Ministers: “It’s important that people have access to key services wherever they live. “
What’s required for Nordic rural areas to be attractive places to live, settle and work in? The Nordic ministers responsible for regional policy want to know how young people in sparsely populated areas would answer that question. At the Minister’s meeting on the 10th of May, Nordregio’s two research projects were discussed: essential services in rural areas and remote work. The ministers reviewed new innovative solutions that are emerging around the Nordic Region to safeguard essential services in sparsely populated areas. At the meeting, the ministers also brought with them examples from their countries on new ways of safeguarding the public and private services, thereby increasing public confidence that it’s possible to invest, live, and work in sparsely populated areas. “It’s important that people have access to key services wherever they live. Throughout the Nordic Region, we’re seeing interesting examples of grouping services into service points and that new digital services are making everyday life easier for rural residents. It gives people security and is a prerequisite for them to be able to live wherever they want,” says Sigbjørn Gjelsvik, Norway’s Minister of Local Government and Regional Development and host of the Nordic ministerial meeting on 10 May. The distance to the nearest grocery store, pharmacy, library, or school gradually increases the closer you live to the northern borders of Sweden and Finland, and the further west from Copenhagen you live in Denmark. In Norway, the geographical patterns aren’t as clear, but even here there are large differences between the municipalities in sparsely populated areas and large cities. A new knowledge overview Essential rural services in the Nordic Region by Nordregio describes the fundamental need for services in rural areas in the Nordic Region and was the basis for the ministers’ discussion. Swedish service points and Danish education for…
Nordregio’s position regarding the funding of research and research collaboration with Russia and Belarus
The Council of Nordic Ministers decided as of March 4, 2022, to immediately discontinue all collaborative efforts with Russia and Belarus. The Nordic Ministers for Cooperation stand united in this decision. This means that programs, projects, and activities in Russia and Belarus are discontinued until further notice. In light of the stance put forth by the Nordic Ministers for Cooperation, Nordregio issues a moratorium as regards the disbursal of project funds, the acceptance of applications, the execution of projects, and the entry into agreements and the like that involve Russian and Belarusian parties. The intention is to end all contacts and collaborative efforts with governmental and public institutions of Russian or Belarusian origin. “Intellectual and cultural engagement between individuals is an important prerequisite to creating cohesion and mutual understanding between countries. It is devastating that this war in this way will affect cooperation in academia, research and culture – fields that are meant to serve as tools for mitigating conflicts, building global understanding across borders and supporting people-to-people contacts. The Director reserves the right to decide whether specific contacts and collaborative efforts are appropriate on a case-by-case basis if the circumstances change in the future,” says Nordregio Director Rolf Elmér. Nordregio has been involved with four projects with one or several Russian counterparts: FemArc, Semper Arctic, WANO and Accelerating wood construction across Nordics and Russia. All of these projects have been halted.
Innovation in rural mobility – new report delivers best practices
Is there a difference between rural Japan and rural Finland? And how does it reflect upon matters of rural mobility? A new report zooms into the issue of how to achieve cost-effective and sustainable access to transport and mobility for people living in rural areas who don’t own a car. “Innovations for better rural mobility” is the result of a collaboration stemming from an International Transport Forum/OECD Working Group that focused on Innovative Mobility for Periphery. Nordregio Senior Research Advisor Linda Randall worked with experts from Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Norway, Poland, and other countries to define and develop international best practices and recommendations for cases when public transport is not viable. Nordregio has experience when it comes to rural mobility, having been an integral part of the MAMBA project that ended in 2020. The initiative focused on the Baltic Sea Regions and strived to develop sustainable “people-to-service” and “service-to-people” mobility solutions in rural areas.
