TUS (Ireland) – lead partner

TUS – Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest is a multi-campus university with over 14,500 students, 1,200 staff members, spread across six colleges throughout Ireland’s Midwest and Midlands region.

TUS was established on 1 October, 2021. Campuses are located in Athlone, Clare, Limerick and Tipperary. TUS benefits from an already strong and vibrant history of education and learning in the wider region and plays a strong role in sustaining and enhancing this identity for generations to come.​

Research within TUS Midwest occurs through 20 dedicated centres and groups encompassing a wide variety of disciplines from Fine Art and Design, to Social Sciences, Biotechnology, Interactive Systems, Energy Management, and Sustainable Development. The research centres and groups all have a focus on developing niche areas of expertise to attract international researchers and external funding to provide innovative products and processes for industry partners and develop postgraduate research opportunities.

The Development Unit is dedicated to implementing our vision of supporting individuals, companies and industries in the Mid-West to achieve social, economic and environmental changes through applying its expertise in a collaborative manner.

We pride ourselves on working with people to solve real problems and challenges.  ​​​​​​

With our focus on sustainable energy, climate action, social enterprise, rural development and technology for education, our team leads and partners in projects and activities while working closely with academic staff and experts across the Institute.

We have a particular strength in securing funding from an array of EU programmes (H2020, Interreg, Erasmus+, COSME and others) both as coordinators and as partners/co-beneficiaries. Our dynamic team has extensive experience in proposal development and work in an agile environment to respond to specific partnership needs and requirements.

Under the European Universities Initiative, TUS and six other Higher Educational Institutes from across Europe has formed the Regional University Network: RUN-EU https://run-eu.eu/

O’Keeffe Social Research (Ireland)

O’Keeffe Social Research CLG is an independent research consultancy, based in County Kerry, Ireland. It provides consultancy services, in multiple languages, in planning, place-making, social research, strategic planning, evaluation, facilitation and organisational development. The director, Dr Brendan O’Keeffe is a human geographer and social scientist with a practitioner background in rural development. As an academic, he was a senior lecturer in geography and director of quality in Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. 

Brendan’s current work mainly involves the use of action-research methodologies, and he is working with a number of local development companies, local authorities and civil society organisations.  He is also engaged in a number of academic endeavours, and he has compiled research reports on several issues including youth needs, spatial planning, homelessness, community planning, cross-border collaboration, good governance and rural development.  He has also worked, in an advisory capacity, with public bodies and civil society organisations in several countries.  He has considerable national and international experience in academic, policy and practitioner settings.  He is an active volunteer with a number of community, environmental and cultural organisations. 

Some examples of Brendan’s research and publications (including collaborations) can be accessed via the following links:

Socio-Economic Evaluation of KerryLIFE (2021)

Demographic and Socio-Economic Profile of the Dingle Peninsula (2021)

Waterford Integration Strategy 2021-2024

Fingal Migrant Integration Forum – a vehicle for participatory democracy Local Government Information Unit, Briefing, April 2021

Evolving approaches to territorial development – the experience of the Iveragh Gaeltacht in County Kerry, Ireland Local Government Information Unit, Briefing, March 2021

Dingle Smart Village Strategy (2020)

Submission to Kerry County Council on behalf of Milltown Community and Chamber Alliance, to inform the Local Area Plan (LAP) for the Corca Dhuibhne Municipal District (2020)

Blueprint for the future – migrant integration in Carlow and Waterford’ Local Authority Times, Summer 2020

LDnet (International)

AEIDL is a non‐profit organisation founded in 1988, rooted in local development and the social economy. Its General Assembly is composed of 30 individual members from across Europe, and its Brussels‐based permanent team comprises 20+ professionals, complemented by a wide network of policy and communication experts. AEIDL’s primary objective is to learn from and to foster community‐led innovation to revitalise local communities from across Europe. It delivers EU‐funded projects and contracts in three main thematic areas: i) Rural and Territorial Development; ii) Green Growth, Environment and Climate Action; and iii) Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Inclusion.

LDnet  was set up as an informal network in 2011 to bring together knowledge and people interested in local development. It is supported by the ‘LEDA Partenariat – Local Development Network Association (LDnet)’, a non-profit association registered in France. The unique feature of LDnet is its interest in Local Development across all types of territory (rural, coastal, urban, mountains and islands) and across a wide range of themes, from its origins in social inclusion, job creation and local economic development to more recent concerns about climate change, the circular economy and digital transitions. 

LDnet acts as a bridge between experts, researchers, practitioners and policy makers in a wide range of public, private and third sector organisations. Its aim is to position participative, integrated and sustainable local development approaches at the core of designing, implementing and evaluating economic, social and environmental development policies at all levels of governance.

The network is mainly web-based and virtual. An annual event and smaller thematic meetings are held, often in cooperation with other organisations, for example the Regional Studies Association (RSA) or the European Association for Information on Local Development (AEIDL). The costs of the network are covered by the association and by voluntary contributions.

More information about LDnet can be found under https://ldnet.eu/about-ldnet/

LDnet and AEIDL collaborate for the delivery of REBOUND in terms of sharing network and knowledge resources. LDnet comes under the organisational umbrella of AEIDL for administrative delivery but uses its Europe-wide network for capturing knowledge, generating feedback and disseminating the project´s progress and results. 

