Social innovation has been heralded as a vital part of the European recovery project since the economic crisis in 2008. It is of particular importance to rural regions, especially more disadvantaged rural areas, where multiple problems of depopulation, environmental quality decline and low levels of economic activity have been recurrent. With the trend of rapid urbanisation, the remoter rural areas will continue to be adversely affected.
This creates space and opportunities in which civil society can take on an increasingly important role in sustaining and improving conditions. Throughout Europe and more widely, there are compelling examples of how civil society actors alone or with other partners have been able to take the lead in community economic development in the land-based sector and beyond, revitalising social capacities in fragile communities and supporting environmental improvements.
Social innovation is a contested concept with multiple meanings and different interpretations. Greater clarity is urgently needed as to what social innovation is, how it can best be supported and where its efforts should be concentrated. A sound understanding of what social innovation is and how it can be apprised are some of the aims of this one-week training course, part of the EU-funded Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA) project.
At the end of the training, participants will have gained a critical understanding of the concept of social innovation and its influence on social, economic and environmental outcomes in rural areas, being able to recognise the diverse roles of communities and civil society in the development of social innovations. Additionally, they will be introduced to a range of tools and methods to better support social innovation as well as to real cases of initiatives dealing with social innovation.
The course is jointly organised by the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), through the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ), and the EU H2020 project SIMRA. The course will take place at IAMZ and will be given by an international team of well-qualified lecturers participating in this project, coming from international organisations, research centres, universities and the practice community. The course will be held over a period of 1 week, from 18 to 22 November 2019, in morning and afternoon sessions. The organisation will provide simultaneous interpretation of the lectures in English, French and Spanish. Applications to participate must be submitted before 6 September 2019.