New Nordic study on regional policy and instruments for economic recovery
Nordregio researchers analysed regional policy and examined policy instruments to deal with economic shocks and crises across the Nordics. The study contributes knowledge and experience about the Nordic countries’ regional policies and efforts to deal with economic recovery in regions or municipalities. How do countries define regional policy? What responsibilities do actors in the multi-level system have at different levels? How do actors at different levels interact to handle economic shocks or crises? These and many other relevant questions are the focus and receive answers in this study. According to Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Anna Lundgren, what is considered as regional policy, rural policy, and regional development policy differs between the Nordic countries. Regional policy is also complemented with sector policies, such as labour market policy, infrastructure and tax policy, which affect regional development on a large scale. The implementation of regional policy takes place in multi-level governance frameworks adapted to the institutional structure in the individual countries. -The systems to deal with economic shocks or crises in the Nordic countries are place-based and include actors and measures from national, regional and local levels. Well-functioning multi-level governance cooperation and trust among actors are key factors in dealing with economic shocks or crises, says A. Lundgren. The study is based on document studies and semi-structured interviews with representatives from the regional political system at the national and regional levels and with experts in the field. Read the publication here (in Swedish).
Junior Research Fellow within sustainable regional development in rural and urban areas
Nordregio is currently seeking to expand its capacity by adding a new Icelandic speaking Junior Research Fellow to the team. In particular, we are looking for candidates with an educational background and/or experience in one or more of the following fields: Sustainable rural development (e.g. policy analysis and issues concerning challenges and opportunities for rural areas) Innovative and resilient regions (e.g. green transition, resilience, skills, welfare, smart specialisation, and digitalisation) Sustainable cities and urban planning (e.g. issues concerning transport, housing, public spaces, and planning systems) Requirements The position as Junior Research Fellow requires a bachelor- or master’s degree (300 ECTS) or equivalent. The degree should be in a social science discipline aligned with at least one of the research fields above (e.g. economics, political science, sociology, geography, planning or similar). A Junior Research Fellow is expected to have up to two years of relevant experience in research or practice after graduation. Highly motivated with the ability to work independently, as well as the skills to work effectively in a cooperative research environment. Strong analytical skills and the ability to take a creative approach to complex problems. Well-developed communication skills including the ability to network and work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders and partner organisations. Ability and willingness to contribute to Nordregio’s goal of being an environmentally conscious, supportive and equal working place. Fluent in English and Icelandic and if not already fluent in a Scandinavian language, the willingness to acquire a working knowledge of Danish, Norwegian or Swedish within a short period of time. The geographic scope of your fields of interest includes in-depth knowledge of at least one Nordic country as well as a pan-European perspective. Main Work Tasks Participate in research projects under the supervision of senior researchers. Work independently with the collection and processing of…
New project: Local ownership in sustainable energy systems
Uppsala University and Nordregio are starting a new project on sustainable local energy systems in Sweden. The new project, called Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems, is a three-year research project funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten). It aims to understand the role local ownership has in facilitating energy transitions and how public participation processes or community-led projects contribute as a success factor. Local and citizen ownership are highlighted by the EU as essential means for the energy transition and, this project answers these issues with qualitative and participatory research design. -To reach political targets, energy systems within the EU and Sweden are currently undergoing rapid and extensive transformations. Local ownership can help facilitate these changes and promote more socially acceptable and just processes and outcomes, says Project Manager Johanna Liljenfeldt from Uppsala University. Case studies and a knowledge exchange network are helping to co-create knowledge on how to foster participation and ownership in energy transitions with the goal to produce consistent policy recommendations. – I look forward to co-creating policy recommendations and guidelines with the local communities. It makes the project relevant on policy and practical level, adds Research Fellow Sandra Oliveira e Costa from Nordregio. The project will have its own website this fall, but at the moment, further information is found at www.nordregio.org. For more information, contact:Johanna LiljenfeldtProject Manager, Uppsala Universityjohanna.liljenfeldt (at) geo.uu.se Sandra Oliveira e CostaResearch Fellow, Nordregiosandra.oliveiracosta (at) nordregio.org