Third-party funded project

Exploring the Impacts of Collaborative Workspaces in Rural and Peripheral Areas in the EU (CORAL)

Research department: Economy and Civil Society

Project Leader within IRS: Prof. Dr. Suntje Schmidt

Project Team: Chen Gao Federica Ammaturo

Consortium: Panteion University (Coordination) Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde Polytechnic University of Milan Landesverband der Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft Sachsen e.V. OTELO eGen Impact Hub Global Paris School of Business European Creative Hubs Network

Funding Organization: European Union

Duration: 01/2021 - 12/2024


CORAL aims to unpack the latent dynamics and impacts of collaborative workspaces (hereafter CWS, such as coworking spaces, fablabs, creative hubs etc.) in rural and peripheral areas and integrate them as development tools in local and regional policies to open up new potentials for socio-economic development. Whereas we have observed the rapid rise of CWS in urban agglomerations in the past 15 years, there is now a gradual rise of CWS in rural and peripheral areas too. However, there is as yet no clear evidence about their functions, impacts and the ways that policymaking could promote rural CWS and assist in linking the development of CWS with processes of local and regional socio-economic development. In fact, that policy link is much needed for those disadvantaged or peripheral places, as only a few EU policies have assisted, in a fragmented way, the development of CWS in peripheral and rural areas. At the same time, there is an urgent need for qualified professionals in academia, administrations and policy, to effectively promote tools such as CWS in the lagging parts of the EU and by that, open up new development options.

The CORAL project will offer specialised and tailor-made training to 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR: PhD candidates), helping them to better understand and support the development processes of CWSin rural and peripheral areas and their wider impacts at the local and regional level as well as at the level of the individual worker and the enterprise. Moreover, through different means of dissemination and exploitation (knowledge exchange days, CORAL schools, digital platform), the impacts of CORAL aim to reach a wider audience ranging from public policymakers to private stakeholders and CWS communities across the EU.

Interview with Early Stage Researchers Federica Ammaturo and Chen Gao on the CORAL Innovative Training Network’s Introductory Event

In September 2021, the members of the EU-funded Marie Sklodowska Curie Innovative Training Network (2021-2024) “CORAL ” met online for their one-week Introductory Event. For the first time, all 15 newly recruited Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) employed by the network’s nine partner organisations were able to meet and exchange. At the IRS and supervised by Suntje Schmidt, Federica Ammaturo and Chen Gao are currently starting their research on the roles of rural collaborative workspaces in regional development and in entrepreneurial ecosystems respectively. Here, they share their impressions of the event and their experiences of starting work in an EU-network – and in almost-rural Erkner, where the IRS is located. more info