Estonia: research-business partnerships in the bioeconomy
Among the three Baltic countries, Estonia has the strongest marine culture. Given the geographical position, the country’s coastline is five times longer than its landline. Despite marine characteristics, the Estonian bioeconomy is yet driven by primary activities on the land – biomass production from agricultural fields and forests. The valorisation of leftover or side-products from bioresources is yet limited. In the BioBaltic project, Estonian partners draw attention to the untapped potential of marine bio-resources, taking red seaweed, as an example. By exploring innovation ecosystem models, project partners aim to identify ways of valorising marine bio-resources and developing a bioeconomy in Estonia. This storymap welcomes you to dive in the Estonian bioeconomy journey.
Discussion paper on Digitalisation of Food Systems
The newly published Discussion paper on Digitalisation of Food Systems delves into one of the BioBaltic project focus areas, digitalisation in food systems. Part I provides a concept overview and relevance in Nordic and Baltic countries. Part II delves into the Vidzeme Region case-study in Latvia. We welcome comments and suggestions with any new perspectives! Digitalisation is the process of large-scale adoption of digital technologies and is one contemporary trend affecting all economic sectors and society at large. In food systems, digital technologies have been implemented for decades, but the so-called digital transformation and requirements for more sustainable practices in food value chains have added pressure on the need for a speedy and large-scale implementation of existing and new innovations. The discussion paper provides a conceptual framework of digitalisation in food systems, accompanied by a closer examination of the key issues at hand in Vidzeme region, a case study area in Latvia. The paper aims to gain a better understanding of the current state of and development opportunities of digitalisation, and the role of different forms of collaboration in this context. Furthermore, this paper is meant to spark discussion amongst partners, stakeholders, and a general audience about the technological, institutional and governance aspects that need to be addressed to be able to seize the opportunities of improving food systems via the application of digital tools.
Lithuania: creating symbiotic relations in bioeconomy
Richness in biological resources and a well-established bio-based primary production, represents a huge potential for developing the bioeconomy in Lithuania. However, one ingredient is still missing. A lack comprehensive interaction between stakeholders yet is a significant factor halting innovation and resource efficiency in the country. Within the BioBaltic project, Lithuania seeks to strengthen the development of the bioeconomy by facilitating collaboration and exploring the potential for industrial symbiosis. A key goal is to identify existing symbiotic relations between companies in resource utilisation, and ways to improve resource efficiency throughout the supply chains. This story map invites you to follow Lithuania’s bioeconomy development journey. This storymap is a part of the BioBaltic storymap series overviewing the bioeconomy development in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The BioBaltic project provides a platform for generating awareness of different bio-economy models through peer-to-peer learning and building networks across Baltic and Nordic countries. The project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Latvia: towards a knowledge-driven bioeconomy
Vidzeme is the largest region in Latvia occupying almost one-third (30,6%) of its territory. Favourable climate conditions and a high concentration of natural resources make the Vidzeme region a competitive economic player in the agricultural and forestry sectors. In the past years, the region has put a lot of effort into developing knowledge and innovation-based bioeconomy strategies, as well as in creating collaborations among key bioeconomy actors in the region. As part of a Nordic-Baltic collaborative BioBaltic project on bioeconomy, the Vidzeme region aspires to develop its bioeconomy sector further. Driven by the food production sector and ambitions to integrate innovative digital solutions, the region is currently testing the bioeconomy development approaches based on a bottom-up perspective, with grassroots-level actions and local value creation that could benefit the entire region. This storymap is a part of the BioBaltic storymap series overviewing the bioeconomy development in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The BioBaltic project provides a platform for generating awareness of different bio-economy models through peer-to-peer learning and building networks across Baltic and Nordic countries. The project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Each issue of the Nordregio Magazine provides perspectives on a specific theme related to regional development and planning in the Nordic countries. With Nordregio Magazine you are kept up to date with the interesting research results produced by Nordregio in a European and global perspective.
