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HomeFarming NewsUniversity of Galway launches European-wide women in ag project
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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University of Galway launches European-wide women in ag project

University of Galway has launched a new European project to enhance women’s role in rural life.

FLIARA – Female Led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas – is set to identify visions for sustainable farm and rural futures.

The research project will run across ten countries in Europe, with a focus on enhancing the role of women in agriculture, rural life and affairs.

The EU Horizon Europe-funded project proposes a “unique and innovative” approach to improve understanding, awareness and recognition of women’s role in a more sustainable rural future.

It is set to look at developing “more effective” policy and governance frameworks that can “support and enhance” the capacity of women who live and work in these areas to contribute to it.

The three-year project aims to combine futures and case study methods, alongside network building and policy benchmarking, while being underpinned by a co-created conceptual and assessment framework.

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It will:

  • “Actively” involve female farmers and female rural entrepreneurs;
  • Identify visions for sustainable farm and rural futures and the sustainability innovations needed to realise these visions;
  • Investigate women-led innovations on farms and in wider rural areas looking at their pathways in the innovation ecosystem;
  • Build on the power of social networks;
  • Bring together female rural innovators identified throughout the case study process.

Community of Practice Networks will occur in conjunction with a Campaign of Visibility for women-led rural innovations, spotlighting women as “key” innovation actors.

Project outcomes will result in end-user-ready resources, including policy proposals and practical tools supporting women-led innovation.

The FLIARA project is led by a research team from the University of Galway’s Rural Studies Centre, including:

  • Dr Maura Farrell (Principal Investigator);
  • Louise Weir (Project Manager);
  • Dr Aisling Murtagh;
  • Dr Shane Conway;
  • Niamh McGuinness.
FLIARA Project Partners: 

The diverse project partnership, includes universities, SMEs and other practitioners across ten EU countries.

  1. University of Galway;
  2. DELFT University of Technology, Netherlands;
  3. Teagasc Agriculture and Food Development Authority, Ireland;
  4. University of Calabria, Italy;
  5. Longford Women’s Link, Longford, Ireland;
  6. University of Turku, Finland;
  7. University of Ljubljana, Slovenia;
  8. Consulta Europa, Canary Islands;
  9. Eberswalde University, Germany;
  10. ELARD: European LEADER Association for Rural Development, Belgium;
  11. University of Oulu, Finland;
  12. Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, Sweden;
  13. ECOLISE: European Network for Community-Led Initiatives on Climate Change and Sustainability, Belgium;
  14. Mendel University, Czech Republic;
  15. Linnacus University, Sweden.
Rural innovation:

Project leader, University of Galway’s Dr Maura Farrell, said:

To overcome Europe’s rural challenges and embrace potential opportunities, there is a need for all individuals and communities to participate in rural innovation.”

“Traditionally, rural women’s employment opportunities and contribution to innovation has been overshadowed, and often suppressed, by a patriarchal ethos.”

President of University of Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said:

“At University of Galway, we are here for the public good. This project speaks to that mission in such an important aspect of the lived experience of women in our rural communities.”

“We give credit here to our colleagues in their work respecting the role of women in sustaining and maintaining rural life for the generations which have gone before us and how they are key to renewing it today and into the future.”

“In particular, the winning of Horizon Europe funding for this project is a testament to the excellence of the work and to its significance not only in Ireland but more generally.”

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