Rural skills and labour shortages

These are hindering business performance and growth potential, according to our State of Rural Enterprise Report.

Climate action

Through climathons, we're engaging with rural communities to collectively develop locally appropriate solutions.

Opportunities for business growth

Learn more about the opportunities for business growth in the rural economy and the barriers that exist in our State of Rural Enterprise Report.

Rural skills and labour shortages

Climate action

Opportunities for business growth

Welcome to NICRE

About us

We - the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE) - put knowledge to work for an enterprising countryside... combining research with practical innovation to find new ways of unlocking potential and supporting thriving rural businesses and communities.

Who we are

What we do

We focus on three interconnecting activities. 

  1. We fill gaps in our current knowledge of rural enterprise and innovation. We achieve this by undertaking and commissioning new research.
  2. We develop practical solutions with businesses, rural communities and economic development agencies. They show new approaches to rural innovation that we can scale up to solve problems and realise new opportunities.
  3. We provide evidence to influence better policy and support for rural businesses. 

Our progress

  • Securing the support of Defra and key business and rural stakeholders for findings of our major rural business survey on the quality of infrastructure and networks and impacts of Covid-19.
  • Hosting multiple knowledge exchange events, such as the annual Rural Catalyst Conferencewith the Rural Design Centre Innovation Project to spotlight the issues that rural residents and businesses face, and the partnership work taking place to address these.
  • Having our evidence acknowledged in reports by All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Rural Business and the Rural Powerhouse into Levelling Up the Rural Economy and Geographically Protected Foods on Protected Foods and Drink Name Policy in the UK.
  • Engaging with hundreds of rural local authorities and organisations across the UK through collaborations with the Rural Services Network.
  • Publishing research on a range of areas affecting rural businesses including approaches to net zero practices and digital adoption, uptake of finance, attitudes to innovation, exporting behaviour and levels of rural entrepreneurship.
  • Working with Building Digital UK, part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), to enable firms to share their views on rural broadband connection and the effect it has on their businesses.
  • Reaching thousands of rural businesses through our partnerships with Strutt and Parker and the Rural Business Group.
  • Championing innovation in rural enterprise through supporting the Rural Business Awards
  • Helping to inform policy by publishing two major Briefing Papers calling on Government to harness rural economies’ extensive and diverse contributions in Levelling Up.
  • Working with a range of partners and rural communities on a series of innovation projects to develop practical solutions to the challenges they face. An example is our work with Community Action Northumberland and the Rural Design Centre Innovation Project on a project to help community buildings on their journey to net zero by having solar panels with associated battery storage facilities.
  • Commissioning seven research projects led by a variety of UK universities to further explore rural enterprise, including entrepreneurs’ attitudes towards community placemaking and transport planning, mapping England microclusters of creative industries and community food hubs..

Unlocking potential

We’re finding new ways of unlocking potential and supporting thriving rural businesses and communities.

Research and evidence

Research increases our knowledge and deepens our understanding, changing the way we think about rural enterprises, how we address their challenges and identify new opportunities

Research and evidence

Research increases our knowledge and deepens our understanding, changing the way we think about rural enterprises, how we address their challenges and identify new opportunities

Innovation projects

Together with our network of partners, we’re combining theory and practice to encourage new ways of thinking and supporting development of new products, services and practices that provide tangible benefits to our rural businesses and communities.

We do this through a series of practical projects.

Innovation projects

Together with our network of partners, we’re combining theory and practice to encourage new ways of thinking and supporting development of new products, services and practices that provide tangible benefits to our rural businesses and communities.

We do this through a series of practical projects.

Our business partner

Our business partner

Helping our economy reach its potential

NICRE can provide much of the research, knowledge transfer and support for businesses, and exemplars that are needed to help our economy reach its potential.

Dr Jason Beedell

Rural Research Director, Strutt & Parker

Loading...