What is the Pilot Project about?

The European Commission together with the European Parliament published a document called "EU Actions for Smart Villages" in order to make opportunities for villages and rural communities more visible. One of these actions is the Pilot Project on Smart eco-social villages. The implementation of the Pilot Project on Smart eco-social villages (“Smart Villages” in short) has been granted by the European Commission (DG AGRI) to the consortium of Ecorys, Origin for Sustainability and R.E.D. in December 2017 and it will be completed until April 2019. The potential effect of this Pilot Project is to shape the on-going discussion on the future of the “Smart Village” policy. Therefore those who contribute and participate, can also make their voice heard for the future of this important topic.

The overall aim of the Pilot Project is fourfold:
1. To map the opportunities and challenges in rural areas;
2. To provide a definition of “Smart Villages”;
3. To describe in detail existing best practices: ten best practices will be identified and analysed;
4. To investigate how to become a “Smart Village”: six case studies will receive support in setting up an action plan, including roadmaps to kick-start the process of becoming a “Smart Village”.

The final result should be a report summarising main opportunities and challenges of rural areas, the definition of “Smart Villages” and the lessons learned from the best practices and case studies.


“Smart Village” is a new concept in the realm of EU policies, yet it has become an important one among policy makers as well as other stakeholders. There is no definition at the European level on what this term actually means. One of the aims of the Pilot Project is to find and establish a definition for ”Smart Villages” which integrates the range of different interpretations and conceptions currently existing. It is crucial to gain inputs from stakeholders and academics who are involved in relevant projects or programmes.

A first consultation was open until 27 April 2018. A working definition will then be proposed and published for a second consultation in June 2018.

Best Practices

A second objective is to identify, analyse and report about 10 concrete best practice examples of ”Smart Villages”. We would be very grateful to receive information on any projects or initiatives on social and digital innovation in rural services in areas such as health, quality of life, connectivity, education and culture, energy, environment, mobility or anything you find relevant. These best practices can thus be any example of a community, village or local project which has succeeded in building on their existing strengths and assets in order to improve the quality of life in their areas.

We would be pleased to receive any suggestions until 31 May 2018. Best practices selected will be contacted from June 2018.

Case Studies

A third part of the Pilot Project comprises six case studies which will develop roadmaps to establish steps to become a “Smart Village”. We are looking for candidates (villages, communities, municipalities) keen to become a “Smart Village”, yet finding it challenging to take the next step. We ask a high level of engagement of local actors during September, October or November 2018, in return experts in social innovation or other fields linked to “Smart Villages” will advise and assist in finding the next steps and will be able to put you in touch with other relevant stakeholders to get your project going.

Have we spiked your interest? Send us your expression of interest and leave us all relevant contact details. The implementation of the case studies is planned during July and August for 2 pilot studies and September / October / November for 4 remaining case studies.


31.03.2018 | The webpage and the consultation on the definition is launched

We are pleased to announce the launch of our webpage for the Pilot Project on Smart eco-social villages, or “Smart Villages” in short. This page contains all information on the project and explains how you can contribute.

At the moment, we would be happy if you could take a few minutes of your time to answer our questionnaire concerning your opinion and understanding of what a “Smart Village” is or can be. You can provide your views and inputs until the 27th of April.

The next step will be to develop a first draft of working definition based on the results tot his questionnaire. In May, we will ask you to provide feedback on a set of options for the working definition of “Smart Villages”.

Fill in the questionnaire now!

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