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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/G066051/1
Title: Rural Digital Economy Research Hub
Principal Investigator: Edwards, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Fairhurst, Professor G Hunter, Professor C Mellish, Professor C
Wallace, Professor C Norman, Professor TJF van der Wal, Professor R
Nelson, Professor JD Godden, Professor D J Farrington, Professor J
Murchie, Dr P Wilson, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Geography and Environment
Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2009 Ends: 30 September 2015 Value (£): 11,814,897
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Agricultural systems Economics
Environmental Planning Human Geography
Human-Computer Interactions Information & Knowledge Mgmt
New Media/Web-Based Studies Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Creative Industries Transport Systems and Vehicles
Environment Education
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
20 Jan 2009 Digital Economy Research Hubs Deferred
26 Feb 2009 Digital Economy Research Hubs Interviews Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
There is considerable untapped economic potential in rural areas of the UK. In England alone this is estimated to be worth at least 340 million per year. Burgess (2008) gives as principal reasons for this that high levels of rural business aspiration do not find their way into practice, and that existing entrepreneurship does not fully reach its potential in wealth creation. He urges that Government recognise that key ways of realising this potential are to initiate new forms of information networks for the transfer of knowledge, the sharing of good practice, and engagement with wider markets, policy-making processes, and for the creation of larger 'masses' of expertise. By the creation of a Rural Digital Economy Hub at the University of Aberdeen we propose to take up this key challenge for policy and to employ digital technology to realise this untapped rural economic potential, through themes and projects targeted at key economic activities in the rural UK. Rural areas have specific characteristics that create particular problems for these types of activities: for example, small and often dispersed populations; narrow and uneven channels of information flow, including often relatively restricted access to digitally-based information; and rapid change in population structures and economic activity bases.Digital technology will play a major role in releasing untapped potential in the economies of rural areas in the UK. By using innovative flexible ways of 'digital working', rural businesses and communities can build on their social, economic and environmental capital to generate new wealth, employment and social opportunities. Working with communities, businesses and policy-makers on initiatives in tourism, healthcare, accessibility, conservation of natural resources, and enterprise and culture as our partners, the University of Aberdeen's Rural Digital Economy Research Hub will use our extensive expertise in information technology applications, rural economy and society, to initiate innovative projects in rural communities and businesses across the UK.We will, from the outset, incorporate and act on feedback from our partners to design and refine digital solutions to business needs. We will, with partners, evaluate our work to maximise benefits for rural economies and for the policy sectors affecting the well-being of the UK's rural areas.Rural areas of the UK can, through the user-led application of digital technology in carefully designed ways, be more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable: we will harness our expertise with rural partners to realise this ambition. ReferenceBurgess, S., 2008, England's rural areas - steps to release their economic potential. Commission for Rural Communities, Cheltenham.
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Organisation Website: http://www.abdn.ac.uk