Project Summary


Depopulation, mostly characterized by emigration of young people, is occurring in rural areas all over Europe. This has brought to an ageing phenomenon, as well as the emergence of several structural problems such as fewer job opportunities, degradation of infrastructures and a decreasing offer of services of general interest. However, the revolution in digitalisation with an increase of remote and location-free work opportunities is offering the chance to redirect some rural migration flows back. Interventions are thus needed to take up this opportunity and build on trends such as multi-local living to promote new greener, smaller, sustainable and innovative growth models. It is there where SMART ERA intervenes. The project will foster resilience in rural areas, by upgrading and co-designing, co-developing and co-validating with local communities a set of smart solutions, integrated within Smart Innovation Packages (SIPs) able to tackle pressing socio-economic and environmental challenges and promote a community-led transition pathway that will empower rural people to act for change.

SMART ERA’s main ambitions are:

  1. building the first large-scale European wide solution for systematic rural data screening and smartness analysis;
  2. using co-design methods and techniques to involve residents and stakeholders in the design and validation of SIPs, as well as in the collection of old and creation of new data sources;
  3. proposing a unified Smartness/Digital Maturity assessment method;
  4. providing unique and timely evidence-based and performance-focused recommendations to upgrade the new local, national and European policy instruments and enhance their efficiency and efficacy in supporting smart villages across the EU;
  5. fostering cooperation among pilot regions, as well as among the four EU macro-regional strategies and improve their rural communities’ ability to address socio-economic and environmental challenges.


Project Consortium


Project is coordinated by Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Italy.

The SMART ERA consortium includes 24 entities from 10 countries.


Duration and budget


Project duration: 01.01.2024 – 31.12.2027

Funded by Horizon Europe -Innovation Action (IA)




Specialist Ms Jenny Uusikartano
Mobile: +358 50 308 4446

Director Mr Esa Kokkonen
Mobile +358 50 516 9111