Two members of LDnet´s Board are currently operatively involved in managing REBOUND:

Urszula Budzich-Tabor (President of LDnet) – Expert on rural and local development, Leader approach and evaluation. For the last 20 years her responsibilities have involved needs analysis, planning, designing, implementation and evaluation of rural and local development programmes and policies at national and EU level. As one of the founders and member of the board of the Polish Rural Forum (Forum Aktywizacji Obszarów Wiejskich), she has initiated or been involved in most activities related to the preparation and implementation of the Leader approach in Poland. Since 2009 she is Thematic and Territorial Coordinator in FARNET (a European network working with DG Mare to promote local development approach in fisheries areas).

Alistair Adam Hernández, PhD (Member of LDnet board) is an expert on rural resilience, participatory rural development and the LEADER-CLLD methodology. Recently (2020) he was awarded a PhD in Rural Geography (Uni Vechta, Germany) on the topic of “Rural Community Resilience”. Dr Hernández has a professional background in LEADER-CLLD and managing applied R&D projects for local/regional authorities in rural contexts and he is currently an associate researcher at the University of Vechta, but also works as an independent consultant, trainer, and organisational developer for the private, community and voluntary sector.

ADRIMAG (Portugal)

ADRIMAG – Association for the Rural Development of the Montemuro, Arada and Gralheira Mountains – is a private and non-profit organization, created in 1991 and located in Arouca, whose primary objective is the local development, promoting the local resources and taking advantage of the endogenous resources that the area offers such as natural heritage. We are located in the north of Portugal, at 60 Km of Oporto city, the second biggest city in Portugal. ADRIMAG’s local development strategy aims to create a region with a strong entrepreneurial and innovative dynamic and with high quality of life, based on the local resources, promoting sustainable tourism and environmental preservation and seeking for social cohesion and well – being of its inhabitants. ADRIMAG is the local authority for the management of the LEADER Program, current CLLD approach and, this way, is in charge of management and follow-up of the projects supported by the program.

ADRIMAG develops, at a local level, activities in 4 main domains: tourism and rural development, enterprises and micro-activities creation, adult education and training, and social development. These activities are developed based on an institutional cooperation based on local, national and international networks.

The prosecution of these projects involves mandatorily a participative methodology through direct and frequents contacts between ADRIMAG and the local actors, namely the local authorities, the companies and the community associations working on the homogenous of the territory.

University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Department of Geography (at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana) is a pedagogical and research institution. It provides accredited BSc, MSc and PhD programmes in the field of Geography, (for Geography specialists and Geography teachers). The department consists of 25 staff members (including university teachers and assisstants, full-time researchers, cartographers, librarians, laboratory technician), has its own research centre, library and cartographic library, geographic and cartographic laboratory and physical geography laboratory. 

The research is focused on several topics (environmental issues, rural development, local and regional development, spatial development and planning), being a part of theoretical or applied research. Over the last years we have participated in several projects related to rural issues.

On EU level:

  • NEWBIE (Horizon 2020): New entrants into farming, their entry and business models (2018-2021);
  • SocialB (Erasmus KA): Development, growth and sustainability of social enterprise (2020-2022); design and testing of an international MSc course (30 ECTS);
  • TELI2 (Erasmus+): Transnational education in LEADER implementation (2016-2018); preparation and delivery of course based on neo-endogenous development tailored according to the needs of local action groups;
  • CELSA (bilateral project: KU Leuven, University of Ljubljana): Analysis of the supportive environment of new entrants in farming (2020-2022).

On national, regional or local level:

  • RUSALKA (LEADER/CLLD project): Revitalisation of Temenica River (2022-2023),
  • Conflicts (Target research project): Conflicts in rural areas support solution searching and development (2020-2022),
  • Vingatur (Target research project): Prospects for further development of wine and gastronomy tourism on farms (2020-2022).

Sara Mikolič, MSc in Geography, is a young researcher, being strongly involved in applicative research.

Irma Potočnik Slavič, PhD in Geography, is a lecturer and a senior researcher.

Development Agency Kozjansko (Slovenia)

Development Agency Kozjansko is a regional development agency established in year 2000. It is involved in a number national and European projects and programmes aimed at rural, community and economic development and sustainability.

DA Kozjansko is lead partner for the Local Action Group “From Pohorje to Bohor” connecting seven predominantly rural municipalities (Dobje, Dobrna, Oplotnica, Slovenske Konjice, Šentjur, Vitanje, Zreče) with 50.000 inhabitants.

The following organizational units are also a part of Development Agency Kozjansko:

  • Business Incubator Šentjur offers business space and support to new companies,
  • Youth Centre Šentjur offers trainings, coaching and international exchange projects to provide additional activities for children and youth. Youth Centre Šentjur also manages a co-working space Aktivator and Youth Business Incubator,
  • Adult Education Centre Šentjur provides formal and informal education and trainings to adults and various programs for seniors and other groups,
  • Tourism Information Centre Šentjur connects and promotes tourism providers, museums and cultural and natural heritage in Šentjur municipality.

Development Agency Kozjansko has participated in a number of projects dealing with rural development:

  • SocialB (Erasmus KA): Development, growth and sustainability of social enterprises and other social economy stakeholders (2020-2022);
  • TELI2 (Erasmus+): Transnational education in LEADER implementation, preparation and delivery of course aimed at the needs of local action groups (2016-2018);
  • Traditional and Wild (Interreg Central Europe): Protect and share cultural heritage and improve livelihoods of vulnerable groups in rural parts of Central Europe (2011-2013);
  • ASIS (Interreg Alpine Space): The Social Innovation Strategy platform to promote, encourage and support Social Innovation in the Alpine region. (2018-2021).