Centre for Rural Research (CRR), Trondheim, Norway

1. Objective

Centre for Rural Research (CRR) ( Norsk senter for bygdeforskning in Norwegian) carries out social research and contributes with new insight to general knowledge for common utilization. This does also provide a scientific basis for providing advice and participating in public debates. The core activity of CRR is connected to multi-disciplinary rural studies. Centre for Rural Research is a national centre for rural research in Norway; with a national responsibility for developing and maintaining a theoretical and methodological research competence in rural sociology and multi-disciplinary rural studies. CRR is also upholding a high international research activity and network, and aims at being a visible connection for international rural sociology.

2. Organisation

Centre for Rural Research is an independent, private research foundation established in 2001. However, the Centre as a research environment has existed since 1982 in different forms of organisation. The Centre is located at the University Centre Dragvoll in Trondheim, and has co-operation agreements with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

CRR is a non-profit organisation, and carries out research for the public benefit, where any operating surplus shall be used to strengthen the objective of the activity. The centre receives its basic appropriations from the Research Council of Norway. Equity as at 31.12.2016 was NOK 11.6 million.

The Board of the Centre consists of members appointed by the Research Council of Norway, NTNU, the Norwegian Farmers’ Union, the Norwegian Farmers’ and Smallholders’ Union and the Agricultural Cooperatives in Norway, as well as employees of the Centre.

The management of the Centre consists of a director, two research managers and an office manager. In addition, the administration consists of a senior consultant and a consultant.

At present, there are 34 employees included researchers in part-time posts. Gender distribution among the employees is 57 per cent females and 43 per cent males. The researchers have backgrounds from a diverse range of fields: Sociology, geography, social anthropology, political science, agronomy, and business economics. Various research programs in the Research Council of Norway are an important source for the Centre in order to finance, establish and accomplish research projects. In addition, the Centre has carried out development and evaluation assignments for among others ministries and other official bodies, organizations and businesses, EU research programs and the OECD.  

3. Research areas

CRR has an extensive research competence within rural studies, local and regional initiatives and business development, social science aspects related to food production and consumption, management of landscape and natural resources, gender research, as well as evaluation. The centre is one of the leading environments within rural sociology and rural studies in Europe.

Centre for Rural Research carries out research in the following three main areas:

  • Local community, rural life, culture: Holding a central position are development features and phenomena connected to processes of restructuration and new adjust­ments in local communities. The research activity also includes living conditions, welfare, administration structure, service offers, mobility and various aspects of the relationship between rural and urban.
  • Resource management, environment, landscape : Processes related to use, protec­tion and management of nature, cultural landscape and cultural heritage in mountain­ous, inland and coastal areas take a central position. The research activity also includes commercialization of natural resources, use and preservation, climate challenges, policy and administration.
  • Business development, agriculture, food value chains: Includes restructuration in traditional agriculture and forestry, and the value chains of food and fibre; economic and social consequences of change and innovation, and conditions to achieve changes. It also includes new industries, forms of organisation, consumption trends, recruitment, climate adaptation, administration and policy development.
  • Local and regional development: Cooperation between urban and rural areas, issues centralization processes, and municipal development.

The strategy for CRR up to 2020 is to further develop the research activity within these four main areas.

4. National and international co-operation and contact

On a national basis CRR co-operates with several institutes at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and with several other universities and colleges. Further, the centre co-operates with several national and regional research institutes on various projects. 

Internationally, CRR co-operates with leading rural sociological environments in Europe, Oceania and North America. The Centre attaches great importance to international co-operation and researcher exchange, and has arranged several international courses, seminars and conferences for researchers. One senior researcher at the Centre, Professor Reidar Almås, was the President of the International Rural Sociology Organisation (IRSA) for the period 2008-2012. The Centre participates in a number of international research projects.

5. Competence, doctorates and teaching

The researchers at CRR have high competence and at present 70 per cent have formal competence at PhD-level. Through co-operation with among others the Institute of Sociology and Political Science, NTNU, the centre has access to specialised competence in sociological theory, gender studies and method.

Since 1982, NTNU has been the only institution in Norway and in Scandinavia to offer education in rural sociology at master’s and doctorate level. As of 2001, NTNU has established a full professorate in rural sociology and regional policy, located at the Centre for Rural Research. In 2013 this professorate is replaced by four part-time positions at three institutes at Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management. Further, CRR provide grants for excellent master’s students in important strategic areas for recruitment purposes.

6. Publishing

Scientific publishing in international and national journals with review procedures has a high priority. Participation with papers on international and national conferences is also highly prioritised. CRR was in period 2010-2016 in top six of all Norwegian research institutes in scientific publishing (per research man-year). In addition to scientific publication it is an objective that research results shall be communicated in a comprehensible manner to employers, other potential users, and to the general public. The Centre also has its own series of publications, including reports and papers. The researchers have published and contributed to several books and anthologies in Norwegian and English.


Centre for Rural Research, 27 July 2017


Harald A. Lein

Director General