University of Galway launches European project to enhance women’s role in rural life – ELARD is one of the partners

University of Galway launches European project to enhance women’s role in rural life – ELARD is one of the partners

Photo – President of University of Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh and FLIARA project Lead Associate Professor Maura Farrell. Credit – Aengus McMahon.


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

University of Galway is to lead a new research project running across 10 countries in Europe focusing on enhancing the role of women in agriculture, rural life and affairs, and ELARD is one of the partners.

The Horizon Europe project, FLIARA, which stands for Female-Led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas proposes a unique and innovative approach to improve understanding, awareness and recognition of women’s role in a more sustainable rural future, as well as 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 project is being led at University of Galway by Associate Professor Maura Farrell. At ELARD Ms Laura Incze is newly hired to take the project lead of ELARDs responsibilities and workpackages, with the support from the EKEP-coordination and Vice-president Marion Eckardt.

Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme, FLIARA is a three year project, which 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. It will actively involve female farmers and female rural entrepreneurs.

FLIARA will identify visions for sustainable farm and rural futures and the sustainability innovations needed to realise these visions.

Researchers will also investigate women-led innovations on farms and in wider rural areas looking at their pathways in the innovation ecosystem. Building on the power of social networks, a series of Community of Practice networks will bring together female rural innovators identified throughout the case study process.

Project Lead Associate Professor Maura Farrell ( is available for interview


FLIARA Project Partners: 

  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




In 2021, the European Commission put forward the Long Term Vision for Rural Areas, which identified challenges and concerns of rural people, including demographic issues, lower gross domestic product per capita, poor access to essential services and amenities, namely water, electricity and broadband.

Additionally, key contemporary trends, such as climate change, gender inequalities and the Covid-19 pandemic, bring new challenges to European rural areas. Rural change also brings opportunities to foster more resilient, inclusive and sustainable rural regions, such as those created by the digital and ecological transitions.

Long Term Vision for Rural Areas: