Despite their diverse economic, political and social functions, strengths and potentials for many stakeholders and inhabitants, rural areas are facing a number of problems. Specific areas of tension have developed particular challenges (e.g. demographic and structural changes) as a result of the advancing Europeanisation and globalization, and the associated "competition between regions" is likely to intensify. For that reason, rural areas in Central and Eastern Europe deserve increased scientific and social attention.
The ECOnet project establishes an international, inter- and transdisciplinary as well as inter-universitary research and teaching cooperation for economic and political development in rural areas. The goal is to generate excellent scientific knowledge and to provide practice-relevant, application-oriented expertise. In addition to these goals, the ECOnet network partners will apply for research projects and organize events for both the scientific community and the interested public.