ROBUST (Rural-Urban Outlooks – Unlocking Synergies) is a Europe-wide research project being delivered by a consortium of 24 partners including research institutes, local and regional authorities.

Gloucestershire is one of the settings for the research, and Gloucestershire County Council and the University of Gloucestershire’s Countryside and Community Research Institute are partners in the consortium. The project is funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme and will run for four years until 2021.

“The overall goal of ROBUST is to a) advance our understanding of the interactions and dependencies between rural, peri-urban and urban areas and b) to identify and promote policies, governance models and practices that foster mutually beneficial relations. Improved governance arrangements and synergies between rural, peri-urban and urban areas will in turn contribute to Europe’s smart sustainable and inclusive growth, maximising the creation of rural jobs and value-added.”

The Gloucestershire team have agreed to work together on three themes of relevance and importance to the local economy. These are:

  1. New business models and labour markets – exploring how can we encourage the construction, demolition and extraction sectors to minimise waste and maximise sustainable use of resources; in light of Circular Economy principles and planning policy.
  2. Ecosystem Services – exploring opportunities to use Natural Flood Management approaches to reduce flood risk.
  3. Sustainable Food Systems – supporting development of the Gloucestershire Food Strategy and making use of cyber-technology to increase opportunities for local suppliers through innovative procurement and supply chain practices.

Latest news and project progress information is available on

The UK Government has recently launched the Industrial Strategy which acknowledges the importance and value of the UK’s collaboration with partners in the Horizon 2020 programme

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