The aim of the SPARD project is to develop a modeling tool that will help policy-makers to understand the causal relationships between rural development measures and their results in a spatial dimension. Based on spatial-econometric analysis it will include ex-post evaluation options and the extension to ex-ante assessment with the purpose of giving support to the planning of targeted RD policies, programmes and measures. The project will compile a well-structured database, to organize both indicators from the Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (CMEF), distinguishing input, output, result, impact and baseline indicators, and other data specifically used by the RD management authorities in the Member States (MS), and extrapolate missing indicator values. This requires a procedure to standardize the utilization of results amongst users at different levels.
The emphasis of the project will be the development of an analytical framework that considers characteristics and needs of target areas and target groups. The key task of the project is to develop a quantitative model, using spatial econometric modeling. This will allow the identification of causal relationships of RD policy implementation. In this manner the cost-effectiveness of RDPs can be analyzed in their spatial dimension. Evaluations/ assessments of selected policies and measures and their impacts will be made at the EU-27 scale. Furthermore it shall be demonstrated that the methodology is feasible at different scales of application and levels of data aggregation. Validation of the modeling framework will be carried out in 5 case study regions. The end product of SPARD will be a multiple-option and variable-scale DSS tool capable for use in horizontal and vertical evaluations. As a collaborative project, SPARD will make efforts to broaden the proved expertise of the consortium by integration of stakeholders, external experts and end-users in the overall process.