This Strategic Institute Programme started in 2001 and was finished 2007. The main objective was to contribute towards better understanding of social and cultural change processes in rural communities. The boundaries between the rural and the urban are changing and becoming less distinct, the rural economy is becoming more diversified and less dependent on the primary industries, and the rural population is to a great extent a heterogeneous group with different backgrounds, interests and needs. In the light of the rapid social changes, there is an increased need for research about the impact of these change processes on everyday life and adaptation in different communities and among different groups. The programme included research within four thematic areas: An analysis of the concept of “rural community” and the rural/urban dimension; Rurality, lifestyle and identity; Rurality and gender; and Rurality and business development. Offering research training and opportunities to build further qualifications through doctoral scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships was part of the programme. Furthermore, the programme aimed to develop national and international networks of researchers, and publishing internationally was a prioritised strategy.

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