- 2022 January
- Nordregio magazine
- Baltic Sea Region
- Nordic Region
- Arctic issues
- Gender equality
- Green transition
- Labour market
- Maritime spatial planning
- Regional innovation
- Rural development
- Sustainable development
- Urban planning
The Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017–2020 – final report
This report summarises the work and results of the Nordic thematic group for innovative and resilient regions (TG2) in 2017–2020. The Nordic thematic group for innovative and resilient regions 2017–2020 (TG2) was established by the Nordic Council of Ministers and is a part of the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning 2017–2020. Three Nordic thematic groups were established for the four-year period: Innovative and resilient regions, Sustainable rural development, and Sustainable cities and urban development. The thematic groups have been organised under the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Committee of Civil Servants for Regional Affairs, and Nordregio has acted as the secretariat for the thematic groups. The thematic group has not only produced high-quality research on innovative and resilient regions in the Nordic countries but also contributed to public policy with the latest knowledge on the creation and development of innovative and resilient regions across the Nordic countries, with focus on smart specialisation, digitalisation, regional resilience, and skills policies. TG2 has also contributed to research on innovative and resilient regions in the Nordic cross-border context.
Simone Grind: Promoting a self-sustaining lifestyle through community support agriculture
Simone works at Under Tallarna, a small-scale farm initiated by a bunch of young enthusiasts passionate about self-sustaining lifestyle and sustainable living. The farm is managed under the community support agriculture (CSA) model, where the clients become members of the farm. This eliminates the need for intermediaries securing a more fair and stable income for the farmers and a reliable product to the clients. Farming farmers is, however, Simone’s biggest ambition. She organises events for anyone to try out what it is to be a farmer and to learn about sustainable living. This storymap is a part of the BeUBio storymap series – about young people whose business ideas, jobs and other activities lead the way towards a different and more sustainable economic path. With a variety of different examples, young people from across the Baltic Sea Region, inspire new ways of making business while having a positive impact to the environment and society. The overall aim is to build a community of like-minded people, by sharing our stories and inspiring each other. This initiative comes from the BeUBio project, a collaboration between different partners across the Baltic Sea Region pushing for youth participation in the transition to a bio-based economy, and create synergies with other actors and initiatives addressing the SDGs.
A guide to collaborative mobility solutions in rural areas
Are you living in a rural area? Do you experience unfavourable mobility and accessibility conditions?Do you want to do something about the situation? If the answer is ‘yes’, then this manual is for you. It provides guidance on how grassroots actors and the public sector can work together to tackle mobility challenges in their rural areas. Working together in this way allows you to: gain a deeper understanding of residents’ needs; maximise and leverage the resources available to grassroots and public sector actors; and develop more creative, efficient and cost-effective mobility solutions that are well-used and sustainable in the long-term. Whether you are trying to initiate, coordinate or implement a collaborative mobility solution, this guide will help show you ways to do it. With decreasing and ageing populations in many rural parts of the Baltic Sea Region, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain public transport and other services that depend on mobility, such as care at home and home deliveries. This reduced accessibility of services impacts the quality of life of people living outside urban centres. The prospects for such regions seem grim at first sight. Adverse, self-reinforcing and interdependent processes (e.g. ageing populations, outward migration, unfavourable economic conditions, strained municipal budgets) are pulling many remote regions all over Europe into a self-perpetuating “circle of decline” that has a negative impact on the quality of life in rural areas. Looking more closely, however, there is ample hidden potential just waiting to be developed (in the form of existing social networks, resources and infrastructure), all within reach of local community actors and the public sector. The MAMBA project aims to meet this challenge by promoting sustainable “people-to-service” and “service-to-people” mobility solutions in rural areas. In practice, the MAMBA partners have worked together to improve the integration of existing mobility structures…
Mobility for all in rural areas – Inspiring solutions from MAMBA
