Project management: Prof. Dr. Jean-François Tourrand, Cirad, France
Duration: 2019 – 2021
Funded by: EU program Horizon 2020
Highland regions are vital for humanity, owed to the ecosystems they host and the multiple goods and services they provide. Consequently, the demand for evidence-based sustainable local development models and tools applicable in highlands is increasing in Europe, and in emerging, pre-emerging and developing countries. The goal of the HIGHLANDS Project is thus to contribute to Inclusive Sustainable Development in Highlands (ISDH) through collective and impact-driven Research and Innovation (R&I), based on capacity building, and sharing of local-global knowledge, experience, and ISDH tools. It will drive a co-innovation process through secondments and specific research and innovative sessions (R&IS) involving public/private, and academic/non-academic organizations, to build a shared vision of ISDH, enhance the capacities of researchers, land/resources managers and users, and policymakers, thus bridging the gap between research and development.
Our activities will be organized around five integrated work packages (WP): Project coordination and management (WP1); Methodology and capacity building for ISDH analysis (WP2); Analysis, comparison and modeling of the diversity and potential of ISDH (WP3); Building an interactive decision-support ISDH platform/database (WP4); and Communicating about HIGHLANDS/RISE Program, and sharing HIGHLANDS’ results to ensure their world-wide adoption (WP5). HIGHLANDS is supported by a large network of 33 institutions including 23 beneficiary partners from Europe (~40% non-academic), and skilled and motivated female and male researchers and local actors/practitioners. The work plan will run eight successive R&IS (5 in Europe and 3 outside Europe) to promote the exchange of experience among participants as a foundation for innovation. Each R&IS will build upon collective learning principles and a holistic systemic approach, exposing participants to a wide range of world views that will encourage experimentation with practice. Each R&IS will focus on a particular aspect of sustainable highland development and will include collective learning, collaborative research, and capacity-building on data collection, analysis, modeling and interpreting. To complement the R&IS, long-term secondments will be implemented for researchers and development agents to train and work together more deeply on specific issues identified by the HIGHLANDS consortium. The data collected and generated throughout the project on the diverse and contrasted ISDH studied will be stored in an online collaborative and interactive platform that will then be transferred to existing mountain networks, both as a long-term instrument for R&I cooperation on ISDH/mountain areas and an inspirational decision-support tool for development actors and policy makers.