-AGRI activities on rural and farming dynamics

The EIP-AGRI fosters innovation in agriculture and forestry connecting knowledge and practice.

ENRD activities on rural innovation

The ENRD works on various themes of interest to rural innovation like generation renewal, rural businesses or smart development.

LEADER innovation

Within rural development policy, LEADER accompanies rural innovators.

Find project partners

Search and view profiles of all organisations that have received funding via the funding and tenders portal.


Researcher jobs in related fields.

Scientific publications, tools and databases

Scientific publications 

Scientific publications produced by the European Commission (JRC).

Scientific research tools and databases 

The Commission's Joint Research Centre compiles databases and develops software and modelling tools.

EU Open Data Portal 

Single point of access to open data produced by the EU institutions. All data is free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes.


You can access all scientific publications from Horizon 2020 via OpenAIRE.


Access to agriculture data from the Copernicus programme.