Nordregio at GreenLab Summit 2022
Karen Refsgaard, Research Director at Nordregio, will participate at GreenLab Summit 2022 presenting on the topic “Rural Development and Just Green Transition”. GreenLab is a green and circular energy park, a technology enabler, and a national research facility. It is specialized in accelerating research and technology to scale, and its concept transforms the way green energy is produced, converted, stored, and applied. GreenLab tests theories in practice and looks for viable green solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. This year, the program of the summit focuses on how to create green growth, rural development, and a just green transition through industrial symbioses and energy innovation. At Nordregio, we have collaborated with GreenLab on several projects on bio-economy including the BioBaltic project. Nordregio has also had a joint event together with GreenLab and OECD at COP26 in Glasgow. Read more about the GreenLab Summit 2022 here.
UppTalk 29 March: Local communities need local energy production
There is a need to promote locally-owned energy projects in Sweden. The EU emphasizes this as a key to the sustainable energy transition. In this week’s UppTalk, Johanna Liljenfeldt (Uppsala University) and Elin Slätmo (Nordregio) will talk about how to increase successful local ownership of energy by sharing knowledge, and studying opportunities, risks and the values of local energy ownership for local communities across Sweden. The session in UppTalk is based on the project Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems (Lokalt ägandeskap i omställning till hållbara energisystem), funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten). UppTalk Weekly is a popular science seminar series by Uppsala University. It takes place on Zoom where you can take part in interesting conversations. UppTalk 29 March at 12-12.30 (CET), in Swedish. Join here: https://www.upptech.uu.se/kalendarium/evenemang/?eventId=69964 Visit project website: https://nordregioprojects.org/locally-owned-energy/
Nordregio welcomes new researchers!
Nordregio is welcoming two new researchers to our team, hoping to continue producing high-quality and relevant research further. Ana de Jesus, Senior Research Fellow. De Jesus is a social scientist with a multidisciplinary background working at the intersection of global studies and economics, focusing on innovation, circular economy and sustainability. Hilma Salonen is joining Nordregio as a Research Fellow. Salonen is a social scientist who specialises in sustainability transitions, remote locations and energy politics, with a PhD focusing on Russian regional development in the Arctic and how it links with renewable energy prospects. She aims to broaden her scope to include Finnish rural regions and explore making sustainability transitions more just by focusing on habits. Salonen’s hope for working at Nordregio is to work with more practical results and more engagement with the general public.
Nordregio Forum 2021 – some highlights!
On the 23rd and 24th of November, Nordregio Forum gathered people online and offline at the Nordic Culture Point in Helsinki in two sessions that discussed the future of work and the steps needed for a just green transition. Every November, Nordregio Forum manages to gather a line-up of inspiring and knowledgeable speakers who joined online from all corners of the Nordics or live in the studio at the Nordic Culture Point in Helsinki. The hybrid event was split into two intensive days that focused on the future of work, the issue of multilocality and challenges and solutions for a just green transition. The event’s topics also sparked interesting questions from the audience, both online and in the studio, that led to thought-provoking conversations. The first session, on 23 November, focused on the future of work in a world slowly emerging from a pandemic. We listened to inspiring examples from Maria Svensson Wiklander, co-founder of the Remote Lab, Sweden, from Lamia Kamal Chaoui, Director at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, about how remote working is reshaping regional development in the COVID-19 era, from Janne Antikainen & Sari Rannanpää, experts on regional development at MDI Consultancy, about the example of Finland and many more. Watch session 1: The regional impacts of remote work Session 2, on 24 November, focused on just and green regional development and dived deeper into the subject of the Nordics being perceived as global front-runners towards carbon neutrality and the impact observed at local and regional levels in this matter. Among many inspiring talks, we heard from Pekka Timonen, mayor of Lahti, the 2021 EU Green Capital, about the inspiring work they have been doing, from Johan Kuylenstierna, Chair of the Swedish Climate Policy Council, who spoke about the ways to design effective climate policy that yields regional impact and we…
Nordregio Researchers at COP26
Nordregio Research Director Karen Refsgaard and Senior Research Fellow Anna Lundgren are participating in the COP26 – United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021 by moderating a panel discussion on circular and bio-economy and presenting Just Green Transition. On the 4th of November, Karen Refsgaard, Research Director and Deputy Director, will moderate a panel discussion called “Fostering circular and bio-economy – unleashing the potential with new business models” in the COP26 adjacent event “Rural Regions-Realising the net-zero opportunity”. The event is organized by OECD and Scottish Enterprise in partnership with the United Kingdom and Scotland. On the 6th of November, Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow, will participate in the Nordic climate action Talkshow. Dr Lundgren will join a panel discussion called “Just Transition – social injustice and stolen futures” and present the “Not “Just” a Green Transition – Examining the path towards a socially just green transition in the Nordic Region” project. “What are the perceptions of the green transition among people in different regions and in different social groups in the Nordic region? In this Nordic Council of Ministers’ project we will have a special focus on vulnerable groups in seeking knowledge to how we can create policies for a just green transition,” says Anna Lundgren. Nordic climate action Talkshow is a joint event between the Nordic Pavilion in Glasgow and the Nordic COP26 Hub in Helsinki.
“Country Road, Take Me Home? – Nordic Sustainable Economy”: New podcast with Nordregio Researchers
Nordregio Researcher Director Karen Refsgaard and Research Fellow Alberto Giacometti talked in a podcast organised by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ office in Estonia. The discussion tried to identify whether the urbanisation trend may be reaching a tipping point as new opportunities for rural areas arise from the increasingly flexible labour markets and the transition towards the green economy. With the rural population in steady decline, politicians and public administrations are grappling with making rural areas more attractive places for people to live and work. But is that even something we need to be doing? The new podcast focuses on the plusses and minuses of living in the countryside and debates whether urbanisation is a problem that needs solving. “Among other issues, one argument discussed was that being rich in biological resources, rural areas can play an important role in driving the green transition. However, the need for close collaboration amongst local actors and effective policy was highlighted as key conditions to enable value creation in rural areas. Otherwise, we will reinforce the existing urban-rural dynamics, where rural areas are mere primary producers whilst added value occurs in processing plants at the urban fringe and retail companies typically based in cities,” says Alberto Giacometti, who specialises in regional development, governance and planning processes. Although many romanticise the idea of living in rural areas, many challenges stop people from taking the initiative. “One of the biggest concerns for young people is whether there will be a job and a steady income,” said a pod guest, Tanel Tang, a young Estonian entrepreneur who recently moved to rural areas and started an organic egg farm. According to Tanel, another challenge to move to rural areas is that “you need to be wealthier than the average person because you need to renovate an old…