The project aims to ensure that rural areas and older people do not remain excluded from digitised access to public services. Photo Credit: JMK

Brno, Sept. 24 (BD) – Mendel University is applying for European funding for the development of a project to expand digital outreach to rural areas of South Moravia. The South Moravian Region is providing support for the project application, which should strengthen regional competitiveness.

If the university succeeds in obtaining funding, 2023 will be the starting year of the INTELLAGES project, created in cooperation with nine partners from the European Union and one from Israel, which will start with a pilot period in at least two villages in South Moravia. 

Despite considerable progress in recent years, only 60% of rural households in the EU currently have access to high-speed Internet, compared to the EU average of 86%. On the one hand, the digital exclusion of rural communities contributes to widening their already considerable distance from basic services. This situation poses further challenges to the current economic development model of rural living standards.

The INTELLAGES project builds on the results of the smart rural development model successfully applied in Spain. It will address three issues: digital exclusion, access to basic services and the lack of an economic development model that guarantees employment. Over three years, the project will identify opportunities and challenges from the successful experiences of smart villages in Europe in interconnected areas such as local environmental situation, agricultural productivity, lifelong learning, age-independent quality of life and tourism for older people. The project will provide a pilot operation for the development of smart and sustainable rural development and the creation of an innovation network in the rural space.

“South Moravia can participate in workshops and consultations on this topic all the time, following the latest information on the progress of the project, including the implementation and results of the pilot project on the territory of South Moravia, where one of the five pilot projects will be implemented. We are very interested in the results of the project, on the basis of which we will assess possible financial support,” said Jan Zámečník, Deputy Governor for Regional Development.

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