Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation.
Read more about the Horizon Europe programme here.
This call aims to fostering a sustainable, balanced, equitable and inclusive development of rural areas.
The successful proposals will contribute to fostering a sustainable, balanced, equitable and inclusive development of rural areas, supporting the implementation of the following Commission’s priorities: the European Green Deal, in particular its fair and just transition component; an economy that works for people as well as to the European pillar of social rights, the EU social economy action plan; and a new push for European democracy, notably to the long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas objectives (in particular contributing to rural areas’ resilience), and the strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities 2021-2030.
Project results are expected to contribute to all of following expected outcomes:
- Improved understanding of policy makers at different levels (European, national, regional and local) and citizens regarding the challenges to address disparities and marginalisation in rural areas, the various needs of people in a vulnerable situation, and how to enhance social inclusion, social resilience and well-being;
- Improved policies and governance frameworks for social inclusion and social economy in rural areas;
- Increased economic opportunities and development of social entrepreneurship in rural areas;
- Improved social integration and access to adequate services for people in a vulnerable situation in rural areas and to rural dwellers more in general.
Projects funded under this topic will contribute to build more inclusive, social resilient and prosperous European rural areas by improving the understanding of social inclusion and social economy challenges in rural areas, by taking stock of existing policies responses, and solutions for the provision of adequate services to the population in a vulnerable situation and for enhancing social economy and entrepreneurship.
Projects will also address these challenges by piloting innovative solutions that foster social economy and improve social inclusion of people in a situation of vulnerability.
Proposals are expected to:
- Identify and analyse the drivers of social exclusion and the challenges to address disparities and marginalisation in various rural areas in Europe, (e.g., remote rural areas, rural areas in the EU's outermost regions (defined in article 349 TFEU), costal and mountain areas, rural areas close to towns and cities);
- Gain a better understanding of the needs of and challenges faced by people in a vulnerable situation in various rural areas of Europe, the possible ways to address economic and demographic challenges, including ageing, disability, and vulnerability of young people where relevant (in particular those not in employment, education or training NEET), and accessibility to adequate services (e.g. considering also universal design), including social ones (e.g. for people with mental or physical disabilities);
- Benchmark policies, services, including social ones, and initiatives developed at various levels to empower people in a vulnerable situation to full and effective participation and inclusion in society, including social economy and entrepreneurship (e.g., social farming, itinerant services and mobility, multishops), pooling of services and creation of meeting places to enhance social interaction (e.g., multidisciplinary health houses, associative cafés), public-private partnerships, and rural-urban linkages. Assess the quality, strengths and weaknesses of these services and to what extent they are used by/reach the target groups;
- Explore the role, potential and limitations of social economy and social enterprises in supporting the population in a vulnerable situation in rural areas, including for the provision of basic and adequate social services;
- Make policy recommendations on how to improve service delivery and other relevant measures in order to meet the needs of people in a vulnerable situation, as well as on how to create and enabling framework for the upscale of social economy in rural areas;
- Accompany pilot innovation actions supporting people in a vulnerable situation and social entrepreneurship to draw additional knowledge from concrete examples.
Proposals should be innovation-oriented and must implement the multi-actor approach, bringing together multiple science fields, in particular the social sciences and humanities (SSH) (e.g., sociology, behavioural sciences, psychology, economics, etc.), and actors with complementary roles and experiences (e.g., representatives of people in a vulnerable situation, service providers, health services, associations, public authorities, universal designers, etc.).
Proposals should cover a representative variety of European rural areas, consider various types of vulnerability (including gender and intersectionality when relevant), and take stock of and experiment a variety of social economy and service provision examples.
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions;
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States;
- eligible non-EU countries including countries associated to Horizon Europe and low- and middle-income countries.
Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions, legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
The total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 10.00 million.
The Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 5.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately.