An overview of the Rural Social Innovations (Maaseutu Inno)

Main funder

Funder's project number2110/03.01.03/2018

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 50 498,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date01/09/2019

Project end date31/12/2021


The development-oriented research project aims to create an overview of the social innovations that have emerged and are functioning in rural areas of Finland. The origin of the concept of social innovation may be traced to the grass roots initiatives that aimed to provide an alternative to public social services that were incapable to meet local welfare needs. During the past decades, the concept has been increasingly applied within the political mainstream discourse where it has gained more functionalist meaning as cost-efficient solutions that are sought for responding to the socially recognized needs in the context of weakening public finances and the renewal process of the welfare state. The need for social innovations is tightly related to the discussion concerning the resilience of rural communities which puts a focus on the responsive capacities of places and social systems facing different kinds of threat; to evolve and adapt as well as to create their own solutions in the face of continuing adversity.

The main focus of the project is the general of rural social innovations: the manifestation as well as the factors that have impact on their emergence and development. The research subjects include the different models and practices of community-oriented development and cross-sectorial partnerships focusing on securing and strengthening the welfare, services and vitality of rural communities.

The main goals of the project include:
1) To gather a systematic and nationwide knowledge-base of the extent and characteristics of social innovations in the rural Finland. Herein the key informants are provincial village agents, Leader action groups, and the candidates of the competition of “The Smartest Village in Finland”.
2) To construct a more in-depth understanding about the emergence of rural social innovations and the factors related to it. This is done by a case study focusing on 5–8 rural social innovation of a different type located in the different parts of Finland
3) To develop an open-access “Data Bank for Rural Social Innovation”.
The methodology used follows the idea of triangulation. Based on that both qualitative and quantitative data as well as different research methods (questionnaires, interviews, field visits) are exploited.

Principal Investigator

Other persons related to this project (JYU)

Contact person (yes/no)Yes

Primary responsible unit

Follow-up groups

Profiling areaSchool of Wellbeing (University of Jyväskylä JYU) JYU.Well

Related publications and other outputs

Last updated on 2023-24-08 at 20:51