The International Comparative Rural Policy Studies (ICRPS) program brings together an international, multi-disciplinary group of faculty, students, and professionals to study together the many facets of rural policy, from policy formulation to policy impacts.

The ICRPS Consortium, comprising core faculty from 9 universities in Canada, Europe, and the USA, has developed an advanced program to enhance policy formulation and analysis in the rural context. The ICRPS program is the first of its kind that enables students to examine and compare the role of rural policy in different cultural, political, and administrative contexts in Europe and North America, as well as in the South.

Designed for graduate students and mid-career professionals, the ICRPS program introduces the skills to analyze and compare policies at the international, national, state, regional, and local levels. It also provides the opportunity to study the nature and implications of new forms of governance in rural contexts. The key elements of the ICRPS program are: two-week, international summer institutes; comparative rural policy research projects; and online distance learning courses.

History of ICRPS Consortium

The ICRPS Consortium partnership arose from previous and on-going mutual collaboration between the Universities of Missouri (United States), the University of Guelph (Canada), the University of Aberdeen (Scotland), and the Economics and Business Studies Program of Budapest (Hungary). In 2002, representatives of these Universities met in Columbia, Missouri, to discuss the need for post-graduate education in comparative rural policy. The meeting, hosted by the Rural Policy Research Institute, led to creation of the consortium, and plans for the ICRPS project.

The University of Aberdeen and the University of Guelph, as partners in the ICRPS collaboration, successfully applied to the EU-Canada Program for Collaboration between Institutions of Higher Education and Training in 2003, adding partners in Europe (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and University of Leuven) and Canada (Université du Québec à Rimouski and Brandon University). The University of Highlands and Islands and Oregon State University subsequently joined the ICRPS Consortium, bringing the total to 10 partners.

The rich multi-cultural learning experience of over 70 graduate students, the engagement of 17 faculty members from 13 universities and involvement of over 20 governmental and non-governmental agencies testifies to the success of this much needed education and research program. ICRPS has contributed directly to the ‘internationalisation’ of programs at all participating universities and has enriched professional development opportunities for rural agencies.

ICRPS Consortium Members

ICRPS is a dynamic consortium of 13 institutions and numerous Fellows from across Canada, Europe, and the United States. Institutional members have contributed to the development, design and implementation of ICRPS Consortium and ICRPS Summer Institutions. Institutions of the ICRPS Consortium include:

Brandon University
Department of Rural Development, Doug Ramsey;
Rural Development Institute, William Ashton

Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute
in partnership with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences
John Bryden, Karen Refsgaard

Oregon State University
Department of Political Science, Brent Steel

Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona
Lourdes Viladomiu, Yancy Vaillant

Université du Québec à Rimouski 
Département Développement Régional, Social, et Terrtorial, Bruno Jean

University of Guelph
School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, John Devlin

University of Highlands and Islands
Centre for Rural and Remote Studies, Philomena de Lima

University of Missouri
Truman School of Public Affairs and Department of Agricultural Economics, Tom Johnson and Judy Stallmann

Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México
Lidia Carvajal, Economics Faculty

University College Dublin
James Breen, School of Agriculture and Food Science

University of Alaska Fairbanks
Philip Loring, Institute of Northern Engineering

Tuskegee University
Williams Schnabel, Water & Environmental Research Center
Ntam Baharany, Cooperative Extension
Thierno Thiam, History and Political Science
Robert Zabawa, Agricultural Sciences

University of Bologna
Department of Science and Food Technologies, Matteo Vittuari and Fabio De Menna
Department of Management, Francesca Regoli

ICRPS Contributing Partners

ICRPS Consortium Members and Fellows are regularly joined by distinguished researchers and policy makers from around the world. Recent ICRPS Contributing Partners have included: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Rural Policy Research Institute, Statistics Canada.

ICRPS Previous Contributors

Pennsylvania State University
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Stephen Smith

University of Aberdeen
Institute for Transport and Rural Research, John Farrington

Corvinus University of Budapest  
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Tibor Ferenczi

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Institute for International and European Policy, Frank Delmartino