PSDR4 Programme Launch
The programme of research "On and For Regional Development" (PSDR) examines the role of economic activities (primarily agriculture, agro-food, transport) and of rural and peri-urban areas in territorial development dynamics. Supported by INRA and Irstea, in collaboration with French Regional councils, PSDR is intended to contribute to regional and territorial development through research and development operations conducted in partnership with local actors.

This programme analyzes the dynamics at work in the territories, including innovation processes in the field of resource development and competitiveness of supply chains, preservation of ecosystems and adaptation to climate change, changes in urban-rural relations, or the development of territorial governance mechanisms and their integration into public policy.

The third phase of the PSDR programme (PSDR 3) was initiated in 2007 and completed in June 2012
. This endeavour to promote the utilization of scientific research and develop cooperation has resulted in a significant rise in the amount and level of scientific outputs, in the development of partnerships and the reinforcement of the educational role of the projects, particularly for the benefit of students. Scientific contributions and recommendations concerning regional development were provided and applied at regional and national levels.

Today, INRA and Irstea wish to continue the PSDR programme and launch a new generation of projects (PSDR4) in an effort to address the current challenges related to agricultural, territorial and regional development, and the evolution of public policy.
PSDR3: the main results
The 36 PSDR3 projects were conducted in 10 regions over a 3-year period and have led to important scientific contributions (545 scientific publications, three quarters of which were published in peer-reviewed journals , and five complete books), over 650 innovation partnership operations, such as themed seminars, the production of technical manuals as well as 216 educational materials and actions to benefit initial or continuing education (as well as 53 doctoral theses and 300 master's degree dissertations).

The research has led to significant advances in four key areas:
  • regional and territorial development;
  • links between development, territory, environment and society;
  • interregional research;
  • Multidisciplinary work combining social science and biotechnical sciences.
Projects have yielded significant results and led to recommendations for addressing a variety of issues:
  • The new challenges facing rural and peri-urban areas: land-related dimensions, the functioning of supply chains and short distribution circuits, location and mobility of activities and populations, impact of climate change on the management of farming systems;
  • But also innovation processes, new sources of creation of wealth and activities (services, tourism, residential economy) in rural areas; management, preservation and utilization of natural and local resources, as well as peri-urbanization processes.
PSDR4: Guideline suggestions
INRA and Irstea wish to situate this phase of the PSDR programme within the current debate on agricultural, territorial and regional development, and on the evolution of public policies. The main topics to be addressed evolve to reflect the concerns of economic, social and public actors at territorial level, while integrating the main structuring orientations of EU regional policy (including bio-economy challenges in the context of Horizon 2020 and of the great European transport infrastructure projects) and the CAP, as well as the drivers of wealth creation, in the territories, such as residential economy and tourism.

Three main proposals for PSDR4 have been made by the programme’ scientific committee:
  • Develop co-construction and partnership processes as soon as the projects are formulated; and extend their duration to improve knowledge transfer and sharing;
  • Set up a researcher training school from the beginning of the programme to sensitize and train the participants to multidisciplinary work, especially between biotech and social sciences, providing tools and accounts of successful experiences;
  • Implement focus groups on cross-cutting issues and provide them with their own budget.
The programme leads to reinforcement of partnerships and of the knowledge transfer effort. Closer ties will be developed with territorial actors, and the projects are prolonged by one year to promote knowledge transfer and utilization, thus extending them to four years.

The new projects, continuing from the previous generation, will be organized in such a way as to promote interregional interaction between the various participants. To enhance the coherence of the programme, a small number of key topics could be selected in each region. The principle of articulation between a national steering and coordination mechanism and regional mechanisms will be maintained.

Finally, a particular effort will be made to meet the scientific quality requirements while ensuring that useful solutions are provided to the regions. Multidisciplinary partnership – a strong defining characteristic will be reinforced.
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