RIO Observatory

RIO, the International Observatory of Rural Research aims at analyzing, researching and launching cutting-edge projects in the rural environment. It is a laboratory of ideas and projects that acts as a co-creation space of social innovation for the academic community. It is focused on developing an ecosystem for social, environmental and economic innovation in the rural areas of Ourense, that will allow the replication of initiatives, ideas and projects in similar areas of Europe and Latin America. This Observatory has been promoted by the Deputación de Ourense and the Universidade de Vigo. RIO is a vehicle for the transmission of good practices through the union of university experts and international and local agents in order to detect, stimulate and promote success stories in the rural sector of Ourense and make them visible in the field of sustainability. RIO works within the scope provided by the Plan Ourense de la Deputación de Ourense, the UN Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD).

Ourense and RIO  are agriculture and environment, bioeconomy, rural schools and learning innovation, active and green tourism, territory and heritage, social inclusion and talent, demography and active ageing, law and sustainable development.

RIO and Ourense are sustainability, innovation, talent, leadership, strategy, competence, future and people.

It entails a co-creation process of a new rural innovation ecosystem based on management of collective intelligence between the Universidade de Vigo and those entities and individuals working in and for rural areas. Our intention is to establish strategic lines in order to create sustainable value for the whole European and Latin American territories.

“Enhancement of the rural innovation ecosystem, with strategic public-private partnerships with the University, by exploring the diversity of the rural sector of Ourense within the framework of sustainable development”


RIO, the International Observatory of Rural Research, has been created with the intention of detecting and promoting good practices in rural areas of Ourense in order to document them and make them known throughout the world. Citizen’s science opens up new possibilities for cooperation between local agents and the university community in a way that teams of students, scholars, entrepreneurs and innovators work collaboratively with companies and rural communities.

“Detecting and promoting good practices and success stories in the rural sector of Ourense for scientific and social transfer.”

“Becoming the hub to generate new knowledge from the interaction between people, places, values and resources.”

“Analyzing and promoting innovation projects in rural areas of Ourense through the creation of a laboratory of ideas, the Ourense Rural Summit and other projects.”

“Turning the province of Ourense into a Living Lab or into an international incubator for rural projects in order to become a leading territory facing the demographic and sustainability challenges through innovation.”

“Being a revitalizer for the province of Ourense and for the European and Latin American rurality.”

SDG and rural areas

In 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These Sustainable Development Goals cover 17 areas and 169 targets in order to achieve sustainable development by involving the participation of all agents: governments, private sector, civil society and citizens, without leaving anybody behind.

The only way to reach a sustainable future is to rethink the management and development model that we currently have. Rural areas are already playing a strategic role for sustainability. The rural sector of Ourense has been offering innovation and leadership for decades showing that it is a perfect model to learn about sustainable development, even despite the current challenges such as depopulation, dispersion and extreme climatic conditions.


Deputación de Ourense

The Deputación de Ourense is a local entity whose objectives include the promotion of economic and social development and the territorial planning of the province. In this sense, the entity is fully aware that reality doesn’t remain unchanged. The labour market, the business framework, the emerging needs of the population, the generation of new local competences arising from legislative processes, etc. Everything is changing. Therefore, the organizing activity of public institutions must correspond with this reality, responding to the challenges posed by the demographic and social context of Galician society.

In the Plan Ourense, the Deputación Provincial de Ourense has strategically defined the future of the province of Ourense through innovation, intelligence, impetus and non-conformity. The creation of RIO, the International Observatory of Rural Research, is tied to the Programa Ourense 2015-2020, a provincial strategy in the medium/long term to generate elements of value making the province a national and international benchmark.

Universidade de Vigo

The Universidade de Vigo is an institution under public law, with legal personality and assets of its own, whose purpose comprises the provision of a public Higher Education service within the scope of its competences. As a public organization, it is at the service of society and its main purpose is to meet the highest quality standards in the field of education and research. As one of its fundamental objectives, the Universidade de Vigo promotes the training of research staff, the promotion and transfer of knowledge to society, as well as the coordination of scientific, technical, humanistic and artistic research.

Research is one of the essential functions of the University; it is the basis of teaching and the means by which society progresses. Together with research and teaching, the university must also have the necessary resources to meet its commitment to intellectual reflection and to the creation and dissemination of culture, the Galician culture in particular. It helps to promote the understanding between humanistic and scientific cultures and it works to transfer knowledge to society through the dissemination of science. In order to adequately perform these functions, the Universidade de Vigo has to establish and maintain the general services needed to meet all the requirements.

The Universidade de Vigo wants to upgrade institutional capacities by creating synergies in the province of Ourense. Both the university and the rural sector of Ourense are diversity spaces that will join efforts to transfer their knowledge and culture and to expand them internationally. The Universidade de Vigo and the Campus of Ourense have talented scholars in the field of rurality and the rural sector of Ourense is an excellent laboratory for innovation.