Innovation debate on people living in rural areas

16 March 2010

Staged on the Hebridean Isle of Lewis an event will see two school teams lock horns on the question 'Are people living in rural areas innovative?' in the Strathclyde University Innovation Debate. The event is part of the Economics and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Festival of Social Science (12-22 March). Aimed primarily at young adults although open to all , the debate is linked to the Strathclyde Business School's ESRC-funded research project 'Innovation in Peripheral Areas', which is exploring the kinds of innovation seen in remote areas both locally and internationally, as well as the economic, social and policy conditions that support or hinder it.

Dr MacBryde says: "The Innovation Debate project has been designed to pull questions of local innovation into the school curriculum - for example in the areas of science, geography and business. This will help young adults with difficult decisions around whether they need to move from the area to realise their interests and aspirations, or whether they are better off staying. We’re also keen to show all of our partners in this project how the Business School can help them with innovation."

The debate is also part of the first ever Hebridean SciTech Festival. This event is organised by the University of Strathclyde Business School and will involve the Institute's staff and pupils, local businesses and the Highland and Islands Enterprise (the Scottish Government’s economic and community development agency).

For further information contact

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Notes for editors

  1.  Are people living in rural areas innovative?
    • Organiser: Strathclyde Business School
    • Date: 19 March
    • Venue:  Isle of Lewis
    • Audience: Schools and college Students
  2. 'Innovation in Peripheral Areas', funded by ESRC , is led by Dr Sara Davies and Dr Jillian MacBryde of the University of Strathclyde Business School.  Findings will be discussed at a University of Strathclyde workshop on Wednesday May 19 May, to which all are welcome. For more information on either the project or the workshop, contact Sara Davies (email:, telephone: 0141 548 3932, or visit the project website.
  3. The Hebridean SciTech festival, to be staged at the Bridge Centre, Stornoway, between Thursday 18 and Saturday 20 March 2010 was conceived by local organisation ESTEEM (Engineering, Science, Technology, Employability, Enterprise and Mathematics) with the aim of stimulating the interest of young people and their parents in science and technology and encouraging pupils to study these subjects at school.  A fun and varied programme includes a visit from the Institute of Physics 'Lab in a Lorry' and a talk by meteorologist Dr Alison McClure on her experiences in the Antarctic.
  4. The Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council. It runs from 12 to 21 March 2010, alongside National Science and Engineering Week. It features events from some of the country's leading social scientists the festival and celebrates the very best of British Social Science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future. The Festival provides insight into research in a variety of formats; from traditional lectures and exhibitions to theatrical performances, film screenings and topical debates. The Festival is aimed at a range of different audiences, including policymakers, business, the media, the general public and students of all ages. You can follow updates from the ESRC on Twitter.
  5. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2009/10 is £204 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.