Semi-Plenary Session II

Wednesday, 8 September 2021
11:00 – 12:30 CEST

Social and Digital Innovation to Promote  Transformation for Green Recovery and a Carbon-neutral Europe

Host organization: 
Social Innovation in Marginalized Rural Areas (SIMRA)

Prof Dr Maria Nijnik (Horizon 2020 SIMRA project)
Dr Leanne Townsend (Horizon 2020 DESIRA project)

Prof. Tatiana Kluvankova (SlovakGlobe and CETIP Bratislava)

Social innovation, as a product of policy discourses and a collaborative response of civil society actors to societal challenges, is being increasingly recognised as both a driver and a means of advancing sustainability. Indeed, from the reconfiguration of social practices, particularly in locations and contexts where markets and existing institutions fail, social and digital innovation could help to steer the sustainability transformation towards smart, inclusive, green and carbon-neutral growth.

Based on selected findings from the Horizon 2020 projects “Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas” (SIMRA) and “Digitisation: Economic and Social Impacts in Rural Areas” (DESIRA), this session will address the following main questions: to what extent and under what circumstances can social and digital innovations deliver transformative opportunities to people on the ground, and how can it steer Green Recovery and carbon-neutral development in the diverse governance, cultural, and economic contexts of Europe?

Panel Speakers

Prof. Dr. Maria Nijnik. Principal Social Scientist of the James Hutton Institute, Member of UK Government Expert Committee on Forest Science (Environmental Economics) and IUFRO Office Holder. Maria is Awardee of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Scientific Achievement Award (2019). She is an expert on numerous scientific bodies, including the Scientific Advisory Boards of the European Forest Institute (EFI) and EURAC. She coordinates the IUFRO Unit on Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and in 2016-2020, was the Coordinator of the H2020 SIMRA project.

Dr. Leanne Townsend. Leanne is a senior Social Scientist at the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen. She has developed and led research on the social impacts of new technologies for diverse groups (e.g. land use professionals, rural communities, creative industries and Gypsy-Traveller communities). She is currently researching the impacts of digitalisation in remote rural crofting communities including on the Horizon 2020 “DESIRA” project and EPSRC-funded project “Small Smart Farms”.

Prof. Tatiana Kluvánková. Ecological institutional and behavioural economist concentrating on trans-disciplinary collaboration between natural and social sciences. She has been Principal investigator of more than 10 EU FM projects, Chair of SLOVAKGLOBe, Lead Faculty member of the Earth System Governance Project and Bratislava ESG Research Centre and member of the board of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE). She is the Chair for the 2021 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance: