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Rural Sustainability Transitions through Integration of Knowledge for improved policy processes

RUSTIK is a four-year transdisciplinary research project aiming to enable rural communities’ actors and policy makers to design better strategies, initiatives and policies fostering sustainability transitions of rural areas.

In consideration of increasing social and ecological challenges, the project envisages an analysis of current adaption requirements and the support of effective rural policy-making processes. The project will contribute to an advanced understanding of different rural functionalities and characteristics as well as the potentials and challenges of rural areas.


Central specific objectives are to provide:

a robust methodological framework for functional rural areas


databases integrating data of different types and sources


improved strategies and governance approaches for rural decision makers and stakeholders

improved approaches for rural impact assessment and decentralised rural proofing

Expected outcomes

Data bases at regional and European level ​

- 14 databases at regional level ​
- RUSTIK information system

Improved knowledge and capacity ​

- Novel data collection and analysis methods
- Understanding of diversity and dynamics of rural areas

Methods and processes for policy and strategy design and assessment ​

- Standardised model for decentralised rural proofing
- Intervention design approaches​
- Improved policy governance framework​

Living Labs

Living Labs in 14 European Pilot Regions in 10 European countries will be the central element of an action-oriented multi-actor approach to researching rural diversity and societal transformations.