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Pandemics and Labour Migration (Delmi)

The aim of the study is to examine two aspects of the impact on previous crises on labour migration. The first is to examine the impacts of changes in the size, direction, and composition of migration flows. This would be a quantitative analysis based on national and international data sources such as from the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO) and others. The second aspect being examined is legal or policy changes regarding labour migration because of these pandemics, and the impact that these policies have had. Such policy changes could be aimed to prevent, continue, or facilitate labour migration in the face of pandemics. These could be instituted by national authorities or regional authorities such as the European Union. The Covid-19 pandemic is only the latest epidemic, pandemic, or economic crisis which has impacted labour migration. The pandemic differs from previous crises in both size and geographic scope. Of pandemics over the past half-century, the number of people who have died from Covid-19 was exceeded only by HIV-AIDS. There is an increasing amount of research into different aspects of the pandemic, though most obviously focuses on the first 12 to 18 months of the pandemic. We know that Covid has had a strong impact on migration and mobility, but we lack systematic knowledge of how that compares to previous pandemics/crises. Is Covid unique in this respect or have previous crises caused similar disruptions? The project will produce a research overview report and a webinar.

Mapping of labour force and skills supply in the border municipalities of Innlandet, Dalarna and Värmland

The green transition, digitalisation and other structural changes in the labour market are creating demand for new competences, while demographic factors like aging population and migration constantly change the basis for supply. This project will analyse skills supply and competence in the labour market of the Innlandet-Dalarna cross-border region, what development can be seen over the past ten years and what the current trends are based on demographic and labour force data. The focus will be on the border municipalities in the Swedish regions Dalarna and Värmland and in the Norwegian county Innlandet, which include Eidskog, Grue, Kongsvinger, Nord-Odal, Sør-Odal, Våler, Åsnes, Trysil and Engerdal on the Norwegian side, as well as Arvika, Eda, Sunne, Torsby, Malung-Sälen and Älvdalen on the Swedish side.

Accelerating wood construction across Nordics and Russia

This project has been halted based on the Nordic Council of Ministers’ decision to discontinue collaboration with Russia and Belarus, announced on the 4th of May. The project aims at supporting sustainable and innovative production and use of wood-based building materials across Northwest Russia and the Nordics. Using wood in construction provides multiple benefits to nature and economies. It is by far the most effective way to cut emissions and capture carbon. It also promotes a transition towards green economies, boosts business exchange opportunities and adds value locally. This project focuses on influencing skills development, facilitating business relations and catalysing processes through the exchange of knowledge, technology and practices across universities, businesses and authorities. Activities will be held in Arkhangelsk, Karelia, Murmansk, St Petersburg and the Nordics from December 2021 until December 2022. The project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

ESPON Covid: Territorial impacts of Covid-19 and policy answers in European regions and cities

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented crisis of social, political and economic systems throughout Europe and the world. Since March 2020, European countries, regions and cities have taken diverse measures to try and contain the spread of the virus. These measures, while aiming at easing pressure on the health care systems, have had far-reaching impacts on many sectors of economic activity across the continent. Policymakers at all levels of governance require territorial evidence to be able to develop policy measures to cope with the immediate effects of the pandemic in the short-term and to manage its long-term impacts.  This applied research activity sets out to contribute to the delivery of such territorial evidence by analysing the geographical patterns of the Covid-19 pandemic from its onset until as far as possible into 2021. The project also examines regional policy responses to Covid-19 and whether the pandemic has created a window of opportunity for regional authorities to take regional strategies and policies in new medium and long term directions in relation to the just transition, green transition and smart transition. The project will answer the following key research questions:  What does the geographical pattern of the Covid-19 pandemic look like across European regions and cities and how has it evolved since the beginning of the pandemic? Are there specific territorial and/or socio-economic characteristics that can entail a higher risk of death/more severe course of disease and/or higher probabilities of negative socio-economic impacts? Which factors explain best the level of exposure of cities, regions and functional urban areas to the Covid-19 pandemic? How can different exposure levels in different types of territories be explained? To which degree have poverty, social inequalities and social exclusion been affected by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures? Can local wealth conditions, poverty or inequalities explain why territories are more or less affected…

