Research and evidence based advocacy in rural areas

Research results on peoples, civil societies and networks involvement in local development and advocacy activities are discussed. The participants will, for example, ask themselves are the local actors seen/accepted as partners and how to best include local actors in the development activities and in the policy-making processes.


Kim Smedslund, Master of company law and teacher of French and Swedish languages, started with local and regional rural development activities in 1997 as project responsible in a municipality and a business development center. He has published a book on EU institutions development from a politico-legal perspective in 1993. Since 2001, Kim Smedslund has been in different managing positions in a LEADER-group. International coordinating activities in the Finnish Village Movement from 2007 led to participation in European community/villages networks of rural development (ERCA/PREPARE) and finally to a joint coordination role in the European Rural Parliament (ERP) partnership/network in October 2016.


Dr. Breandán Ó Caoimh is an independent consultant working in the fields of social research, local development, community planning, evaluations, project management and organisational change.  A Human Geographer, he was a Senior Lecturer and Director of Quality in Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, and retains close linkages with the College. He is a research affiliate of the International Centre for Local and Regional Development.  His research areas include local development, governance, cross-border collaboration, demographics and linguistics.  Brendan has considerable practitioner experience in rural and community development, having worked with LEADER organisations and those delivering various area-based and social inclusion programmes.  Breandán has also worked, in an advisory capacity, with authorities and civil society organisations in several countries.