Marina Novikova was a usual presence in Moura in Spring, where she developed research work for the RurAction project under the guidance of ADCMoura, one of the participating social enterprises.
“ I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in studies in European societies from the State University of St. Petersburg. While doing the master’s degree, I had the opportunity to participate in a reflection group, „European politics“, which was a cooperation project between the University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen (Netherlands), and UESP, dedicated to the credibility of the heritage list UNESCO WORLD. The main purpose of the research project was to understand how different cultural, national and political contexts influence the understanding and perception of the credibility of the UNESCO World Heritage List and the role that these contexts play in the decision-making process. After being part of an international team working both on a research document and on a political document with recommendations for the National Commission of the Netherlands for UNESCO, I had the opportunity to work in a non-government organization, based in Berlin, the Heritage Centre World, which promotes greater knowledge about UNESCO World Heritage. In doing so, the World Heritage Centre also contributes to the sustainable development of world heritage sites. During my work, I had the opportunity to work on the cooperation strategies between the local population, the government and the non-profit organizations dealing with local development and the protection of heritage, as well as the promotion of the rights of NGOs in taking decisions around unesco world heritage sites. It was then that I discovered the importance of endogenous development and the role that innovative solutions play in community development. Later, the understanding of the importance of national and local contexts (whether political, cultural, economic, social) and how they shape decision-making in regional development was one of the main drivers for me to start my Phd, together with the desire to work both in research and in the practical implementation of its results in the field of innovative solutions and regional development.
My research project is entitled „the Socio-Economic Impact of Innovative Solutions on Regional Development“.
This project focuses on the impact of social innovation on regional development. The area of social innovation has raised academic and political interest during the last two decades. However, so far there is no universal definition of the phenomenon, which means that social innovation studies do not provide a clear perspective on how to measure the impact of social innovation. As a result, studies dedicated to the impact of social innovation in general, and specifically its impact on regional development, are still represented on a small scale. Answering the research question on how social innovation influences regional development, I will try to give an overview of the theoretical framework on which the concept of social innovation is based and explore the role that social innovation plays in regional development. In addition, having an understanding of the social impact is a crucial point for the project, since depending on how the impact is understood (as a value created as a result of someone’s activity; as a value experienced by the beneficiaries and all the others affected or as a type of influence that includes positive and negative effects), thus changes the impact that social innovation can have on regional development. Next, I will try to answer the question: how to measure the impact of social innovation in terms of regional based on an appropriate set of indicators that will be developed throughout the study. The impact of social innovation will be presented in two of the RurAction regions under study: Mühlviertel (Austria) and Lower Alentejo (Portugal). Interviews with experts in these two regions will be held during the research phase with social business actors, economic and political experts at regional level and experts from social solidarity associations. After the exploration phase, the quality methodology will be accompanied by an online survey covering experts from the five regions mentioned in order to evaluate whether and how social innovation influences regional development.
As part of the RurAction project, I am a researcher at the Centre for Socio-Economic and Territorial Studies (Dinâmia CET-IUL) and PhD student at the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL).
Thanks to ADC Moura for the interview and the picture!