The goals for the thematic group are to contribute to the development of policies and new solutions to the challenges that the countries face with regard to sustainable rural development.

The overarching goal of the thematic group’s work over the next four years is to develop and disseminate knowledge about sustainable rural development in the Nordic region. The work programme of the thematic group is designed in such a way that the projects follow on from each other and knowledge is aggregated. Accumulated knowledge is also based on the work of previous Nordic working group on demography and welfare 2013-2016 and Nordic Working Group for Sustainable Regional Development in the Arctic 2013-2016.

The target is that by the end of 2020, a significant contribution to the body of knowledge about sustainable rural development has been developed and disseminated to policy makers at national, regional, and cross-border levels. To achieve these goals, the work program consists of research projects to develop new knowledge or synthesize existing knowledge, summaries of best-practice examples, study tours for regional policy makers in rural Nordic regions to share knowledge with their counterparts in other regions, and workshops where knowledge can be shared among rural policy makers and practitioners.