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6 Ongoing Projects

Education and young adults in Nordic rural areas (EDYNORA)

The “Education and young adults in Nordic rural areas” (EDYNORA) project addresses the crucial role of education in retaining and attracting young people in Nordic rural areas. Although education is vital for rural development, highly skilled individuals frequently migrate to urban areas in pursuit of better opportunities. Urbanization introduces imbalances such as population decline and economic disparities between urban and rural regions. This highlights the need to customize educational opportunities in rural areas to align with the needs of young people and local communities. The educational opportunities in regional centres are crucial for strengthening ties between young adults, regional labour markets, and local communities, potentially influencing young people’s decisions to stay or return to rural areas. EDYNORA investigates the impact of education, particularly higher education and vocational training, on the mobility decisions of youth and young adults. The goal is to enhance understanding and identify innovative approaches that align education with the needs and motivations of rural youth, ultimately strengthening their ties to local labour markets. The research aims to address three key questions: The project implementation involves surveys, gathering statistics, and exploring innovative approaches through focus group interviews and case studies across the Nordic countries and Åland.

Pre-study: Nordic tripartite forum on structural change and the green transition

On behalf of Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordregio conducts a pre-study for a Nordic tripartite forum on structural change and the green transition. The pre-study is based on interviews with government and labour market representatives across the Nordic countries and territories. The project will result in a report that will include good practice examples.

A common Nordic labour market 70 years and beyond (70 ys and beyond)

The aim of the project is to produce a report which will consist of three parts: one chapter looking back at the role of the common Nordic labour market agreement from 1954 for Nordic labour market integration, one chapter looking forward on the Nordic labour market integration and a final chapter containing an analysis and conclusions for a more integrated Nordic labour market. In the first chapter the role of the agreement for the overall Nordic cooperation will be analysed, as well as its role for the Nordic countries’ international competitiveness. Data on migration and commuting between the Nordic countries over the period will be examined, including characteristics of the mobile labour force (e.g. gender, age, citizenship, education, profession, business sector). The effects of the pandemic to maintain the common labour market, as well as expected long-term effects on labour market mobility across the Nordic national borders will be explored. The second chapter of the study will be more looking into future. We will start by giving an overview and status of supply and demand in the Nordic labour market.  We will then explore in which sectors and regions we find the largest potentials for a more integrated Nordic labour market. The current lack of labour and skills mis-match that is found in many sectors and regions and whether a more integrated Nordic labour market can contribute to solving those problems will be explored. The third and final part of the report will focus on how cornerstones of the common Nordic labour market can contribute to the fulfilment of the vision that the Nordic Region will be the world’s most sustainable and integrated region by 2030. This part will be developed in dialogue with stakeholders from the EK-A, employers’ organisations and trade unions (Council of Nordic Trade Unions), labour authorities…

Strategies to address rural labour shortage

The Nordic region faces a significant labour shortage challenge in many countries and places. Recruiting skilled workers to fill vacant jobs has become a common regional development issue for rural and cross-border areas. The project aims to fill knowledge gaps about strategies to address rural labour shortage, regional variations, and sectors that are particularly affected. The post-pandemic labour shortage situation in Nordic rural areas can be attributed to several reasons, such as decreasing rural population numbers and the retirement of ageing permanent rural populations. Moreover, rapid social transformations, including the green transition, automation, and digitalization, have led to structural changes that impact the Nordic rural labour markets. To ensure sustainable rural areas where men, women, and youth thrive, it is crucial to match the necessary occupational groups with their competencies. There is a lack of understanding about the common challenges of labour shortage in Nordic rural areas, as well as the strategies and solutions currently in use. This project aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the situation by collecting statistical data, producing visualizations, and facilitating discussions to fill these knowledge gaps. A cross-Nordic workshop will be arranged to discuss nuances, strategies, and solutions to the issue. National experts will also contribute with country-specific knowledge about rural labour shortage strategies and regional variations. The results will be summarized and published in a report. The project will address the following questions: The project is expected to promote Nordic knowledge exchange and to have a positive impact on development strategies that ensure robust regions and labour markets in the Nordic region.

Employers’ role and responsibility in the integration of refugees and migrants

The overall aim of the project is to give a Nordic knowledge base on the role of employers in the process of integrating refugees and migrants in the labour market. The project will further highlight some promising examples of when the integration process has been successful. Labour market participation is central in the integration process of refugees and migrants. Research shows that it is difficult for refugees and migrants to find jobs, especially for low-skilled, non-EU born and women. The labour market integration of people born outside the EU is on average about 17 percentage points lower than that of people born in the EU. The recent crises, the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, have not improved the situation. At the same time, the Nordic countries are suffering from labour shortages and are trying to attract hands and brains from abroad. Successful integration of migrants in the labour market presents an opportunity for our societies. Employers have an important role to play in integration. This project examines the status of this role in the Nordic countries, addressing the following questions: To what extent have companies, organisations and other employers hired people with an immigrant background? What are their experiences of the benefits and obstacles? To what extent is discrimination against immigrants widespread in the labour market and workplace? What can the governments and municipalities do to support companies in employing migrants? To provide a reply to these questions, the project will be articulated in three main steps. A thorough literature review will explore benefits and challenges experienced by employers in the Nordic region in the integration process of migrants and refugees. Then, based on interviews with employers and competent authorities, the project will also present concrete examples of promising practices and policies to increase labour market integration. Finally,…

Early career mobility in the Nordic region

Recent Nordregio studies show a difference in migration intensities and patterns between adults in their 20s and 30s. The aim of the project is to understand the migration drivers from the university towns and urban areas in the Nordic region, targeting adults in their early careers. The project will put an emphasis on urban-to-rural migration, addressing cross-cutting themes such as gender and the green transition.  It is no surprise that the net migration to university towns and urban areas is positive for people in their 20s while the migration patterns of people in their 30s are much more diverse. But where do young people migrate to after their studies?   Data shows that  people in their „early career“ leave capitals and university towns and move to rural and intermediate municipalities that are close to larger urban municipalities, but also some more peripheral   How could migration trends be supported and enhanced through regional development policy? By understanding the migration drivers of young people, regional actors could better prepare and respond to potential opportunities of positive migration flow to rural and remote areas. To support these opportunities for Nordic regional development, the project will explore the determinants of migration in the Nordic region and seek to identify the motives and drivers of early-career urban-to-rural migration.                    This research project builds on and contributes to several currently running Thematic Group projects examining migration and mobility in the Nordic countries, including the projects Re-Start Competence Mobility in the Nordic Region (Lundgren et al, 2021-2024), and Remote Work and Multilocality (Linda Randall et al, 2021-2024). The project is funded by the Nordic Thematic Group for Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions (2021-2024). 

Laks og ligestilling/Salmon and equality

For most of the Nordic countries fisheries and aquaculture are important economic sectors. The blue fields of the seas in the Nordic Region are however a sector traditionally male-dominated and statistics on gender ratio and female presence reveal gender-segregated labour market. The Nordic partners observe this gender imbalance in the sector as problematic on many levels. This motivates the project Laks og ligestilling, in identifying the need to uncover reasons for what contributes to the gender imbalance. This project analyses what hinders or promotes improved gender balance in fisheries and aquaculture in the Nordic Region. The project aims to contribute to improved knowledge basis on equality questions in fisheries and aquaculture, and other new emerging blue economies across the Nordic countries. Parallelly it is to raise increased awareness of the need for more equal gender balance in the business and the recruitment of female skills. More specifically the project research output shall improve knowledge of which measures have proved effective in increasing gender equality within the sector. On the basis of the comparative analysis, we aim to build a knowledge basis for useful competence and exchange of experience. Lastly, the result from the comparative research will be presented in policy recommendations on measures likely to increase recruitment of women both as owners and practitioners in the sector. The project’s focus is to uncover active actions and measures that contribute to increased gender equality and more balanced representation of both males and females. Also to generate an overview of existing statistics on gender ration among employees and employers in the fisheries and aquaculture sector and to identify gaps across division of labour and strata within the sector. Project MilestonesM1: Statistical collection and harmonization of data to make comparative – Value Chain analysis for Blue Bioeconomy from gender perspective – and stakeholder…

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.

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 potentially vulnerable groups, primarily unemployed and those at risk of unemployment as well as older adults, children and persons with disabilities. Towards a 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…

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: 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…