Globalization is one of the key challenges facing rural regions in Europe, bringing significant social, economic, cultural and political changes. Current studies on the impact of globalization on rural regions tend to focus on specific sectors or processes or localities. The absence of an overarching integrative analysis has resulted in the inability of regional development strategies to cope with these challenges. The objective of the DERREG project is to produce an interpretative model that will enable regional development actors to better anticipate and respond to the key challenges for disadvantaged regions arising from globalization. In doing so, it will expand scientific knowledge and understanding, inform policy development, and identify examples of best practice. The project is innovative in adopting an integrative approach that synthesises research across four key themes and nine case study regions in different types of rural regions to produce an overarching analysis of the impact of globalization on rural Europe. The research will involve both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. It will develop new methods in areas such as business network analysis. A further innovation is the linking of the scientific analysis with practical application through the development of an interpretative model. The consortium comprises 9 partners with expertise in rural and regional research, focusing on Eastern Europe. The consortium has been assembled to provide an appropriate combination of expertise in the areas examined in the project, including rural businesses, migration, sustainable development, capacity-building and gender. The proposed research will enable policy makers and other stakeholders involved in regional development to better anticipate and respond to the challenges of globalization. It will support initiatives to increase the capacity of rural businesses to engage with new opportunities and to enhance social cohesion.