The growth strategy Horizon 2020 forms the fundamental priority for the overall EU policy and builds on the ambition to create “a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy”. The goals are to be achieved by promoting research, innovation, and knowledge in order to realize regional economic growth. This is the point of departure for the TASTE project, a collaboration between partner universities in four European countries with the aim to assess the potential of smart growth policies for rural development.
The research conducted in the project points to a number of limitations of smart growth policies, particularly their ability to target the remote and peripheral regions of Europe. The finding that determinants of smart growth seem to work well for regions that are urban and city-close, but offer only limited possibilities in remote rural regions calls for complementary growth strategies (Naldi et al. 2015).