National Workshop on Developing a Research Agenda for Connected Rural Communities (CRC17)

The University of Virginia (UVA) convened a national workshop on September 7-8th, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia to examine challenges and opportunities for high-impact technology research to advance quality of life in small, remote, and rural communities. With support from the National Science Foundation (award #1741668), UVA organized a successful meeting of approximately 90 participants representing diverse academic disciplines, industry sectors, government agencies, and community organizations. Participants comprised researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and members of the community. The workshop was organized to include presentations from domain experts as well as engage all participants in detailed discussions to explore practical challenges, share successful approaches, and identify opportunities where new research can make an impact. Over two days, workshop attendees participated in meaningful conversations that exposed new insights and converged on key recommendations for a successful research agenda toward smart and connected rural communities.

In spite of many specific research questions being identified, two overarching questions proved difficult for which to articulate specific answers. These questions are: (i) What current smart city technology can or cannot be easily moved to rural communities, and why, and (ii) what totally new technology is required precisely because of the cultural, social, economic and other properties of rural areas?