Rural areas have a future: ZIRP presents publication “Strong Economy – Strong Regions. Good Prospects for Rural Areas.”

Presseinformation / 5.11.2015

The publication “Strong Economy – Strong Regions. Good Prospects for Rural Areas.” by the Rhineland-Palatinate Initiative for the Future (Zukunftsinitiative Rheinland-Pfalz (ZIRP) e.V.) offers more than 60 contributions by stakeholders from business, government, science, culture, and the church, which provide a look – the first such comprehensive one – at rural areas in Rhineland-Palatinate and their economic development opportunities. This morning it was presented to the public in Mainz.

At the presentation event, Minister President Malu Dreyer emphasized the importance of digitalization for rural areas: “We are in the middle of a profound technological change, which offers many opportunities for keeping rural areas attractive and livable. Rural areas have a future. New technologies offer completely new solutions and methods that we never imagined to be possible before. Well-established companies can be preserved, new ones can be founded. Services to the public can be conceived and implemented in new ways.”

Networking among stakeholders in the various areas is of fundamental importance when it comes to fully exploiting the economic potential of rural areas. “There can only be a shared path to strengthening rural areas and pursuing a joint strategy. This is true for regions and companies, but also for companies among each other.”

The research program “Smart Rural Areas” of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern demonstrates the perspectives and solutions that digitalization can create for rural areas. Here, scientists and companies are jointly working on innovative concepts for making life in the countryside attractive in the future. In this regard, the interconnection between smart software and systems is the crucial foundation for innovative solutions. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Liggesmeyer, executive director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE and author of numerous contributions to the publication of ZIRP: “In rural areas, there exist numerous challenges that do not exist in the same way in urban areas. This is why special solutions must be found for rural areas. A correctly designed, well-conceived digital solution can provide support in many areas, such as mobility, medical care, or retail. Rhineland-Palatinate is playing a leading role in this respect.”

The ZIRP publication uses various examples to show that rural areas and companies depend on each other. Rural areas need a strong economy since there is no denying that the basis for an economically secure life are apprenticeships and jobs – and these require companies. Companies, on the other hand, can only recruit and keep a qualified workforce in rural areas if their location is attractive enough.

According to Minister President Dreyer, the publication with its many good examples is primarily intended “to be an instrument for the stakeholders in rural areas to help them develop strategies for a strong economy.” The state government contributes to the creation of suitable general conditions: in the infrastructure (traffic and grid supply), through educational institutions in rural areas, by means of programs for strengthening employer attractiveness, and by preserving the structure.

Printed copies of this free publication can be ordered effective immediately from the office of ZIRP.

The publication can be ordered at (currently only available in German).

The Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE
Fraunhofer IESE in Kaiserslautern is one of the worldwide leading research institutes in the area of software and systems engineering methods. A major portion of the products offered by its customers is defined by software. These products range from automotive and transportation systems via automation and plant engineering, energy management, information systems and health care to software systems for the public sector. The institute’s software and systems engineering approaches are scalable, which makes Fraunhofer IESE a competent technology partner for organizations of any size from small companies to major corporations.

Under the leadership of Prof. Peter Liggesmeyer and Prof. Dieter Rombach, the contributions of Fraunhofer IESE have been a major boost to the emerging IT hub Kaiserslautern for close to twenty years. In the Fraunhofer Information and Communication Technology Group, the institute is cooperating with other Fraunhofer institutes to develop trend-setting key technologies for the future.

Fraunhofer IESE is one of 66 institutes and research units of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Together they have a major impact on shaping applied research in Europe and contribute to Germany’s competitiveness in international markets.