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26 Ongoing Projects

Electric Aviation and the effects on the Nordic regions 

The Nordic countries have ambitious plans to turn electric aviation into a reality in the Nordic countries in the near future. But how would this impact regions and local communities? This project​ analyses the effects of electric aviation on Nordic regional development. The Nordic regions share similar challenges of accessibility and mobility for remote and rural regions. Since the first-generation electric airplanes are small and have a limited range, they would suit many remote areas in Nordic Region. The time saved using electric aviation instead of car or rail can be extensive because of the geographies of water and mountains you must cross or pass. The increased mobility and accessibility have the potential of creating effects in regions and local communities, such as access to public services, and the establishment of companies or job opportunities. The effects can, however also be negative for some communities since increased accessibility also provides the possibility to leave the areas for work or education in other regions. Further, electric aviation can contribute to the green transition. The project investigates the effects on regions and local communities of implementing electric aviation. It will also contribute to the discussion of electric aviation as a sustainable transport mode for remote regions and highlight the contribution to Nordic mobility and sustainability. The study will explore the following research questions:​ Investigate the benefits and disadvantages of implementing electric aviation in regions and local communities in the Nordic region in terms of time saved, accessibility, work opportunities and skills for businesses, the public sector, the tourism sector and citizens. ​ Investigate environmental and climate impacts in regions and local communities.​ Investigate what kinds of infrastructure and energy capacity are needed to implement electric aviation in an efficient manner in order to respond to local needs. ​ Investigate critical factors for…

Integrating climate into macroeconomic modelling (ICMM)

The project aims to strengthen cooperation between experts and practitioners developing, working, and using integrated macroeconomic climate-economy models and tools for the design of climate policies and green transition strategies in the Nordic Region.   In the pursuit of ambitious climate targets and carbon neutrality till around mid-century, all Nordic countries have been developing and using modelling frameworks for simulating the potential socio-economic impacts of climate policies on public finances.  As countries use a very heterogeneous collection of models in nature, focus, level of development, application, usage and even ownership and governance of the tools, the case for further coordination and Nordic cooperation in these issues can be made. Main objectives to advance expert and policy-planning knowledge and networks among the Nordic countries on modelling decision when it comes to integrating and assessing climate and finance policies;  to enhance the Nordic countries’ international outreach and engagement by advancing common experiences and results from climate and finance integrated models; to identify future Nordic and international collaborative opportunities at both expert and policy-planning levels. Structure and implementation The project is structured in 9 main events divided in Technical Workshops (4 events with model experts and practitioners), High-level Policy Events (2 events with policy officers and planners from the ministries with competences on climate policies); and 3 coordination meetings with the Steering Group, at the project start, interim and finalisation stages. The exact timing, location, logistics and specific agendas and thematic focus for each technical and policy meeting will be determined as outcome(s) from of the kick-off meeting with the Steering Group and the network.

Nordic transport infrastructure planning – institutional barriers and opportunities for coordination (NORDINFRA)

Previous research points to institutional barriers hampering the planning of cross-border transport infrastructure in the Nordics. This project aims to increase knowledge of the institutional conditions for the development of a more coordinated transport planning in the Nordic region. The project will identify obstacles, point out opportunities and propose measures that facilitate coordination of transport infrastructure planning across national borders. This research project is a collaboration between Nordregio and Umeå University, financed by The Swedish Transportation Administration (Trafikverket). It consists of document studies and interviews with key stakeholders. The project includes a steering group from the Transport Administration and a academic reference group with researchers from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. To get in-depth knowledge, three case studies will be conducted, studying three different cross-border transport infrastructure planning objects; the Helsingborg -Elsinore fixed link (HH), the Stockholm-Oslo railway connection and the road and ferry connection stretching from Mo-i-Rana in Norway via Umeå in Sweden and over to Vasa in Finland.

Planning for socially mixed and inclusive neighbourhoods

The project will contribute to Nordic Added Value by generating new knowledge and evidence to support the planning and development of Nordic cities and urban areas to become more socially sustainable and inclusive. This will be achieved by exploring topics and questions that are of high relevance to the Nordic urban policy and planning agendas. In this project this means investigating how Nordic governments and cities work to counteract segregation and created more socially mixed and inclusive cities and neighbourhoods. The sharing of experiences, know-how, and learnings by bringing together relevant national, regional, local and cross-border actors from across the Nordic Region is also central for creating Nordic added value, which will be done through different dissemination activities.  While Nordic cities have traditionally had low levels of segregation, more recently, there have been growing concerns about increasing disparities between different population groups, which is reflected in greater socio-economic and ethnic segregation in many cities. There are especially concerns that certain neighbourhoods are developing unfavourably and falling into a state of decline. Hence, Nordic governments and cities have taken actions to reduce segregation and promote social inclusion through various policy and urban planning measures.  The purpose of this project is to deepen the understanding of how different urban planning and policy measures are used to create more socially inclusive and mixed neighbourhoods in Nordic cities. The aim of creating more socially inclusive neighbourhoods can be understood as creating communities where people can take part and feel included regardless of their resources, lifestyle, background, or abilities. The project examines initiatives and actions taken at different territorial levels. In the Nordic countries, national governments have introduced a range of policies and strategies to prevent segregation and increase the social mix in cities, while planning interventions are typically carried out at the city or…

