Entwicklungs- und Nachhaltigkeitsforschung (AGEF)

HIGHLANDS.3 - Collective Approach of Research and Innovation for Sustainable Development in Highland

Highland regions, home to vital ecosystems and providing numerous goods and services, often lack evidence-based models and tools for sustainable local development. The EU-funded HIGHLANDS.3 project aims to promote inclusive sustainable development in highlands (ISDH). The project team will carry out collective and impact-driven research and innovation to build a shared vision of ISDH and advance the capacities of researchers, managers, users and policymakers. Knowledge will be exchanged in eight successive research and innovative sessions (R&ISs), each of which will focus on a particular aspect of sustainable highland development. The R&ISs will include collective learning, collaborative research and capacity-building on data collection, analysis and modelling. The data collected on ISDH will be stored in an online interactive platform that will be transferred to existing mountain networks.

Project description

It will drive a co-innovation process through secondments and research and innovative sessions (R&IS) involving public/private and non-academic partners, to build a shared vision of ISDH, enhance the capacities of researchers, managers, users, policymakers, thus bridging the gap between research and development. Our activities will be organized in 5 integrated work packages (WP):

  • Coordination & management (WP1)
  • Methodology & capacity building for ISDH (WP2)
  • Analysis, comparison and modelling of ISDH (WP3)
  • Building a multi-actor ISDH Decision-Support Platform (DSP) (WP4)
  • Communication, Dissemination & Exploitation of results (WP5).

HIGHLANDS.3 is supported by a network of 42 institutions including 30 partners from Europe (~35% non-academic) and 12 from Asia, Africa and South America, and skilled and motivated female and male researchers and local stakeholders. The work plan will run 8 successive R&IS (5 in Europe, 3 outside) to promote the exchange 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.

To complement the R&IS, long-term secondments will be implemented for researchers and practitioners to deeply train and work together on specific issues identified by the consortium. Collected data on ISDHs will be stored in an online collaborative and interactive decision-support platform that will then be transferred to existing mountain networks.

project key data

duration: 01.01.2020 - 21.12.2023

funding: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 872328. European Commission, H2020-MSCA-RISE

total costs: 2,484 Mio €

lead-partner: Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research (IGF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

main coordinators: Fernando Ruiz Peyré and Oliver Bender (IGF/ÖAW)

team University Innsbruck:

project homepage:

project-database: metadata



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