Combatting long-term unemployment post-Covid – focusing on immigrants in the Nordic countries

As the Covid-19 pandemic slowly fades in the Nordic countries, many people, especially immigrants, are still unemployed. Most notably, the number of long-term unemployed (12 months or longer) men and women is increasing. Data shows that the probability to find a new job decreases the longer the unemployment period prevails. Unemployed immigrants are often in a more disadvantaged position than natives as they might have limited work experience in the host country and smaller professional networks. Women from outside Europe are also less likely than natives to have a higher education, which further reduces their job opportunities. Special attention and targeted support measures are therefore important to facilitate the labour market (re-)integration of immigrants on the Nordic labour markets. Project aims, goals and deliverables Overall, the project aims to build a more systematic knowledge base about immigrants’ experience of long-term unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Which groups are more affected than others, and which policies and measures are planned or implemented in the Nordic countries to speed up their labour market re-integration? The project will also facilitate Nordic knowledge exchange and knowledge building between key actors thereby ensuring Nordic added value. First, we will gather data on the number of long-term unemployed immigrants in the Nordic countries, and – if possible – consider gender, age, level of education, region of origin, and sector of previous employment. Second, in close cooperation with “Clearingcentralen” (www.integrationnorden.org) and their Nordic expert group on labour market integration of immigrants, the project will identify and discuss ongoing efforts in the Nordic countries and regions: highlight good examples, evaluated success factors, lessons learned, as well as planned measures for the near future. The project will be concluded in a concise and reader-friendly report showing the results of the quantitative analysis, and a description of…

Active and Healthy Ageing in the Nordic Region

In 2021-22, Nordregio will carry out two projects focusing on active and healthy ageing, on commission by Nordic Welfare Centre. These two projects (Project 1. Active and Healthy Ageing in the Nordic Region from a diverse and intersectional perspective; Project 2. Development of indicators to follow up on Active and Healthy Ageing and welfare technology for seniors in the Nordic region) will be conducted in parallel and in close cooperation with Nordic Welfare Centre and build on previous projects on the topic. The main output of both projects will be a research report. The projects aim to generate new insights on how to promote active and healthy ageing, which is placed highly on the policy agenda in the Nordic countries and in many Nordic regions and municipalities. This will directly contribute to Nordic added value, but the findings will also be relevant beyond the Nordic context, especially as population ageing is recognized at the European and the global policy agenda. More broadly, the 2030 Agenda calls for leaving no one behind and for ensuring that the SDGs are met for all segments of society, at all ages, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable—including older persons. Target groups include policymakers and practitioners working with the promotion of active and healthy ageing, and age-friendliness at different levels of society. The Nordic network for age-friendly cities is of high relevance. Another core group are senior organisations who represent the interests of senior citizens in the Nordic Region. Project results will also be relevant for researchers engaged in the field. A joint webinar will be organised by Nordegio and Nordic Welfare Centre in early 2022, to launch both reports and discuss the results. Nordregio will also present preliminary results at Nordic Welfare Forum in December 2021.

Food self-sufficiency in Nordic island societies: the current situation and the way forward

The project will focus on data and sustainability aspects of an increase of food self-sufficiency in five smaller Nordic countries and regions: Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Åland and Bornholm, Denmark. We will explore whether and how a higher degree of self-sufficiency of food can contribute to a more resilient and sustainable food system in these five island societies. The positive and negative consequences of increased self-sufficiency will be explored, as well as the perceived potentials and barriers for each of the island societies. Furthermore, the degree of self-sufficiency will be calculated.   The consortium consists of Nordregio, the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and the Faroese Agricultural Agency. Nordregio leads the project and is responsible for the collection and analysis of qualitative data in Greenland, Iceland, Åland and Bornholm region of Denmark, while the Faroese Agricultural Agency is responsible for the collection of data on the Faroe Islands. NIBIO is responsible for collecting quantitative data and developing a baseline of the degree of food self-sufficiency in the five island societies.

