The SHERPA project just published its Position Paper “Digitalisation in rural areas ”, authored by the University of Pisa. This Position Paper follows up the SHERPA Discussion Paper on digitalisation (2022) and builds on the evidence from the SHERPA MAPs’ Position Papers and the 3rd SHERPA Annual Conference. Based on these contributions, it formulates policy and research recommendations to enhance rural digitalisation at local, regional, national and European level.
Rural digitalisation: a European priority
In its Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas, the European Commission recognizes a crucial role to digitalization for the future development of rural areas. Through to its strand “Connected rural areas”, the European Commission sets a number of key actions to boost digital connectivity in these territories and particularly to bridge the existing urban-rural gap.
Key messages from the paper
The SHERPA Position Paper “Digitalisation in rural areas” underlines that, though considerable efforts are being made to achieve digitalisation in rural areas, it is still unclear on how this could be seen as a catalyst for change in rural areas. In particular, risk of digital exclusion, digital divide, access to data and privacy should be further investigated. The Position Paper also highlights the need to obtain public support and boost cooperation among different types of stakeholders, ranging across societal groups, policy-makers, businesses and research.
Recommendations for policy and research
The Position Paper concludes with a number of specific recommendations for policy and research. For instance, it recalls the importance to design more flexible and long-term oriented funding schemes, as well as of providing technical assistance and need-based services, and promoting the upscaling of best practices. To this extent, several good practices pointed out by the SHERPA MAPs are also presented such as the setup of a digital elderly care system in Tamásy (Hungary) and local digital services to increase rural attractiveness and liveability (Sweden).
Published by Carla Lostrangio