University of Galway launches European project to enhance women’s role in rural life

President of University of Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh and FLIARA project Lead Associate Professor Maura Farrell. Credit – Aengus McMahon.
Jan 11 2023 Posted: 12:15 GMT

FLIARA - Female Led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas to identify visions for sustainable farm and rural futures

 University of Galway is to lead a new research project running across 10 countries in Europe focusing on enhancing the role of women in agriculture, rural life and affairs. 

The Horizon Europe project, FLIARA, which stands for Female-Led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas proposes a unique and innovative approach to improve understanding, awareness and recognition of women’s role in a more sustainable rural future, as well as developing more effective policy and governance frameworks that can support and enhance the capacity of women who live and work in these areas to contribute to it. 

Launching the FLIARA project, President of University of Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “At University of Galway, we are here for the public good. This project speaks to that mission in such an important aspect of the lived experience of women in our rural communities. We give credit here to our colleagues in their work respecting the role of women in sustaining and maintaining rural life for the generations which have gone before us and how they are key to renewing it today and into the future. In particular, the winning of Horizon Europe funding for this project is testament to the excellence of the work and to its significance not only in Ireland but more generally. Tréaslaím leis an obair agus guím gach rath ar an togra thábhachtach seo.”

The project is being led at University of Galway by Associate Professor Maura Farrell. 

Outlining the vision for the project, Professor Farrell said: “To overcome Europe’s rural challenges and embrace potential opportunities, there is a need for all individuals and communities to participate in rural innovation. 

“Traditionally, rural women’s employment opportunities and contribution to innovation has been overshadowed, and often suppressed, by a patriarchal ethos.”

Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme, FLIARA is a three year project, which aims to combine futures and case study methods, alongside network building and policy benchmarking, while being underpinned by a co-created conceptual and assessment framework. It will actively involve female farmers and female rural entrepreneurs. 

FLIARA will identify visions for sustainable farm and rural futures and the sustainability innovations needed to realise these visions. 

Researchers will also investigate women-led innovations on farms and in wider rural areas looking at their pathways in the innovation ecosystem. Building on the power of social networks, a series of Community of Practice networks will bring together female rural innovators identified throughout the case study process. 

Professor Farrell added: “Community of Practice Networks will occur in conjunction with a Campaign of Visibility for women-led rural innovations, spotlighting women as key innovation actors. Project outcomes will result in end-user ready resources, including policy proposals and practical tools supporting women-led innovation.”

The FLIARA project is led by a research team from the University of Galway’s School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies, including Associate Professor Maura Farrell (Principle Investigator); Louise Weir (Project Manager and Research Associate); Dr Aisling Murtagh (Postdoctoral Researcher); Dr Shane Conway (Postdoctoral Researcher) and additional Geography colleagues, Associate Professor Marie Mahon, Associate Professor John McDonagh and Dr Therese Conway. 

The diverse project partnership, includes universities, SMEs and other practitioners across ten EU countries. 


Marketing and Communications Office


Featured Stories