Smart Specialisation Västerbotten

Nordregio and Norrum support Region Västerbotten in their work of revising their Regional innovation strategy and developing a Strategy for Smart Specialisation.   During the last years an increasing amount of regions in Sweden had developed or refined their strategy for smart specialisation. It is a method and a tool to increase the region’s competitive advantages by identifying local strength. The process is based on a multi-actor model (EDP) that brings together actors to jointly discuss which strategic areas that are most favorable for the region in terms of strength, finances, and resources. The model is an interactive process that focuses on innovation and collaboration to develop new activities, anchor decisions, and strengthen the actors involved in the process. It results in common priorities for smart specialization that will benefit the entire region. In the mission, Nordregio and Jukka Teräs at Norrum will provide Region Västerbotten with support in their smart specialisation process by proving analysis of opportunities and challenges of identifying smart specialisation areas, by performing semi structured interviews with stakeholders in the region and by organising focus group interviews where the results from the interviews are discussed. The mission started in 2020 and was prolonged because of the Covid-19. The project will be finished at the end of 2021.

Re:Urbia

Re:Urbia project focus on the state and development of suburban housing estates in Finland. The research project analyses multidimensional segregation processes in these suburban areas from the perspective of residential migration, schools and the attraction and holding power of suburbs, and re-conceptualises planning solutions and services in the suburbs. Nordregio’s participation in the project is related to providing up-to-date knowledge about the socio-economic state and development of suburban housing estates constructed during the 1960s and 1970s. The work package is based on updating and further extending the analysis of Finnish suburban housing estates based on Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Mats Stjernberg’s (2019) PhD research. This, together with surveys conducted in selected estates, will provide new knowledge about the development of these types of areas both in Finland overall as well as in the partner cities of the consortium (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Jyväskylä). Re:Urbia is part of Lähiöohjelma, funded by the Finnish Ministry of Environment for the years 2020–2022 for promoting positive development in suburbs. The project is led by the University of Helsinki, and also includes researchers from Aalto University as well as practitioners from the partner cities of the consortium.

Welfare Institutes in Sparsely Populated Areas (WIiSPA)

This project aims to define the concept and map already existing WIiSPAs in the Nordic countries and the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland. The concept WIiSPA (Welfare Institutes in Sparsely Populated Areas) has been used in some recent projects that strive for a stable and available welfare sector in sparsely populated areas of the Nordic Region. There are a few established WIiSPAs, such as Centre for Rural Medicine in Storuman and Norwegian Centre for Rural Medicine (NCRM) in Tromsø, there are also other ongoing initiatives in Akyreyri and other parts of the Nordic Region. Ideally, a WIiSPA should cover both health care and social care in an integrated manner, including home care services. In addition, by coordinating meetings and activities between the identified WIiSPAs and actors that are interested in developing a WIiSPA, this project tries to establish a Nordic network that drives development in health care and social care in the Nordics, with a special focus on sparsely populated areas, recruitment and competence supply, and the digital transformation of health care and health care services into a more integrated system. The long-term goal of this project is to promote an accessible, secure, and stable welfare in sparsely populated areas of the Nordics, which creates a basis for regional development, social sustainability, and a well-functioning labour market in these regions. In this project, Nordregio is responsible for defining the concept of WIiSPA and mapping already existing WIiSPAs and similar initiatives in the Nordic Region, including related research environments, academic actors, and national policies and goals. In addition, based on the results, Nordregio will support the Nordic Welfare Centre in its activities to develop an action plan for collaboration and networking between the Nordic WIiSPAs and actors that are interested in developing a WIiSPA.

Reducing loneliness among older adults in times of covid-19 and beyond: Experiences from three Swedish Municipalities (REDLON)

