Through our membership of the Europeanwide Smart Village Network, ILDN supported the E40 consultancy to take up an EU contract to operate the Smart Rural Project supported by DG Agri.

As part of that process, working with Local Development Companies, ILDN assisted 8 Irish villages to make submissions to become one of the initial 5 locations across Europe to become candidate villages and receive a suite of technical advice and guidance.

We are delighted to announce that Dingle, Co. Kerry, has been chosen in the initial EU 5 locations, along with others in Finland, Greece, the Czech Republic and France.

E40 are currently in the process of selecting additional 12 participant villages that will receive expert support for strategy development and implementation through the project.

Whilst it is unlikely that a second project will be chosen from the 5 initial countries, it is possible - E40 have stated that "we might select up to two villages per country in case of very strong applications received. It is also worth filling in the application form, because villages who do this will have an advantage if they apply for cross-visits (i.e. visiting the participant villages), can get into a project contact database, and can get their practices promoted through various platforms (e.g. the smart solutions database) of the project."

The application form is not onerous and is available below, Your Local Development Company or ILDN is available to assist as is E40's appointed national expert, Shane Conway,

Interested villages can apply (as during the proposal phase) through the following link: until 5 May 2020.

What is the project about?

The Smart Rural project is a two and a half-year project supported by the European Commission (DG AGRI) with the overall aim to promote and inspire villages to develop and implement smart village approaches and strategies across Europe, and to draw conclusions and support future CAP interventions on smart villages.

17 villages receive guidance and technical support through the project. 5 villages have already been selected in Ireland, Finland, France, the Czech Republic and Greece, and further 12 villages will be selected until June 2020.

Your village is an ideal candidate if it…
✓ needs support, ideas and inspiration to become a smart village,
✓ has enthusiastic leaders who are committed to develop and implement a smart village strategy,
✓ has the relevant human capacity to mobilise for the smart village process,
✓ would benefit from specific expert guidance to progress with village development plans,
✓ ideally has some basic technical capacity, including sufficient broadband connectivity or relevant infrastructure (e.g. community spaces) – although this is not a pre-condition,
✓ ideally has some initial ideas, flagship projects or planning activities done that the smart village process can build on – although this is not a pre-condition,
✓ is open to knowledge exchange and cooperation with other villages and stakeholders. If you think your village is ready to undertake an exciting smart village journey, then apply until 5 May 2020 to become one of the participant villages in the Smart Rural Project!

What do we need to do to apply? What will we get?

You need to complete a simple application form (link above) describing:
✓ The key characteristics, challenges, assets and opportunities of your village
✓ The motivation to become a smart village
✓ The added value that you expect from becoming a participant village and support that your village needs

If your village is selected your village will:
✓ Get specialist expert support for strategy development & implementation
✓ Can visit and get inspiration from other villages
✓ Can take part in exchange and capacity building with other participant villages through the Smart Village Academy events
✓ Gain visibility in European-level discussions and exchanges

Even if your village is not selected it will:
✓ Have an advantage if it applies to visit participant villages
✓ Can gain visibility through its practices being promoted
✓ Get regular updates about the project outcomes