International Perspectives for Rural Areas

Press release from
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© LUH/Thehos
Das Projekt bündelt die Kompetenzen von fünf Institutionen. Beim ersten Projekttreffen an der Leibniz Universität Hannover haben die Beteiligten die Auswahl der Modellprojekte vorbereitet, die in Schottland, Schweden und Österreich analysiert werden sollen.

A new research project led by Leibniz University Hannover focuses on infrastructures in rural areas

Medical practitioners, educational facilities, public transport - rural areas often struggle with poor infrastructure. Due to demographic change, the situation becomes even more problematic. Young adults are looking for better prospects in large cities and rural areas lack new staff for numerous positions such as volunteer fire fighters. However, Germany is not the only country to struggle with these difficulties. "There are regions in Europe that are much more rural than those in Germany", says Prof. Dr. Winrich Voß from the Geodetic Institute at Leibniz University Hannover. He supervises the InDaLe project, which started in January 2020 and aims to learn from the insights of other countries in Europe.

Input from Scotland, Sweden and Austria

The project focuses on adult education in Scotland, telemedicine in Sweden and volunteer fire brigades in Austria. By means of case studies, the researchers will analyse pilot projects in these countries that have been implemented as permanent programmes. "There are many promising pilot projects in Germany. However, without long-term funding, many of them are unsustainable in the long run", explains Professor Voß. For example, if contracts for neighbourhood managers employed within the scope of a pilot project cannot be renewed, new services dwindle away.

The project assumes that other European regions have faced these challenges for much longer and have therefore gained considerable experience in turning pilot projects into permanent ones. The project is a collaboration between Leibniz University Hannover (LUH), Oldenburg University (focusing on Scotland), TU Dresden (focusing on Sweden), Thünen Institute in Braunschweig (focusing on Austria), and the Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (focusing on finding suitable pilot projects for transferring the findings of the study). The LUH team will be focusing on theoretical backgrounds and cross sectional topics: What does the process of "permanent implementation" involve? Which strategies are effective? How can we adjust exemplary solutions to local conditions in Germany?

Eagerly anticipated findings

"Local authorities, funding bodies and sponsors are keen to receive findings from this project", says Voß. In addition to rural areas in Lower Saxony, the project team will focus on federal states in the east of Germany (represented by TU Dresden). Interdisciplinary work within the scope of the study is based on collaborations at the Leibniz research centre "TRUST - Transdisciplinary Rural and Urban Spatial Transformation", a project based at LUH since 2016.

Launched in January 2020, the research project InDaLe ("Innovative public service approaches in rural areas - applying insights of other European countries to Germany"), is in receipt of approximately 900,000 euros of funding from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture over a period of two and a half years. Within the framework of InDaLe, one part-time doctoral position per project partner will be created. In addition, students may contribute to the project in the context of their thesis.

Note to editors:

For further information, please contact the following experts at the Geodetic Institute: Prof. Dr. Winrich Voß (Tel. +49 511 762 19927, Email and Jörn Bannert (Tel. +49 511 762 3389, Email