SMART ERA – SMART community-led transition for Europe’s Rural Areas

Depopulation, mostly characterized by emigration of young people, is occurring in rural areas all over Europe. This has brought to an ageing phenomenon, as well as the emergence of several structural problems such as fewer job opportunities, degradation of infrastructures and a decreasing offer of services of general interest.

However, the revolution in digitalisation with an increase of remote and location-free work opportunities is offering the chance to redirect some rural migration flows back. Interventions are thus needed to take up this opportunity and build on trends such as multi-local living to promote new greener, smaller, sustainable and innovative growth models. It is there where SMART ERA intervenes.

The project will foster resilience in rural areas, by upgrading and co-designing, co-developing and co-validating with local communities a set of smart solutions, integrated within Smart Innovation Packages (SIPs) able to tackle pressing socio-economic and environmental challenges and promote a community-led transition pathway that will empower rural people to act for change.

SMART ERA’s main ambitions

  • Building the first large-scale European-wide solution for systematic rural data screening and smartness analysis.
  • Using co-design methods and techniques to involve residents and stakeholders in the design and validation of SIPs, as well as in the collection of old and creation of new data sources.
  • Proposing a unified Smartness/Digital Maturity assessment method.
  • Providing unique and timely evidence-based and performance-focused recommendations to upgrade the new local, national and European policy instruments and enhance their efficiency and efficacy in supporting smart villages across the EU.
  • Fostering cooperation among pilot regions, as well as among the four EU macro-regional strategies and improve their rural communities’ ability to address socio-economic and environmental challenges.

Start and End Date

1 Jan 2024 - 31 Aug 2027

Contact person

Carla Lostrangio


Projects in Rural and Territorial Development (RTD)


RURBANIVE - RUral-uRBAN synergies emerged in an immersIVE innovation ecosystem


SMART ERA - SMART community-led transition for Europe's Rural Areas


Development of step-by-step guidelines for participatory Digital Villages Initiative roadmap design and a practical toolkit


RPSO - Rural Pact Support Office


GRANULAR - Giving Rural Actors Novel data and re-Useable tools to Lead public Action in Rural areas


SafeHabitus - Strengthening Farm Health and Safety Knowledge and Innovation System Assessing and improving labour conditions and health and safety at work in farming


Empowering Rural Communities to Act for Change


Empowering the FUTure though innovative Smart Solutions for rURAL areas

GRASS Ceiling

GRASS Ceiling - Gender Equality in Rural and Agricultural Innovation SystemS



Tools4CAP - Innovative Toolbox empowering effective CAP governance towards EU ambitions


CODECS - Assessing the impacts of digital technologies in agriculture – Cost, benefits, and potential for sustainability gains

BEATLES - Uncovering lock-ins and levers to encourage farmers to move to and stay in sustainable, climate-neutral and biodiversity-friendly farming systems: from experiments to systemic mechanisms


Service Contract for Establishing and Running FAME-NET

MOVING (2020-2024)

MOVING - Building modern rural policies on long-term visions and societal engagement - MOuntain Valorisation through INterconnectedness and Green Growth


Contract for Networking Activities in Support of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) - Lot 1:Support for networking concerning the design and implementation of CAP strategic plan (CAP NETWORK)