[BBC] The £12.4m is the largest single grant Aberdeen has ever received, and is expected to create dozens of jobs.
Researchers will work alongside partners including the NHS, transport firm FirstGroup, and rural business and community groups.
Prof John Farrington, of the University of Aberdeen's school of geosciences, and who will be director of the Rural Digital Economy Research Hub, said: "Untapped economic potential in rural areas is of crucial significance.
"Digital technology has a key role to play in realising this potential.
"The Rural Digital Economy Research Hub based at the University of Aberdeen will develop advances in technology which have the potential to transform how people in rural communities live and work in the future."
Prof C Duncan Rice, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said it was "an extremely important" grant.
£12m rural digital research boost