Experience from comparative work on rural development issues across Europe has shown that the history and nature of rural development policies and actions differs greatly between European countries (and regions). The diversity of development paths has to be addressed through comparative research work. In this respect, starting from interesting exchange activities of rural researchers(which have evolved over recent years, like REAPER, LEADER Observatory, COST activity "Rural Innovation" and specific thematic conferences) might serve as basis to fill into the recently developed concept of the European Research Area. In particular, the REAPER network ("Social and Economic Research on Rural Development in Western Europe") in which Austria participated through the Bundesanstalt für Bergbauernfragen and ÖAR has served as an impressive exchange between researchers and practitioners. Such an activity contributes to the common understanding of the diversity of rural development problems and policy approaches.
Dax, Thomas (2002): Rural development - a challenge for European inter-disciplinary research/Ländliche Entwicklung - ein interdisziplinäres Forschungsfeld im Europäischen Forschungsraum, in: Ländlicher Raum, Online-Fachzeitschrift des BMLFUW, Ausgabe 1/2002 in Deutsch und Englisch. Wien. (http://www.laendlicher-raum.at)