National support initiatives 

The Nordic countries have ambitious cross-sectoral national targets (e.g. climate, biodiversity, segregation, etc.) that require necessary actions to be taken in urban areas and city-regions. The aim of this project is to provide a Nordic comparative overview of different national initiatives (e.g. agreement-based approaches), national funding mechanisms, regulatory measures, and the demand for national support measures, that appear in the evolving planning landscape in the Nordic countries, and assess their green and social implications on regional and local development in urban areas. Despite the ambitious national targets, the Nordic states have limited power to influence local level planning priorities, whereas municipalities have the most influential competences when it comes to regulating land-use as well as in a range of policy areas with implications on sustainable urban development. This raises the questions of if, how, and to what extent central governments, can, should, and have the willingness or tools to support and collaborate on the development and implementation of different kinds of local urban development projects. It also raises questions of if, how, and to what extent local and regional planning authorities need or would like further national support on the development and implementation of local urban development projects. One key aspect for national support initiatives is thus to both understand the regulative and national support aspect (top-down) and the needs aspect (bottom-up), to achieve the national cross-sectoral targets.  At the same time, other types of planning approaches which change the conditions for local level planning are emerging. For example, agreement-based planning approaches which include Stadsmiljöavtalen in SE; byvekstavtaler in NO and MAL-agreements in FI. Common to the emerging planning approaches is that they may limit or challenge conventional planning processes and deliberative local planning approaches. The inclusion of citizen participation in planning processes highlights the role of the civil society…

Systems perspectives on green innovation (GRINGO)

The project aim is to uncover existing bottlenecks for sectors/businesses engaged in green transitions. To do this, we investigate the role of change agency processes, and the way in which policies and framework conditions impact on green transition changes in sectors/businesses across the Nordic Region. These policies and framework conditions may refer to e.g., national, and regional innovation policies such as smart specialisation strategies and regulations, but also opportunity spaces for innovation, and individual actions. This project should reveal some of the bottlenecks to innovation, that connect, enable, or impede change and the green transition, from a systemic perspective. The project will depart from the point of businesses as change agents and their change processes as part of the green transition, in specific innovative and green sectors. Project objectives: To understand the role of businesses as change agents in green transitions. To understand how systems and place-based innovation policies influence transformative processes within sectors. To understand what bottlenecks to innovative change needs to be resolved in order to facilitate green transitions in different sectors. Nordregio’s researchers will conduct three qualitative case studies from across the Nordic Region. The project will result in a report and policy brief in 2024. A discussion paper will be published in June 2022, followed by a webinar on innovation and the green transition in the autumn of 2022.

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.

A Just Green Transition in rural areas: local benefits from value creation

Rural areas can play a very important role in the green transition as far the majority of natural resources are located here. There may, however, be a real risk that the rural areas end up working merely as instruments to national and international agendas and as engines for the urban areas without any real local benefits for the rural communities and rural populations. So, how to make green transition just for all parties? The main objective of this research project is to examine a just green transition in rural areas in theNordic region and explore measures on how local value creation can be ensured from the greentransition in the rural communities. Focus rests on two interrelated pillars: Energy transitions and related land use planning and measures to rurally proof them, Value created out of these transition efforts for the benefit of rural areas. A literature review will outline key concepts and working definitions, and a Discussion paper will be published in spring 2022. Nordic policy priorities and challenges are compiled in a Policy Overview and Policy Brief in the summer of 2022. Place-based examples of just and/or unjust transitions will be explored in case studies around the Nordics during the summer and fall of 2022. The results will be discussed in workshops and partnerships for green transition will be supported by experts and compiled in report and disseminated during winter of 2022-2023. This project is part of the Nordic collaboration and the Thematic group: Green and Inclusive Rural Development in the Nordics (2021-2024).

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…

Service provision and access to services in Nordic rural areas – secure, trusted and for all ages

Nordic municipal and regional authorities play a central role in delivering key public services in areas, such as, health, education, and social care. Yet, public authorities have faced several challenges, including demographic change caused by an aging population and uneven population development, lack of access to labor force and adequate skills, long periods of austerity after the 2008 financial crisis, and the COVID-19 Pandemic. Public service delivery trends in the Nordics points to the increasing spatial concentration of physical services as well as the increase of web-based and digital solutions. Based in dialogue with the Nordic thematic group for Green and Inclusive Rural Development, which is a part of the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning, the objective of this project is to analyse how essential service needs for different types of societal groups and ruralities can be understood and defined, and how solutions to rural service provision challenges can be organized. It shall also address what role public policies play to ensure that adequate actions are in place for ensuring good rural public or co-created services. Finally, the project shall develop and share valuable input to policymakers and planners at national, regional, local, and cross-border level on safe, secure and trusted service delivery models and partnerships across different Nordic rural and sparsely populated communities. The project tasks are outlined as following: Step 1 of the project includes a desk study on what are essential future services for different societal groups in Nordic ruralities. The essential service needs will be compared with existing rural development policies, and perspectives from national and regional experts, to identify prioritisations and policy improvements. This will result in a report on essential services in the Nordic Region. Step 2 will map Nordic service provision, including methods and tools used for cooperation and involvement…

