Centre for Rural Economy



PERARES WAS a €3 million project collaboration project coordinated by the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (by Dr Henk Mulder). PERARES involved 26 partners from 17 countries across Europe.

The overall aim of the PERARES project was to strengthen interaction in formulating research agendas between researchers and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), at the level of the research organizations, and at regional and transnational/European levels. In order to achieve the overall objective of a genuine engagement, and to consider and implement forms of dialogue between research bodies and civil society which would make a difference to research strategies and would become part of current research practices, the PERARES project had identified eight specific objectives:

  1. Encourage a continuous “upstream” science-society dialogue by linking the science shop work to existing debates and dialogues, to allow these debates to move upstream, into research planning at the local/regional level.

  2. Set-up a transnational debate, engaging CSOs, researchers and general public in a dialogue on re-search agenda’s (both local/regional and transnational/European) through a web-portal and pilot this in a dialogue on nano-science and technology, before opening the floor to other topics of concern to CSOs with relevance for European research.

  3. Increase the number of research bodies that do research with civil society organisations, by developing local PER plans for this in ten specific regions, and by sharing information with interested parties in other regions as well.

  4. Set-up research agendas in the field of domestic violence and the field of Roma and Traveller’s communities’ issues, in direct co-operation with CSOs.

  5. Pilot novel forms of research co-operation with CSOs, such as continuous debates between research labs and CSOs, and analyse these (and the processes of cooperating with the CSOs mentioned un-der 4) to learn from these.

  6. Create a higher awareness of the value of, and practical insights in, the ways that HEI’s, research councils and other funders can support research with CSOs as partner, through survey and experiment.

  7. Advance the work of science shops and similar organisations by studying and sharing best practices and collaborating to find ways to tackle bottlenecks through evaluating scope, process and impact of our upstream forms of PER.

  8. Share and discuss our PER activities with the wider community through publicity and two international conferences

PERARES was delivered through 12 interrelated work packages:

1. Consortium management

2. Structuring public engagement with research through knowledge debates

3. Pilot for permanent debate lab –CSO

4. Capacity building for structuring PER through research with CSOs

5. Structuring PER in research on domestic violence

6. Structuring PER in social sciences research and forgotten citizens of Europe: Local Human Rights

7. Structuring PER in higher education through research with CSOs in curricular activities and partnerships with local municipalities

8. Advancing PER through support from research councils for research of CSOs with research institutes

9. Monitoring and evaluation of PER through science shops and knowledge debates

10. 5th Living Knowledge conference

11. 6th Living knowledge conference

12. Dissemination

The Food and Society Group was involved in WP9 ‘Monitoring and Evaluation’, which sought to provide a tool for partners to monitor and evaluate the relative success of their PER activities, as well as independently monitor the overall success of PERARES in meeting its intended objectives.