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18 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.

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. Discussion paper on “The Systems Perspectives on Green Innovation”

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 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…

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. Discussion paper on Digitalisation of Food Systems

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

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

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).

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.

Welfare Institutes in Sparsely Populated Areas (WIiSPA)

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

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

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

Waste Management in High North – new cross-border business opportunities (WANO)

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 WANO project studies cross-border business and innovation opportunities in High North, applied to the field of waste management. The study analyses cross-border business opportunities in the Barents Region and High North but also highlights specific geopolitical characteristics, as well as social aspects of cross-border waste management cooperation in High North. It develops an analytical framework to study cross-border business and innovation cooperation  and applies it to the field of waste management (municipal and industrial waste) the neighbouring cross-border regions of Troms and Finnmark in Norway and Murmansk Oblast in Russia. Lead partner of the study is NORCE. Other research partners include Kola Science Center in Apatity, Russia and the Nordic research institute Nordregio. The non-research organisations,  Remiks and RaskRetur, waste management practitioners in Troms and Finnmark, provide their expertise and contacts to WANO project and actively participate in project implementation.

Marint Gränsforum Skagerrak – external evaluation

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

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

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

En bättre sits – evaluation

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

Ensuring inclusive economic growth in the transition to a green economy

This research project analyses how the Nordic countries can accelerate the green transition towards a climate-neutral economy. All Nordic countries have committed to ambitious goals for the green transition of their economies. At the same time, they are experiencing economic declines due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They also face structural challenges such as population ageing and population decline, which are particularly pronounced in rural and remote areas. This research project will contribute to the discussion on how to restart the Nordic economies and accelerate the green transition towards a climate-neutral economy while ensuring that these processes are inclusive. Nordregio is responsible for several working packages: WP1 will analyse the distributive effects of climate policies. This will include analysing how gaps between richer and poorer population groups and regions have developed since the last economic crisis (Task 2) and how such differences might be affected by ongoing and planned climate policies (Task 1). The project will also explore how socio-economic gaps between regions link to emerging ‘geographies of discontent’, where people in more peripheral communities across Norden develop a fear of being left behind. WP2 shall contribute to our understanding of the regional preconditions in which the green transition takes place. First, this will include a comparative analysis of the different countries’ regional policies (Task 3). We will analyse which types of policies have the best effect in strengthening economic development outside of the bigger city regions. Second, this WP will analyse how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the conditions and progress of the green transition and offer recommendations on how to move forward (Task 4). Nordregio is also in charge of the administration and communication of the project. The project is led by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ finance sector (MR-Finans) in cooperation with the regional sector (MR-R) as well…

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.