BioBaltic – Nordic-Baltic cooperation within bio-circular-economy

The project aims at deepening Nordic-Baltic cooperation around bio-circular-economy. Both – Nordic and Baltic countries are rich in biological and renewable resources and have a long tradition in utilizing these resources for generating economic growth through the traditional sectors, such as forestry, agriculture, and fisheries, as well as related sectors including food processing, tourism etc. This project provides a platform for generating awareness of different bioeconomy models through peer-to-peer learning and building networks across Baltic and Nordic countries. This collaboration will enable knowledge generation and exchange among multiple actors, including youth. The collaboration will focus on different aspects of bioeconomy transition, including financing aspects, industrial partnerships and symbiosis or the opportunities of digitalisation. A two-way learning channel will be established between each Baltic country and the Nordic Countries through Nordregio. The ‘Mobile Learning Hubs’ (MLHs), coordinated by the NCM offices in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, will collect and disseminate practical and scientific knowledge on bio-circular-economy, in collaboration with local actors.

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.

eMSP Project: Emerging ecosystem-based Maritime Spatial Planning topics in North and Baltic Seas Region

The aim of the eMSP project for the North Sea and the Baltic Sea Regions is to enable Maritime Spatial Planners and policymakers to reflect on current MSP practices, to learn effectively from each other, and to collectively identify MSP challenges and solutions. This will provide new knowledge and information to national governments and the European Commission on the development and implementation of effective MSP approaches that can deal with future challenges and opportunities afforded by the sea in a coherent way and with involvement of industry, academia and non-governmental organisations. The project is built around a Community of Practice (CoP) model, which is based on creating forums for policymakers, practitioners and researchers to discuss important MSP developments in key thematic areas. Activities to be conducted through the CoPs will enable maritime policymakers and professionals to adequately address future challenges in the maritime environment by improving the design, implementation and monitoring of Maritime Spatial Plans, and using the best available knowledge from science and innovation. As part of the project, Nordregio is responsible for facilitating CoP activities and drawing lessons learned from how the CoP approach functions in practice and the challenges and benefits such forums present for MSP development and implementation processes. 

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…

Arena for Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions

The Arena is a space of dialogue and co-creation within the Nordic Thematic Group for Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions (TGC). This space is designed to establish bridges between the thematic group work and other researchers and other actors in policy and practice fields, as well as to provide input to the ongoing regional development studies. In the upcoming years, TGC aims at producing new knowledge on green, innovative, and resilient regions in the Nordic context and contribute with Nordic added value. It also intends to function as a hub for knowledge exchange for Nordic senior-level officials from the national level, regional level, and cross-border regions. This becomes particularly important today when we are pointing towards a ‘Green Transition’ and post-Covid-19 recovery. In the series of open and targeted events organised within the Arena, participants will be encouraged to reflect on the implications that the themes at stake have on regional development and planning. Particular attention will be placed on identifying the nuances that should be considered when thinking of different regional typologies (urban, rural, border, island, etc). This effort will also contribute to deliver better grounded policy recommendations deriving from the thematic group’s work. On the Arena: How will the climate crisis and post-Covid situation influence the way we travel?Guest speakers:• Jonas Eliasson, Director of Swedish Transport Authority and Visiting Professor at Linköping University• Jan Hanses, President and CEO of Viking Line• Anna Engblom, Senior Advisor Infrastructure and Green Charter at Greater Copenhagen Regional Leadership – Who should lead the Green Transition?Guest speakers:• Markku Sotarauta, a professor of regional development studies in the Faculty of Management and Business at Tampere University, Finland.• Bjarne Jensen, an urban strategist at the Strategic Urban Governance Programme; Danish Architecture Center (DAC).

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.

Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems

Lokalt ägandeskap i omställning till hållbara energisystem Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems is a three-year research project that will explore the role of local ownership in facilitating successful energy transitions in Sweden. Additionally, the project will focus on how local ownership can be facilitated through for instance public participation processes or community energy projects. Local and citizen ownership are highlighted by the EU as important for the energy transition. A qualitative, participatory research design will explore these subjects. Case studies and a knowledge exchange network are used to co-create knowledge with stakeholders on how to foster participation and ownership in energy transitions with the goal to produce consistent policy recommendations. The Swedish Energy Agency funded project will increase knowledge on the role of local ownership as a contributor to transitions towards sustainable energy systems.

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.