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What is the NRE?

The New Rural Economy project was an 11-year initiative of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation under the title Understanding the New Rural Economy: Options and Choices (NRE). It began in 1997 with support from CRRF, university researchers, the Federal Government, and 32 systematically chosen rural and remote communities from all parts of Canada. In 1998, The Japanese Institute for Rural Revitalization in the 21st Century became a partner and established working relationships with two communities in Japan.

The NRE was a collaborative undertaking bringing together rural people, researchers, policy-analysts, the business community, and government agencies at all levels to identify and address vital rural issues. It was conducted at the national and regional levels with historical and statistical data analysis, and at the local level with case studies involving community and household surveys.

In 2000, the NRE research team received three-year funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to examine social cohesion in rural Canada. This new stage (NRE2) included an education component integrated with the research. Rural citizens and researchers collaborated to conduct research, interpret the results, and take appropriate action. Policy makers benefited from scientifically collected and analyzed data to inform and direct their decisions. During this stage, both the NRE and CRRF partnered with the newly formed Rural Secretariat of the federal government on several workshops, conferences, and research projects.

The final stage of the NRE project (NRE3) was supported by a major grant from SSHRC under their Initiative on the New Economy program (INE). Entitled Building Rural Capacity in the New Economy, NRE3 provided support from 2002 until the end of the NRE project in 2008.


The NRE project was organized into four major themes—with teams of researchers who specialized in each topic. A Central Team, working out of NRE Headquarters located at Concordia University in Montréal, coordinated the activities of the entire project, as well as conducted research of a broader nature. 

Explore the four major themes relevant to rual society:

Research findings

Over its lifetime, the NRE Project has prepared many documents related to its organization, data collection instruments, and data sets. This methodology section includes many of these documents as well as links to the various data sets produced.

These materials will be useful to researchers, students, community people, and policy analysts. Wherever possible we have made them freely available. A few of the data sets require the potential user to fill out a simple form regarding their position, interest, and objectives for the examination and use of the materials. This is requested to preserve related agreements with third parties (including the field sites with who we collaborated). Documents such as interviewer instructions and research design materials are typically open for examination without the form.

We expect these materials will be used for research and education objectives only. As outlined in the copyright statement, commercial uses are forbidden. 

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