This document presents the innovative mobility solutions developed and implemented within the MAMBA project. Each of them is different because they all take advantage of the opportunities and possibilities of the unique local context in the region. As a result, each measure has its own (hi)story, which is featured in this document. These experiences are presented in different styles, mirroring the different people who worked on the ground to promote better rural mobility and accessibility. In that sense, this document intentionally takes the reader on a journey to visit the various MAMBA solutions, where local guides share their experience, talk about the variety of challenges faced, introduce other members of their alliance and present the solutions they discovered. MAMBA stands for “Maximising Mobility and Accessibility of Services in Regions Affected by Demographic Change.” It is a European Interreg project that aims to improve the quality of life in rural areas in the Baltic Sea region through innovative mobility and accessibility solutions. At first glance, the prospects for such regions seem grim. Specific processes (e.g. ageing populations, out-migration, economic problems, strained public budgets, etc.) are pulling many remote regions all over Europe into a “circle of decline”; a self-perpetuating cycle (or circle) that has a negative impact on the quality of life in rural areas. Looking more closely, however, there is ample hidden potential just waiting to be developed in moving towards solutions. This includes strong social networks, creativity, commitment, resources, a collective sense of charity, and the various infrastructures possessed by local community members and/or the public sector. MAMBA showcases how small interventions can make a real, effective change and counteract this (vicious) circle.
BONUS BASMATI HANDBOOK: Process, Methods and Tools for Stakeholder Involvement in Maritime Spatial Planning
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), as with any other type of planning, is not just about the plans and their content, but the process of making those plans. Incorporating expert knowledge and the perspectives of different sea users and interest groups through stakeholder involvement (SI) processes is a central element in the design and implementation of marine spatial plans (MSPs). This handbook explores some of the key issues relating to SI in MSP, including: How to think about involving stakeholders? How to understand their needs? Who to involve? When is the appropriate time to involve them? What methods and tools are needed? What are the drawbacks? And how can a process leader carry out an effective, transparent and fair process? This handbook provides practitioners with some practical answers to these questions by offering a framework for systematically thinking about SI in the MSP process. The ideas and approaches to SI outlined are based on first-hand experiences from planners in the Baltic Sea Region and cover the whole of the MSP policy cycle. Executive summaries The executive summaries outlining the conceptual framework, general principles, methodologies and future directions of the stakeholder engagement in MSP are available in six languages: Danish English Finnish German Latvian Swedish BONUS BASMATI project has received funding from BONUS (Art 185), funded jointly by the EU and Innovation Fund Denmark, Swedish Research Council Formas, Academy of Finland, Latvian Ministry of Education and Science, and Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (Germany).
Policy Brief: Rural perspectives on digital innovation
Digitalisation holds considerable potential for rural areas. It offers the promise of overcoming geographical distance, ensuring equal access to opportunity regardless of where people live. At the same time, rural and sparsely populated areas are thought to lag behind their urban counterparts when it comes to the provision of digital infrastructure and the development of digital knowledge and skills. These urban-rural disparities are often referred to as the digital divide and can prevent rural communities from unlocking the opportunities associated with digitalisation. This Policy Brief explores strategies to overcome the digital divide, with a focus on increasing the competitiveness of small rural enterprises through digital innovation. It is based on a larger project which included desk-based research, a series of workshops held in rural locations around the Nordic-Baltic Region and a webinar series. You can learn about project results in digital divide, tourism, manufacturing and bioeconomy through these stories: https://nordregioprojects.org/innovation-results/
Rural perspectives on digital innovation: Experiences from small enterprises in the Nordic countries and Latvia
The Nordic countries are at the forefront of digitalisation in Europe. The Baltic States show a more mixed performance, but still score around or above average on the European commission’s annual measure of digital progress, the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). Despite this positive development overall, disparities remain with respect to digital development within countries; with rural and sparsely populated areas often lagging behind on the availability of digital infrastructure and the adoption of digital technologies. As such, this project sought to provide a rural perspective on the second goal: Strengthening the competitiveness of our enterprises through digitalisation. Specifically, it aimed to demonstrate how smart, sustainable and inclusive approaches to digitalisation can be used as a tool to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of rural areas by exploring the challenges and opportunities for small enterprises in rural and sparsely populated areas. The baseline study explored the nature of digital transformation in rural areas and reflected on opportunities and challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas in each of the Nordic countries and in Latvia. The study was developed through desk-based research conducted by Nordregio and a report prepared by Vidzeme Planning Region which detailed the Latvian context. It provided an overall context for the digitalisation of SMEs in rural areas including sector-specific information on the bioeconomy, manufacturing and tourism sectors. The project was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers for Digitalisation (MR-Digital), the Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017- 2020 and the North Atlantic Cooperation (NORA) and included a baseline study, local workshops and a webinar series. Its primary focus was the Nordic countries and Latvia; however, data is also provided for Estonia and Lithuania where possible. You can learn about project results in digital divide, tourism, manufacturing and bioeconomy through these…
The territorial future of the Baltic Sea Region – Insights for policy makers
This short report is aimed at informing policy makers, planners, regional stakeholders and researchers on how the project’s outcomes can be used in practice. The Baltic Sea Region covers a vast geographical area with the Baltic Sea being its focal point. Traditionally the sea has been connecting the region, being the main means of transportation and trade. The region has a long cooperation tradition, bringing together regional players to address common challenges. Shaping the future has been a long time concern for the Baltic Sea Region. VASAB, Visions and Strategies around the Baltic Sea States, intergovernmental cooperation of ten Baltic Sea states, supports territorial development and also has, already from 2009 developed a Long-Term Perspective for the region identifying regional assets, development trends and challenges that may affect the development of the Baltic Sea Region. Scenarios and in particular territorial scenarios can be a useful tool to further inform and support policymakers in preparing for and shaping the future. To better support and update its work, VASAB initiated the ESPON targeted analysis project ‘Territorial Scenarios for the Baltic Sea Region 2050’.
Māra Lieplapa: Generating value in rural areas from wild herbs
Freshly graduated from university, in 2018, Māra Lieplapa founded PLŪKT, a company producing teas from herbs hand-picked from Latvian nature. “There are some 1300 varieties of herbs in Latvia that are good for human consumption, yet, only few of these are actually used”. Making a product with a positive impact on the environment and the local area of Madona, was Māra’s drive to start her own business. This storymap is a part of the BeUBio storymap series young people whose business ideas, jobs and other activities lead the way towards a different and more sustainable economic path. With a variety of different examples, young people from across the Baltic Sea Region, inspire new ways of making business while having a positive impact to the environment and society. The overall aim is to build a community of like-minded people, by sharing our stories and inspiring each other. This initiative comes from the BeUBio project, a collaboration between different partners across the Baltic Sea Region pushing for youth participation in the transition to a bio-based economy, and create synergies with other actors and initiatives addressing the SDGs.
Liisa Aavik: Zero Waste influencer, blogger and coach
With more than 2 years of experience living the ‘zero waste’ lifestyle, Liisa is an influencer, blogger and coach. She offers consultations and workshops, writes articles about sustainable living and is the owner of a blog suletudring.ee. Rather than guilt-tripping, Liisa’s approach is to provide useful tools and tips for how to build individual habits to help people reduce waste in their daily lives. Liisa is also involved in projects surrounding the circular economy and is a journalist for Rohegeenius (Green-Genius in English) online magazine where she writes about sustainability and nature. This storymap is a part of the BeUBio storymap series young people whose business ideas, jobs and other activities lead the way towards a different and more sustainable economic path. With a variety of different examples, young people from across the Baltic Sea Region, inspire new ways of making business while having a positive impact to the environment and society. The overall aim is to build a community of like-minded people, by sharing our stories and inspiring each other. This initiative comes from the BeUBio project, a collaboration between different partners across the Baltic Sea Region pushing for youth participation in the transition to a bio-based economy, and create synergies with other actors and initiatives addressing the SDGs.