This project investigates the use of digital technologies to address loneliness and isolation among older adults living at home with home care services and in caring homes in three case study municipalities in Sweden: Huddinge, Eskilstuna, and Storuman. The focus is mainly on challenges, opportunities, and solutions that have emerged during the covid-19 pandemic. Loneliness and social isolation pose significant challenges for older adults living alone and in senior housing facilities, affecting their mental and physical health. Due to self-isolation requirements during the covid-19 pandemic, these challenges have been further exacerbated. The use of digital technologies within elderly care has a potential to combat social isolation, for instance by providing increased access to home care services and possibilities to take part in social activities. Even so, previous knowledge on effectiveness of digital interventions to tackle loneliness of older adults is quite limited. In Sweden, the utilisation of digital tools within welfare sector in municipalities has been mainly only focused on the objectives of increased effectivity and quality of care. Based on a previous Nordregio project (VOPD), this project analyses if and how the identified benefits and potentials have been utilised within elderly care during the prevailing recommendations of self-isolation. Semi-structured interviews with municipality authorities, social care providers, and older adults is applied as the main method. Besides identifying good and transferrable practices, this project will provide information on how to ensure that digital solutions and services for older adults are socially inclusive – in order to minimise the risk that some groups of older people become even more socially excluded due to the increased use of digital tools. The gained learnings from the case study municipalities will be disseminated to decision-makers, social care providers, and other municipalities in form of a report and a workshop. Nordregio is leading the project…

DigiBEST

DigiBEST is an interregional cooperation project for policy improvement of SME’s competitiveness promotion co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Norwegian national funding through the INTERREG EUROPE programme. The overall objective of the project is to support and promote SMEs competitiveness through digital transformation of SMEs in rural European territories by proposing solutions to enhance their capacity to use advanced technologies and new innovative business approaches for promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe and its regions. Nordregio was engaged as an external expert to provide a peer review of the work of the Latvian project partner. We undertook this task on behalf of the Norwegian project partner, Trøndelag County Council, and worked in partnership with a similar expert from Austria. The ultimate aim was to provide recommendations to support SME digitalisation in Latvia based on experiences in Norway and Austria.

Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour market – The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

Nordic countries have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has taken a substantial toll on economic growth and employment level. Immigrants may have been disproportionately affected, even though Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden already face serious challenges in integrating immigrants into their labour markets for several years. This project aims to make a contribution to further research into the consequences of the pandemic. Current data and statistics on unemployment trends in the Nordic countries shall be presented in order to obtain a comprehensive overview of the current labour market situation of immigrants. The project shall revisit and update the main findings, conclusions and policy recommendations of the 2019 report ‘Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets’ in the light of the pandemic. Target groups The target group of the project includes national, regional and municipal authorities who are involved in integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour market. The recommendations on how to support labour market integration during the pandemic and going forward may also be relevant for civil society organisations, employers’ organisations, chambers of commerce and other actors in the Nordic region and beyond who are working with refugees and other immigrant groups.

Marint Gränsforum Skagerrak – external evaluation

MarintGränsforum Skagerrak aims at cross-border and trans-disciplinary collaboration in order to strengthen Skagerrak as a viable environment and a blue growth region, and in parallel to protect the national parks and their role for a sustainable environment. Nordregio has conducted an external evaluation of the Interreg project “Marint Gränsforum Skagerrak”.

Update of the VASAB-LTP for the Territorial Development of BSR

This project aims to update the strategy VASAB Long Term Perspective (LTP) for the territorial development of the Baltic Sea Region – BSR. The revision of this transnational strategic spatial planning document on territorial integration builds on relevant topics of existing VASAB LTP (1994, 2009) and will incorporate a future-oriented perspective. The revision will consider current and future trends that are likely to influence the territorial development of the macro-region. The update of the long-term vision is envisaged as an iterative and participatory process involving a wide range of relevant stakeholders. Together with Spatial Foresight, Nordregio will develop a background synthesis report that will cover the experience and lessons learned from the current VASAB long-term perspective; important trends shaping future developments in the Baltic Sea Region and key relevant policy documents to which the long-term perspective need to relate to. This report will be fundamental to guide the new spatial vision that will endeavour for a sustainable, inclusive and digital Baltic Sea Region in 2040.

En bättre sits – evaluation

The project aims to evaluate and shed light on the latest period in the transport policy process En bättre sits. En bättre sits is a transport policy process administered by Mälardalsrådet, to influence the infrastructure planning and investments in the region to further regional development. Nordregio is commissioned to conduct an evaluations study focusing on a timeframe between May 2018- May 2020. The study aims: To shed light on the collaboration En bättre sits and describe the process and effects of the strengthened collaboration between actors involved. Place the process within the research context about governance models in regional development and planning Analyse what has worked well and less well, in order to show opportunities for improvement in the internal governance processes and further development in En bättre sits. Highlight the process En bättre sits as a relevant/good example for international co-operation and contribute to the dialogue on how to develop governance models in regional development. The last process period of En Bättre sits includes eight regions and municipalities in the regions as well as several other public and private actors.

