DESIRA: Digitising economic and social impacts in rural areas

Will digital technologies contribute to building desirable futures in rural areas, or will they get us further away from the desired ambitions?

Background: The H2020 project DESIRA is working to provide answers to this question. A thorough and well-conceived analysis of the concerns, threats, benefits and opportunities raised around the use of digital tools and technologies is absolutely necessary so as digitalisation to contribute to a sustainable future of rural areas. From a starting point that considers digitalisation as the means to an end rather than the end in itself, rural areas can create ‘innovation environments’ that stimulate researchers, developers, agricultural extensionists, farmers and other rural actors to identify, design and develop technological solutions that meet their needs.
The digital transformation of rural areas generates winners (who benefit from the change), but also losers (who are marginalised by the change), as well as opponents (who resist to change) and proponents (who support or advocate for the change).

Open Science and OpenAIRE role: In this process, the open sharing of information and knowledge plays a fundamental role. This was the main idea driving the setup of the “Rural Digital Europe”, the DESIRA OpenAIRE community dashboard. The “Rural Digital Europe” community brings together publications and research outcomes related to digitalisation and its socio-economic impact in the three DESIRA key domains: rural areas, agriculture and forestry. The dashboard acts as a single point of access for the research community, scientists and other relevant stakeholders, facilitating their research and work. It aggregates more than 500 software artefacts and more than 11.000 datasets. It is linked to 16 Zenodo communities, while it makes available publications, data, software and research outcomes from 82 projects that are dealing with the assessment of socio-economic benefits of digitalisation in agriculture, forestry or rural areas. 

Special attention has been given by the DESIRA partners in the definition of the subjects of the dashboard, so it has an inclusive character, without being very generic. The keywords have been chosen carefully to provide information on the intersection of digitalisation, agriculture, forestry and rural areas. The “Rural Digital Europe” Dashboard covers a wide range of subjects, from specific digital game changers (unmanned vehicles, ArcGIS, remote sensing) to agricultural practices and techniques (precision agriculture, precision farming, weed detection, weed control).  

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About DESIRA: DESIRA (Digitisation: Economic and Social Impacts in Rural Areas) is a Horizon 2020 project (2019-2023) coordinated by the University of Pisa which involves 25 partner organisations (research institutes, NGOs and SMEs) in a multi-actor and inter-disciplinary Consortium.  DESIRA aims to develop “Rural Digital Europe” to be a sustainable virtual research community for all rural actors. 

Visit the project’s website and learn more:  

About OpenAIRE Connect Gateways: OpenAIRE builds Virtual Research Environments, i.e., customised dashboards for communities allowing them to gather, share and discover research results with their peers.

For more information on how you can use our services for your community please contact us here to give you all available options.

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