Smart Specialisation in the Baltic Sea Region
-Good practices from the Bio-, Circular- and Digital Innovation project BSR Stars S3 This policy brief summarizes the key activities and learnings of the BSR Stars S3 – Smart Specialisation through Cross-sectoral Bio-, Circular- and Digital Ecosystems project 2016-2019. The project focused on how to engage business and research actors in the implementation of smart specialisation. This information is essential for public and private sector actors looking for new ways to improve regional innovation capacity and form inter-regional value chains within shared focus areas in the Baltic Sea Region. The BSR Stars S3 project was a three-year flagship project under the innovation policy area (PA Inno) within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The project was funded by the EU Interreg BSR Programme and had a total of 12 partners from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Lithuania. The Baltic Institute of Finland in Tampere was the Lead Partner of the project.
Social service innovation in rural areas – a user involvement guide
This policy brief gives an introduction to a user guide that has been developed to empower disadvantaged groups in rural areas. High-quality service provision in rural areas is becoming increasingly difficult due to social and demographic challenges, exacerbated by welfare cuts. Members of disadvantaged groups, such as the long-term unemployed, migrants and people with disabilities, may be particularly affected by shrinking social services as they often lack the resources to influence or compensate for this loss. How can user involvement in service design and delivery contribute to addressing these challenges? What is needed to make service-user involvement work? The policy brief is based on the learnings from the SEMPRE project financed by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme.
Industrial Symbiosis in the Baltic Sea Region: Current Practices and Guidelines for New Initiatives
This policy brief examines three good practice examples of Industrial Symbiosis (IS) from the Baltic Sea Region and outlines practical guidelines for public authorities and business development organisations on how to develop and implement IS ecosystems. Industrial symbiosis (IS) is vitally important in facilitating the move towards a circular economy by helping industries and businesses to cooperate in the exchange of natural resources and production infrastructures. Strong public and private sector leadership and firm links between industry and research institutes are essential for the formulation of effective IS initiatives. This research is based on the activities and experiences of a project, BSR Stars S3, which was financed by the EU Interreg Baltic Sea Region and focused on BSR cooperation within the bio- and circular economy.
Making the most of brownfield sites in the Baltic Sea Region
Brownfield regeneration involves the redevelopment of underutilised areas of a city. This contributes to limiting urban sprawl and promotes investment to restore land that has been contaminated by industrial activity. As such, it is an important path towards more integrated, resilient and sustainable urban development. The European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates that there are three million urban brownfield sites with potential for future regeneration in Europe. In the Baltic Urban Lab project, partners around the Central Baltic Region have identified planning challenges in brownfield regeneration and developed solutions to tackle them through early and broad stakeholder involvement. This policy brief was produced within the Baltic Urban Lab project, an Interreg Central Baltic project that ended in September 2018.
Developing brownfields via public-private-people partnerships
Lessons learned from Baltic Urban Lab. Regeneration of brownfield sites into attractive urban areas is often considered both an opportunity and a challenge by cities: providing chances for resource-effective use of hard-made surface, while being challenging in terms of costs, technical issues, fragmented landownership and contamination issues. The Baltic Urban Lab project has developed and tested new ways of planning brownfield areas in the Central Baltic region, focusing on the potential of integrated planning and improved partnerships between public and private actors and citizens, also known as Public-Private-People partnerships or 4P. Between the project kick-off in January 2016 and September 2018, the four partner cities – Norrköping, Tallinn, Riga and Turku – have identified, developed and tested new planning methods based on 4P approaches. This paper summarizes learnings with focus on stakeholder involvement organized by the partner cities. This corresponds to Baltic Urban Lab’s objective of improving urban planning in the Baltic Sea region by increasing the capacity of local authorities and planners.