Nordic & Northwest Russia cooperation on wood and construction

This cooperation aims at establishing sustainable Nordic-Russian business-to-business and business – academic partnerships in the wood and construction sector. The objective is to support innovative production and use of wood-based building materials capitalising on the untapped potential for a biobased economy in NW-Russia.

Covid-19 Economic Impacts in the Northern Periphery and Arctic region

The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated how closely health and economy are linked. This project analyses the economic impacts of the pandemic in the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) region, as well as Canada. The main aim is to set out the recovery roadmap with recommendations for positive action and policy that can create more sustainable and resilient communities and economies. The project gathers 13 partners to examine how Covid-19 hit the countries’ economies and what responses, innovations and transformations took place as a result. The partners are coming from very diverse background geographically, institutionally, and in terms of expertise. That will assure the vast diversity of knowledge and perspectives to the project. The project will give special attention to peripheral areas in the NPA region and to young people and entrepreneurs (up to age 40), to gain their unique perspectives and innovations on Covid-19 responses and sustainable development. It will also add a human rights perspective on the inequities of health systems/economies, including for peripheral and indigenous communities within the NPA. Nordregio will provide relevant comparative data (economic and health) across the Nordic Region and the Arctic, including harmonised data across the NPA region. Also, the partner will share the relevant findings from previously conducted relevant projects. The ultimate goal is to set out a recovery roadmap with recommendations that will improve health, wellbeing as well as social, cultural and economic benefits for peoples across the NPA. The findings of the study will be presented in the form of the report in the spring of 2021, as well as via webinars and social media channels.

Accessibility to Health Services in Iceland

The pilot study would entail the following objective: to objectively and quantitatively measure the accessibility of all Icelandic residents to health services, which would be distinguished between (for instance) regional hospitals, clinics, Doctor’s offices and other medical facilities. The results would then be visualised on a series of maps that will profile accessibility for the country as a whole as well as at the regional scale. Accessibility will be measured in a dynamic way, including a distinction between accessibility of residents to health services within multiple commuting distance, as well as accessibility of health services to inhabitants of different age groups and, if time permits, gender. The final delivery will be short working paper with a series of maps and quantitative results profiled in tables and charts. A brief overview and analytical text will also be provided, including a feasibility analysis for a continued study covering all of the aforementioned sectors.

Sustainable destinations and regional development

The project ’Sustainable destinations and regional development’ started in the fall of 2020 and will be finished before the end of 2021. It builds among other things on knowledge from a previous Nordregio project, Planning for sustainable tourism in the Nordic region. This new project will look into the possibilities of developing national indicators that measure sustainability in tourism development, looking closer at the social and environmental aspects of tourism in addition to the more conventional economic indicators. The project is led by CRT – Centre For Regional and Tourism Research in Bornholm Denmark – while other partners are Nordregio, Visit Denmark, selected Danish Destinations as well as SDU, the University of Southern Denmark. One of the main benefits of tourism in rural areas is the diversification of jobs as well as the fact that growth in tourism can have positive effects on other sectors. Therefore, many rural regions have welcomed tourism and put emphasis on increasing their visitor numbers to counterbalance the shrinking and more traditional prime industries as well as declining demographic development. Increased tourism can however also negatively affect the environment as well as social tolerance of the local population. Traditionally, the economic and social aspects are not included when measuring the impacts of tourism on regions.  Annual tourism reports are delivered by Visit Denmark in collaboration with the Center for Regional and Tourism Research each year, which contain figures for turnover, jobs, overnight stays and other mainly economic indicators of tourism development. The partner group behind the project now wants to investigate the possibility of how this tool can be utilized on the all three dimensions of sustainability; economic-, social- and environmental sustainability. This will be done with desktop research on existing sustainable tourism measurement tools and building upon the analyses of Nordregio that performed Pan-Nordic…