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Ökologischer Betrieb
© BLE, Bonn/Thomas Stephan
Ökologischer Betrieb
Institute of

BW Farm Economics


SHERPA - Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors

Agricultural landscape
© BLE, Bonn/Dominic Menzler
Agricultural landscape

Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors

Strengthening the science-society-policy dialogue for the formulation of rural policies and research agendas at European and regional levels

Background and Objective

Understanding environmental, social and economic factors relating to European rural areas has been underpinned by extensive investment in research, from strategic science, to innovation actions for aiding delivery on-the-ground. The challenge is how to exploit this high quality body of research to develop policies suitable for achieving long-term visions and ensuring the support of society. The SHERPA project aims to gather knowledge that contributes to the formulation of recommendations for future policies relevant to EU rural areas, by creating a science-society-policy interface. The project aims to contribute to policy development in the following  three main areas:

  • Provision of inputs for the design of future research policies, with a focus on the preparation of work programmes under Horizon Europe.
  • Support for implementation of policies relevant to rural areas in the programming period 2021-2027; and
  • Supporting for setting the direction of rural policy in the next programming period.


SHERPA relies on a network of rural interfaces to achieve its overall objectives of gathering relevant knowledge and opinions that contribute to the formulation of recommendations for future policies (e.g. agri-environmental policies) relevant to rural areas in the European Union. Rural interfaces are Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs) implemented across Europe and which act as open forums for exchanges of ideas, for co-learning and co-creating knowledge. They aim to engage citizens, researchers and policy-makers at local and EU levels in debates, to jointly develop strategic thinking and practical recommendations for the formulation of rural policies and research agendas at European and regional levels. The conclusion and recommendations achieved in the MAPs are presented in the project position papers.

More details of the project are available on the project website:

The project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 862448.


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Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • European Union (EU)
    (international, öffentlich)


10.2019 - 9.2023

More Information

Project funding number: 862448
Funding program: EU – Horizon 2020 – Societal Challenge "Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy"
Project status: ongoing

Publications to the project

  1. 0

    Miller D, Irvine K, Nijnik M, Garcia B, Panoutsopoulos H, Martino G, Schwarz G (2022) Climate change and land use. 52 p SHERPA Discussion Paper, DOI:10.5281/zenodo.6671041

  2. 1

    Miller D, Chartier O, Salle E, Zomer B, Irvine KN, Schwarz G (2022) D7.3 First set of recommendations for the development of future rural policies (Version 1). Zenodo, 31 p, DOI:10.5281/zenodo.6523970

  3. 2

    Bognar J, Schwarz G (2022) Towards sustainable and resilient value chains. 27 p SHERPA Discussion Paper, DOI:10.5281/zenodo.6778048

  4. 3

    Miller D, Nijnik M, Irvine KN, Chartier O, Martino G, Bourneix J, Schwarz G, Verstand D (2021) Climate change and environmental sustainability. 45 p SHERPA Discussion Paper, DOI:10.5281/zenodo.4905655

  5. 4

    Chartier O, Miller D, Panoutsopoulos H, Espejo Garcia B, Schwarz G, Irvine KN, Iadecola F, Bertolozzi D, Al-Ajlani H (2021) First set of recommendations for future research agendas : Deliverable Report D7.2, SHERPA Project. 40 p, DOI:10.5281/zenodo.5766308

  6. 5

    Schwarz G, Strauß R (2021) MAP Position Paper (Germany) - Contribution from 20 Science-Society-Policy Platforms to the Long-Term Vision For Rural Areas. 8 p SHERPA Position Paper, DOI:10.5281/zenodo.5141483

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