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5 Ongoing Projects

Not Just a Green Transition (NJUST) – Examining the path towards a socially just green transition in the Nordic Region

Not Just a Green Transition – Examining the path towards a socially just green transition in the Nordic Region (short name: NJUST) contributes to a just transition towards a climate neutral Nordic Region. The researchers explore perceptions among those experiencing the change first-hand and focus on how to best support the Nordic people and especially vulnerable groups, primarily unemployed and those at risk of unemployment as well as older people, children and persons with disabilities. Towards strong knowledge base and policy relevanceThe starting point will be to create a knowledge base where a literature review, policy review and analyses of spatial and socio-economic effects of green transition policies will be conducted. The project will send out surveys and perform sentiment analyses to explore how people experience the ongoing green transition on an individual level. Based on the knowledge base, a policy proposal toolbox will be created and disseminated to the relevant policymakers across the Nordic countries and self-governing regions. The toolbox shall contain policies and measures to reduce the potentially negative spatial and social impacts of the green transition. All publications will be openly available on Nordregio’s website. A big collaboration effort: focus groups and dialogue meetings to validate the resultsThe project interacts with labour market representatives, unions and civil society actors, invites vulnerable group representatives to join focus groups and dialogue meetings and reaches out to citizens via surveys. Nordic and national policymakers are the main target group for the project results and special communication efforts will be channelled to these groups. NJUST invites all stakeholders annually to join an open event to share and build knowledge. The first event takes place in August 2022 and more information will be available here during the spring. The NJUST project works closely and reports to several Committees of Senior of Officials…

Re-start competence mobility in the Nordic Region

This project aims to explore labour market mobility and the possibility of re-starting and enhancing it in the Nordic region. The core research question is in which regions and sectors we find the largest cross-border labour market mobility. The Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision for the Nordic Region is to become the world’s most sustainable and integrated region by 2030. The vision indicates substantial flows of people, goods and knowledge across the Nordic borders. But during the past years, the pandemic has influenced cross-border mobility negatively. The research questions in the project are: Where in the Nordic Region we find the largest cross-border competence mobility? In which regions? In which sectors? What are the drivers for competence mobility in the Nordic region?  What are the obstacles and counterforces (previously known and recently learnt) for competence mobility in the Nordic region?  What is the Nordic learning and how can Nordic competence mobility be re-started?  Quantitative and qualitative methods, including case studies in different regions, will be used in the project. The project involves a reference group with informants and stakeholders from Info Norden and cross-border regions.

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…

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.

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.

Share the Care

Share the Care project will provide new knowledge towards a less gender-segregated health care sector, a heavily female-dominated sector. The study will focus on the educational path of male professionals. It will provide recommendations on how to recruit and retain men in the nursing sector. The project aims to increase the number of men who enrol and successfully graduate from nursing and licensed practical nursing (LPN) educational programmes. To meet this overall objective, measures will be implemented in: the University of Akureyri in Iceland, Østfold University College in Norway and LAB University of Applied Sciences in Finland. Secondary schools in geographical proximity to the universities involved, offering licensed practical nursing programmes, are also targeted in the project. Actions are largely based on recommendations from previous research “Men in Nursing Education: Mapping Educational Practices, and Student Experiences in Iceland, Denmark, and Norway”. The project will implement a system to follow cohorts in nursing education and document reasons behind drop-outs and delays during the study, which will produce important knowledge to counteract the problem. Communication and recruitment material will be scrutinized in the effort to address gendered and ethnicity imbalance. Reference groups of study and career counsellors will be formed to create knowledge and stimulate more men to engage in care work. These actions will be an important input for educational institutions and authorities on how to recruit and retain men in nursing education. Project deliverables include a handbook and other educational and communication material, as well as special platforms for male students to minimize the risk of exclusion and alienation. Nordregio will co-ordinate the research activities as well as communication and outreach, together with partners and the client, NIKK.

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.

How does place impact the possibility to follow restrictions during corona times? (PORECO)

The extraordinary times in the first part of 2020 have been prominent in the media and policy debates. The coronavirus and its social and economic effects have been widely covered. The coverage is on statistics, different strategies, politics, the economic and social effects of the crisis, and various other aspects related to the crisis in one way or another. One of these aspects is how the corona crisis has struck ethnic minorities and this where Nordregio wants to contribute. Nordic neighbourhoods that are considered segregated or vulnerable have gained attention in the media due to a rapid spread of the coronavirus. Segregation refers to a separation of socio-economic and ethnic, racial, religious, or other minority groups at the residential level of an urban area. Segregation indicates social injustice and is a significant challenge for cities. The corona crisis thus reveals and reminds us about the serious effects of segregation and unequal societies on citizens, and necessitates a closer look at the potential injustice involved. Poverty and social exclusion represent the most basic manifestations of inequality, leaving behind people with fewer resources to withstand and overcome the consequences that a crisis like a pandemic creates. It is important that Nordic societies increase their understanding of why some neighbourhoods were more severely affected by the corona pandemic than others in order to be better prepared for future challenges and crises. The main objective of this project is to have a closer look at what were the resident’s possibilities to follow public recommendations during the corona crisis in areas that were severely affected by corona?

The organisation of social services and care in sparsely populated areas in the Nordics

The aim of the study is to increase understanding of the needs and challenges in rural areas regarding recruitment, competencies and continued professional development of staff, and the organisation of social services in the Nordic countries. This will be achieved by looking at the estimations on the recruitment needs in the social care field in the Nordic countries and identifying initiatives that promote recruitment, development of competencies and continued education of the social care staff in rural areas. Finally, the study will map examples of innovative ways of delivering services by the public sector in rural areas.  The results of the study will be presented and discussed at the conference Welfare in Sparsely Populated Areas: The Organisation of Healthcare and Social Services on 10 December 2020 that is part of Denmark’s 2020 presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Defining Värmland

Collaborations between the hospitality industry and the food sector are beneficial for building an attractive region with a strong business community. The aim of the assignment “Defining Värmland” is to develop definitions for the tourism industry and the food sector in Vämland in a balanced and transparent way. By two workshops and data analyses, the definitions will be contextualised and anchored in the business life of the region. This will facilitate further dialogue and analyses of the synergies in business life in the region. In this project, Nordregio prepares a dialogue with regional actors about the hospitality industry and the food industry in Värmland, and formulates key issues that need to be discussed and clarified in the region to carry out the analysis. Based on these inputs from regional actors, Nordregio further performs data analysis and visualisation using registered labour market statistics.

Social services and care in SPAs in the Nordics

It is becoming increasingly difficult to provide high-quality social services and care in rural and sparsely populated areas in the Nordic countries due to demographic changes, structural shortcomings and welfare cuts. The ageing population may lead to an increased need for health and care services, increased demand for labour, and reduced public income. The aim of the study is to increase understanding of the needs and challenges regarding the organization, recruitment, skills development and further education of employees in the field of social services and care in sparsely populated areas in the Nordics. This will be based on the available data and forecasts. The further purpose of the study is to identify successful examples of initiatives aiming at promoting recruitment, skills development and further education of employees in the field of social services and care provision in SPAs and to identify examples of innovative ways of delivering social services. The examples may include, for instance, social innovation in service delivery, organisational innovation, as well as the successful integration of migrants in the local labour market.

Unlocking the potential of silver economy in the Nordic Region

Population ageing is one of the main demographic trends in the Nordic countries and it is widely considered important to plan and prepare for ageing and its possible implications. Ageing is often regarded as a challenge that will result in increased economic and societal demands and there are concerns about the possible effects of a decreasing work force and the costs of supporting and caring for a growing number of older people. Nevertheless, while population ageing is often viewed negatively from an economic standpoint, older people can also provide substantial economic and societal opportunities, especially when healthy and active. This project is focused on the concept of the silver economy. This term refers to all economic activities that are linked to older citizens. Many older people continue to make valuable economic and societal contributions beyond official retirement age through paid or unpaid work, such as by providing informal care to other older people, grandchildren or adult children. In this regard, promoting health and activity in older age is vital as it may not only improve economic productivity and competitiveness but also increase wellbeing and inclusion while minimizing the risk of social isolation. In addition, a growing number of older consumers also means that there will be an increased demand for new types of services and products. Tapping into the potential and opportunities that an older but healthier population might bring requires policy attention across a range of different domains and at different territorial scales and the involvement of multiple stakeholders. At the global level, the WHO, UN and OECD have played a central role in raising policy awareness about ageing and health, and in Europe, the European Commission has launched several initiatives to support healthy and active ageing and to promote a sustainable silver economy. However, the importance of regional…

Linking innovation and resilience: Synergy effects for regional development

This project aims to find commonalities and synergy effects of the in-depth studies on regional economic and social resilience, smart specialisation, digitalisation, as well as the so called “skills project”, all part of the activities under the ongoing Nordic Cooperation Programme for Regional Development. The synergy project will focus on these interlinkages as well as the horizontal perspectives, such as gender, green transition, youth and arctic aspects, as highlighted by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The project is part of The Nordic thematic group for innovative and resilient regions 2017-2020. The final report of the Synergy project will be published by April 2020.

Skills Policies – Building Capacities for Innovative and Resilient Nordic Regions

Skills flexibility and lifelong learning are hot topics on the current political agenda and are important elements for the regional capacity of being resilient to economic and social shocks. This project aims to increase knowledge of how the Nordic regions work with skills. Many countries and regions are affected by a situation of unemployment in parallel to a shortage of skills in certain economic and labour markets, often referred to as the qualification mismatch problem. This situation is also relevant in the Nordic regions. Nordic perspective on skills and growth A Nordic study on skills is motivated by the important role that skills play for innovation and economic growth, but also for employment and the well-being of citizens in the Nordic regions. Skills analysis and prognosis, together with policies and strategies are important instruments in order to take measures to provide education, adequate human capital and skills and to address competence mismatch and shortcomings in the labour markets. The focus of the study will be on how regional actors work with skills in order to achieve national and regional goals. How do they work to cope with the cross-sectoral and multilevel challenges that are part of the complex area of skills, and what are the enabling and hampering factors to strengthen skills in the Nordic regions? Case studies Case study regions for in-depth study have been selected in five Nordic countries and Greenland. The project aims at presenting some preliminary results at Nordregio Forum at the end of November 2019 and final results at Nordregio Forum 2020. The project is a part of the Nordic thematic group for innovative and resilient regions which aims to contribute to the development of policies and new solutions to the challenges that the Nordic countries face in relation to the creation of innovative and…

Demographic challenges in the Nordic region from a gender perspective (DEMOS)

The Nordic countries face many demographic challenges affecting both the welfare system and people´s labour market opportunities. Salaries and conditions on the labour market varies and maintain an unequal and gender-segregated labour market – in addition to often gendered welfare solutions. Therefore it is essential to understand the most urgent demographic challenges from a gender perspective. How should the need for skills and competencies be met? Who or whom will get employment in the future and in what kind of a job? How will the employment opportunities look like in the local and regional context? We intend to highlight these issues to prepare for demographic challenges with particular focus on gender equality in the labour market. Nordregio works on two knowledge reviews with a Nordic gender perspective — one on skills supply and competence matching on the labour market and another on Care responsibility. The project outputs will be two knowledge reviews (30 pages per overview). We also participated in an expert interview on February 26 about urbanisation/regionality, and 28 August on gender and care and gender and future of work, at the Gender Secretariat in Gothenburg. Furthermore, we participated and co-organized expert interviews in the spring of 2019, and participated in the international conference on Future of Work (with NMR and ILO) in Iceland in April 2019.

Statistical report of Innlandet-Dalarna

Starting January 1st, 2020, Innlandet will be a new region consisting of two current ones – Hedmark and Oppland. The creation of the new territorial structure is a result of the regional reform in Norway. On behalf of the Hedmark-Dalarna Border Committee, Nordregio will carry on an analysis regarding the development within the two regions of Innlandet, Norway, and Dalarna, Sweden, that will also serve as material for a statistical report. The report will serve as a follow up for a similar report produced by Nordregio in 2013/2014 and will consist of an introductory chapter with basic short facts regarding the geography of the border region, followed by the four main themes of: Population Labour market and economy Quality of life and tourism Infrastructure and communication.

Demographic vulnerability for Swedish-Norwegian border municipalities

In order to emphasize the diversity and variety of Nordic regions and municipalities, Nordregio has been utilising the concept of “demographic vulnerabilities”, which is based on demographic data. This approach has been used since 2011 to analyse Nordic and Baltic municipalities and regions. In this project, it will be brought up to date, relying on statistical data from 2018, with a focus on the Swedish – Norwegian border. The demographic vulnerabilities index is a summary of ten demographic components on municipal level in all Nordic countries, such as age structure, gender balance, population natural change and net migration. These indicators help identify municipalities that share common demographic dynamics and challenges. The analysis for the “Demographic vulnerabilities for the Swedish – Norwegian border municipalities” project will be carried on at three levels: The Nordic region in general Sweden and Norway as countries The Swedish – Norwegian border municipalities In addition, the index will be combined with the supplementary statistics from the State of the Nordic Region 2018 with a focus on the border municipalities. Visit the publication: Demografisk sårbarhet 2019 The map “Nordic demographic vulnerability index 2019” The map shows the demographic vulnerability index in Nordic municipalities in 2019.

BT 2050

“BT 2050” stands for Territorial Scenarios for the Baltic Sea Region and with the aim of informing policy making at different levels, this project develops territorial scenarios for the BSR. These frameworks will deepen the understanding of the territorial dimension of the EU Strategy for the BSR, as well as contribute to European and Member States policy making. The scenarios will also serve as a base to further explore cooperation between BSR countries on territorial development helping to fulfil the key objectives of the BSR’ spatial policy. This is an ESPON 2020 project, coordinated by Nordregio in collaboration with partners from Germany, Luxembourg and Poland. Find more information on the ESPON website.

Adapting European Cities to Population ageing: Policy challenges and best practices

The population in the European Union (EU) is undergoing a process of population ageing with implications for public spending, services, the labour market and many other areas of public and societal life. The project analysis challenges and adaptation to ageing population in eight European cities. The stakeholder cities of Barcelona, Zaragoza, Gothenburg, Hengelo, Oslo, Greater Manchester, Amsterdam and Nantes are similarly affected by ageing, with concerns exacerbated by increasing levels of transnational migration, spatial segregation, and pockets of deprivation, which all impact the lives of older people. Thus, an important challenge for the cities is to adapt their policies and deliveries to better serve the needs of older residents. This project will study how the eight stakeholder cities are dealing with challenges posed by population ageing. This will involve comparing the various policy-responses that the cities have adopted to become more age-friendly. An important question will be to uncover why some policies have been more successful than others. While population ageing is often perceived as a challenge, it can also present opportunities. The project will help the cities tap into the potential that older people present. The results will not only be relevant for the stakeholder cities but also for other cities that are confronted with similar challenges. Main project outcomes include the following: New knowledge concerning the quality of life of elderly residents in different cities. Knowledge of how urban environments can support social integration and inclusion while counteracting social isolation among the elderly. Good practice examples of how to involve elderly residents as partners in decision-making in questions that concern them. Nordregio is leading the first work package of the project in which we analyse demographic trends in the stakeholder cities, review the state of the academic literature on population ageing in urban environments, and review relevant policies…

Transport support for elders and handicapped in the Nordic rural regions

This project aims to analyse transport challenges and possibilities for the less mobile part of the population in the rural areas of the Nordic Region, elders and handicapped in particular. The scoping analysis will focus on the following questions: What is the legislation and support programs in place in the Nordic countries regarding mobility? What changes are ongoing or planned and which administrative levels are responsible for securing this part of population equal rights to mobility? How does this correspond with the Nordic Co-operation Handlingsplan för nordiskt samarbete om funktionshinder 2018-22? The project serves as an input into a larger project launched in 2019 titled Regional disparities and the geography of services within the Nordic countries which is a part of the Nordic Thematic Group for Sustainable Rural Development.