Abschließendes Vernetzungstreffen der Forschungsfördermaßnahme „Ländliche Räume in Zeiten der Digitalisierung“ in Göttingen

Final networking meeting of the research funding program "Rural Areas in Times of Digitization" in Göttingen

© Worbs, L., 2023

From 13.03.2023 to 15.03.2023, the third and final networking meeting of the research funding program "Rural Areas in Times of Digitalization" of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in the framework of the Federal Program Rural Development and Regional Value Creation (BULE+) took place in Göttingen at the Hotel Beckmann. There, Leon Worbs and Lisa Zirbes (JLU Gießen) have presented the main research results of the joint project "Hidden Champions as a central element of stabilization of rural regions in times of digitalization" together with the presence and support of Prof. Ingo Liefner and Prof. Stefan Hennemann (JLU Gießen).

Lisa Zirbes presented her research results on web data-based identification of Hidden Champions and their location in Germany, together with nine quantitatively identified regional types and the results of a hierarchical multi-level analysis to answer the question how the presence of Hidden Champions affects the impact of digitalization on the socio-economic structure of German communities. Leon Worbs presented the qualitative results that had been largely elaborated by his project predecessor Dr. Carsten Rietmann, including a typology of Hidden Champions digitization types identified in the project, the firm-internal and firm-external factors influencing an involvement of Hidden Champions in rural regional innovation systems, as well as the spatial manifestations and motives of entrepreneurial engagement of Hidden Champions in their studied rural home regions in terms of the concept of Corporate Local & Regional Responsibility (CLRR).

In retrospect, the joint project of the two universities has been a great success despite the well-known limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic. The teamwork within the collaborative project in the form of weekly and monthly jour-fixes and several group meetings have worked excellently, and the constant exchange and mutual discussions around the latest research methods and results have had a very positive impact on the overall results, which is why we can strongly recommend that such joint projects continue to be made possible in the future. With presumably four papers published in scientific journals, a successful PhD (Carsten Rietmann), a monograph and soon to be published PhD (Lisa Zirbes), a joint working paper and a final whitebook in which central results and recommendations for action are presented in a consolidated way, the project has been worked on very productively and successfully.