Rural areas are becoming “smarter”
Federal Minister Klöckner gives the go-ahead for the model project “Smarte LandRegionen” – Ministry to fund counties with 25 million euros
From December 2019, counties in Germany can apply for the model project “Smarte LandRegionen”. With this project, the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is further promoting digitalization in rural areas. The selected counties will actively design new digital services in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE. For example, live information on the current traffic situation could help to control public transport better and make it flow better, or the counties as school authorities could make learning content available on a digital platform.
The Ministry will provide about 25 million euros worth of funding and specifically addresses rural counties, which, by participating, are to become “Smarte LandRegionen” (smart rural areas).
The Federal Minister for Rural Areas, Julia Klöckner, is calling on counties from all over Germany to take part: “Using digitalization to strengthen the provision of services of general interest in rural areas – that is what we aim to do. We therefore support model areas: counties that show how to solve everyday problems with the help of digital applications. Which, with their innovations, are models and examples for others. After all, it takes customized solutions, not a one-size-for-all solution. We therefore support ideas created by local citizens and spend money to support them. This is a concrete contribution towards creating equal living conditions. For citizens to be really able to decide freely where and how they want to live, basic requirements must be fulfilled everywhere. These include connection to the Internet. An area without Internet reception cannot become digitally smart. We have therefore launched a 60-million-euro program to build local networks where there is no reception today.”
Further information can be found under: www.smarte-landregionen.de.
The model counties (up to seven) will be determined in a contest. The application phase will start in December 2019: Following the call (announcement of the project), a multi-phase application process will start. The selected counties will then actively design the digital services together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE. The Fraunhofer Institute will support them in their work – from the development of ideas to software that is suitable for use in practice. The project takes place in the context of the “Federal Program for Agricultural Development (BULE)” of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and is being coordinated by the Agricultural Development Competence Center of the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE). It was prepared in cooperation with the Council of German Counties, which supports the Ministry as a partner in the implementation of this model project.