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Annual Review

Annual Review 2022: A year of cooperation

Head of the Centre for Rural Research Egon Noe looks back on the 'year that passed'.

By Egon Noe , , 12/8/2022

In many ways, 2022 has been a year of contradictions.

In Europe, we are experiencing a war and energy crisis that is very much felt in Denmark. This is particularly true in rural areas, which are already challenged by demographic trends, climate challenges and increasing pressure on the health sector, among other things.

At the same time, we are experiencing an increased focus on the structural conditions that contribute to reinforcing inequalities between rural areas and larger cities.  

This is perhaps why we are also seeing an increased focus on the local level. On community, cohesion and local pride, where stakeholders and volunteers work every day to make their local area a good place to live and work.

At the Centre for Rural Research, we have had the opportunity once again this year to research themes such as these - and to produce and disseminate knowledge for the benefit of rural areas. 

Local community development

This is not least thanks to the research funding we receive through our objectives and results plan under the Ministry of the Interior and Housing. The plan funds two very topical projects, each dealing in its own way with community development.

Annette Aagaard Thuesen is the academic supervisor of PhD student Kasper Friis Bavnbæk, who is researching strategic village planning. The project will provide the country's municipalities with tools to tackle this new task. In October, Kasper published an inspiring chronicle in Erhverv+ on how strategic village planning can ensure viable villages in the future.

Tobias Gandrup has studied citizen-driven community economies around grocery stores. He has just published the results in a new inspiration catalogue, where he gives concrete advice for those who want to create and run a citizen-initiated grocery store. 

Focus on everyday life

As a research centre, it is essential that we contribute knowledge to rural areas. That's why researchers work year-round on project applications with external partners to secure funding to research the most pressing issues. It is encouraging to see that this hard work is bearing fruit.

Pia Heike Johansen is researching quality of life in rural areas, a project supported by Realdania. Together with PhD student Morten Frølund, she is also investigating the importance of art and culture in rural areas. She is also the coordinator of a new EU project, RYouCult, which aims to create a more dynamic youth culture in rural areas, where Christian Brink Grønnebæk has been hired as a research assistant.

Inspiration catalogues

The researchers at the Centre for Rural Research have published a number of catalogues to inspire you in your work with and for rural areas.

Barbara Fersch is leading another new EU project, REACT, to prevent digital exclusion in rural areas, partly by training volunteer e-health facilitators.

Health in general has been a major theme over the last few years, both in Denmark and at the Centre for Rural Research. Together with Barbora Gulisova, I have just published a new report that takes stock of our current knowledge on rural health. A theme we will continue to work on in 2023.

Closures and major events

New projects also mean that we bring others to an end. However, this does not mean that the projects lose their relevance.

This year, Annette Aagaard Thuesen and Klaus Levinsen completed a project on the role of community associations in the development of local areas in Denmark. The results of the project are important for the development of local areas, and Annette has travelled extensively this year to share her knowledge.

The same applies to the project on relocation of government jobs, which Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen and Jens Fyhn Lykke Sørensen completed in 2021 and which is still being reported on.

Projects and reports

The Centre for Rural Research is engaged in more research projects than there is space to mention in an annual report. We have therefore put together a few links so that you can explore our research.

See our research projects

See our reports

One of the big ones was Eva Mærsk's PhD defence, which drew full houses - a testament to the timeliness of the topic and Eva's great dissemination efforts throughout her PhD. The achievement is not diminished by the fact that Eva also defended her PhD at the University of Groningen and now has a double degree. A truly great achievement. We look forward to following Eva in her new role at Work-Live-Stay.

Another who has been a dedicated communicator of her research throughout her PhD is Barbora Gulisova. She has just published an inspirational catalogue for those working in rural branding. A field of research she remains deeply involved in at Border Region Studies in Sønderborg. 

A year of cooperation

"If you come together, more things are possible" is the title of one of this year's inspirational catalogues on civic engagement and local innovation. It could also be the title of the year in the Centre for Rural Research.

A centre is only as good as its relationships, and once again this year we have had the pleasure of working with a wide range of actors in the rural field.

A few examples are our health conference with the Rural Joint Council, the Diabetes Association and UC Syd and our summer school with ZEIT-Stiftung, Akademiezentrum Sankelmark, and Royal Danish Embassy Berlin.

I would like to thank all our external partners; volunteers, practitioners, the country's municipalities and regions, interest groups, politicians and other researchers for a great collaboration.

A special thank you goes to our dedicated and competent Board of Directors, who have guided us safely through 2022 and will lead us further into 2023, and to the Housing and Planning Agency for a rewarding collaboration.

It speaks for itself that our research cannot stand alone. It must go out to live among those of you who work in rural areas. That is why it is also heartening and gratifying to witness the interest you show in our research. I would like to end the year by thanking all of you who follow our work.

I look forward to even more exciting projects, initiatives and collaborations in rural areas in 2023.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

Egon Noe
Head of the Centre for Rural Research

Meet the researchers

The Centre for Rural Research has a wide range of researchers associated with it. If you need knowledge on a rural topic, take a look at the researchers' research areas.

Meet our researchers here

One of the focus areas in 2023 is to disseminate even more knowledge about the researchers who form the core of the Centre for Rural Research. 

Editing was completed: 08.12.2022