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Resilience, recovery and the road ahead

Resilience, recovery and the road ahead

26 May 2021

NICRE session at Regions in Recovery Global E-Festival

The COVID-19 crisis has brought huge challenges for businesses and communities, writes Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins, senior research fellow at NICRE. As lockdowns ease, routes to economic recovery are critical. But our strange times are also a crossroads for policy and practice: should we simply return to business as usual, or could we create new futures beyond recovery?

NICRE believes that rural innovation has an important role to play in building back better. We know that regions are enterprising beyond urban centres, and that there are real opportunities to unlock the potential in rural economies. We’re hosting a special session on 11 June at the upcoming Regions in Recovery Global E-Festival to look at resilience, recovery and the road ahead.

Organised by the Regional Studies Association#RinR21 is not a traditional conference. Instead, researchers and policymakers from around the world will join in a series of online events – from topical talks to a virtual coffee stand – over two weeks from June 2-18. The festival celebrates regional research, tackles our current global crises and emerging changes, and aims to inform debate and new policy responses.

Regional growth potential

In NICRE’s session, ‘Rethinking Innovation for Resilience and Recovery Beyond the Metropole’, we’ll be calling attention to regional growth potential in rural and peripheral regions, small towns, and rural-urban interconnections. Chaired by myself, it features two speakers from NICRE and guest panellists from Austria, Norway and Portugal:

  • NICRE and Newcastle University’s Ian Merrell will review the state of the art in research on Territorial Innovation Models, and offer a case study from the North East of England.
  • Amr Khafagy, from NICRE based at the Countryside and Community Research Institute, will present new findings on access to finance for rural SMEs, drawn from NICRE’s analysis of the UK Longitudinal Small Business Survey.
  • Theresia Oedl-Wieser, from the Austrian Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics, Rural and Mountain Research and the Horizon 2020 ROBUST project, will discuss initiatives to strengthen rural-urban connections for resilience and wellbeing in the Metropolitan Area of Styria.
  • Atle Hauge, from the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, will offer a novel approach to the geography of innovation, that moves beyond a simplistic view of core and periphery.
  • Finally, Fernando Gaspar, from Instituto Politécnico de Santarém in Portugal, will reflect on experience with the Interreg Med 4helix+ pilot project to promote start-ups in the blue growth sector.

How to register

The session promises plenty of ideas, ranging from new data analysis, to theoretical advances, to practical expertise. Audience participation will also be encouraged – we invite lively discussion!

The session will take place noon to 2pm (BST) on 11 June and will run online via Zoom. Attending is free, but advance registration is required. To register, follow the link for ‘non-presenting participants’ from the E-Festival event page. Here is the full programme.

Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins ( is senior research fellow at NICRE.

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