Smart villages: Making it happen

At the start of the new programming period, the focus of discussions around smart villages has been shifting towards how to best support ‘Smart villages’ implementation through policies, programmes and related funds in preparation for the 2021-27 programming period. The workshop will aim at exploring in a participatory way what could be done at local, regional and national levels to make ‘Smart villages happen’. In particular, participants will discuss how various stakeholders could contribute to mobilising resources (including human and financial) to support the bottom-up design and implementation of the smart villages concept.

Leader / Speaker

Edina Ocsko is a co-founder and lead animator of the Smart Village Network, a European bottom-up voluntary network that includes villages, village groups (including LEADER Local Action Groups) and village associations as members across Europe. The Smart Village Network aims at enabling exchange among villages about smart village approaches and make the voices of villages heard at regional, national and European levels. Edina has specific expertise in rural networking; she worked at the European Network for Rural Development Contact Point (ENRD CP) from 2013 to 2018. During this period she managed the Networking & Coordination Team for three years, and led ENRD thematic work on ‘smart and competitive rural businesses’ and ‘social inclusion’. Since 2018, she has been working as the founding and managing director of E40 Group, an international consultancy in rural, regional and socio-economic development, with a strong focus on bottom-up stakeholder engagement in policy processes. Previously she has been involved in numerous EU-funded projects including evaluations, research and studies, and technical assistance projects


Ed Thorpe is a communications and transnational exchange specialist working on issues of sustainable local development in both rural and urban contexts. Ed co-founded E40 Group in 2017 in which capacity he has led a study on the Integrated Action Plans of municipalities participating in URBACT (European Transnational Cooperation Programme for towns and cities) and provided animation support to the Smart Village Network – a bottom-up European network of villages, village groups and village associations. Ed has previously worked for the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) Contact Point (as Communications Manager, 2014-2017).