09 February 2023

Researching the adapting rural economy

Deepening understanding on current topics

Seven new research projects to examine how rural enterprises are adapting to the major challenges affecting the economy are to be undertaken.

The National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE) has commissioned the research to deepen its understanding on current topics such as post-pandemic working patterns and the shift to net zero.

The studies will explore co-working as a potential diversification opportunity for rural pubs, whether ‘investment zone’ approaches will help to meet the needs of rural enterprise, carbon accounting in farming and natural capital investment markets.

They will also consider the attraction and recruitment of staff in the Peak District, the way universities engage, support and collaborate with rural communities and how decision support for entrepreneurship can be tailored to rural areas.

Funded projects follow Open Call

NICRE has awarded £100,000 funding to universities across England to undertake the research following an Open Call towards the end of last year.

NICRE director Jeremy Phillipson, Professor of Rural Development at the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University, said: “The rural economy is in a state of flux as it grapples changes in working practices accelerated by the pandemic and the stark challenges of the cost-of-doing-business crisis.

“Coupled with the drive to net zero and against the backdrop of the agricultural transition, these projects will shed important light on how these contemporary issues are affecting rural enterprise, giving valuable insights that will help inform future policymaking and support for rural businesses.

“We are delighted with the calibre of diverse projects from a range of universities, enabling us to extend our portfolio and grow our research network.”

The new research projects will be led by the Universities of Durham, Keele, Derby, Bournemouth, Lincoln and Newcastle.