Centre for Rural Economy



The key features of the NRN Phase III were:

For the Northern Rural Network website, click here


  1. Rural Business Survey: To underpin this new approach, a major re-survey of rural businesses will repeat one conducted in 1999/2000, with follow up dissemination and learning activity. The 1999/2000 survey provided the first detailed insights into the special characteristics and importance of firms with ten or fewer employees in the rural economy. The research was of national importance in understanding the wider economic impacts of the Foot and Mouth crisis and informed national policies and programmes to assist in recovery. In the last decade, the rural economy has continued to experience significant change (e.g. accelerated agricultural restructuring, continued in-migration and the growth of home-working, and the development of ICT infrastructure). The new survey will examine these phenomena. 

  2. Research-Based Action-Learning with Businesses: Four sub-regional events will be organised to discuss the survey findings and generate practical steps to overcome the barriers to success identified and to improve the economic prospects of rural businesses.
  3. NRN Large Events: A programme of large seminars will be delivered. The format will be developed to encourage more of the learning to be translated into practical action and tangible outcomes (through ‘action trails’ and follow-up workshops) and to encourage the involvement of businesses. 

  4. Local Development Activities: Three packages of local development activity will be delivered, following on from NRN large events, with facilitation and some research support from CRE.

  5. NRN Short Courses: These will continue from NRN Phases I & II (but on a self-financing basis), aimed at providing continuing professional development courses for rural development practitioners.

  6. Web-Page Development: The NRN web-site will be developed to enhance its capacity for interaction between network members.

  7. National and International Networking and Dissemination: CRE staff will continue to disseminate and promote the activities of the NRN nationally and internationally, and draw into the Network lessons from good practice in rural development in the EU and other OECD countries.

  8. Monitoring and Evaluation: The process of translating learning into practical action will be examined through an ongoing monitoring and impact programme and through a ‘critical friend’ commissioned from outside the region to advise on the project’s progress.