SIMRA seeks to advance understanding of social innovation (SI) and innovative governance in agriculture, forestry and rural development (RD), and how to boost them, particularly in marginalised rural areas across Europe, with a focus on the Mediterranean region (including non-EU) where there is limited evidence of outcomes and supporting conditions. These objectives will be achieved by:
1. Developing systematic frameworks: a) theoretical - for improved knowledge of the complexity of SIs and its dimensions, and its impact on unfolding territorial capital; b) operational - based on a trans-disciplinary coalition (researchers and practitioners) to advance understanding of preconditions and success factors (e.g. instruments, incentives etc.) for implementing/operationalizing SI.
2. Creating a categorisation of SIs which encompasses the specificities in terms of social priorities, relationships/collaborations etc. and serves as an instrument to explore reasons why regions with similar conditions display diverging paths and to 'turn diversity into strength’.
3. Creating an integrated set of methods to evaluate SI and its impacts on economic, social, environmental, institutional and policy dimensions of territorial capital.
4. Co-constructed evaluation of SIs in case studies across the spatial variation of European rural areas, considering which components of territorial capital foster and, or mainstream RD.
5. Synthesis and dissemination of new or improved knowledge of SIs and novel governance mechanisms to promote social capital and institutional capacity building and inform effective options/solutions for shaping sustainable development trajectories.
6. Creating collaborative learning and networking opportunities and launching innovative actions at different/multiple scales, with continuous interactions among researchers, ‘knowledge brokers’ and stakeholders to foster and mainstream SI, leaving a durable legacy.