P-IRIS partner from Croatia (Local Development Agency PINS) attended conference “Rethinking territorial balances between urban and rural areas in the European Mountains: how can innovation support win-win solutions?” organised by European association of mountain areas – Euromontana. Conference was held in Brussels on 20th November 2019.

The conference brought out discussions about innovation approaches in mountain and rural areas and how these innovations can attract urban stakeholders to rural areas. Important common belief is that networks and ecosystems in mountain areas can attract urban stakeholders (R&D, entrepreneurs, public institutions). By creating networks of different actors in rural areas – urban actors will show interest for these activities. Rural areas also hold important advantage as in some of the urban areas is already hard to work (lack of space, high land lease, lot of existing research activities, bigger competition).

During the conference it was clearly underlined that innovation networks are infrastructure (the arena) for sharing of knowledge and skills and innovative networks in rural areas can bring urban actors (including R&D, entrepreneurial players, including test and demonstration facilities and investors) and overcome distance. Here P-IRIS findings support the above written.

P-IRIS led (among others) to establishment of two co-working centres (in Croatia and Slovenia). Both were formed on the basis of Good Practices seen in Finland, Norway and Slovenia. There it has been already proven that we can attract young generations to the countryside by raising awareness, strengthening links, providing usage of modern technologies (like 3D printers) and provide networking opportunities (events, high level/quality workshops, etc.). Good practices have provided valuable information and input that co-working spaces can contribute to development of rural areas.