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Digital inclusion in action

This project will contribute to an inclusive digital transition in the Nordic-Baltic societies by promoting collaboration, dialogue, and knowledge sharing between practitioners and policymakers in the different countries and autonomous territories. The Nordic and Baltic societies are among the most advanced in Europe on digitalisation and they continually rank high on the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). Digital literacy, digital skills and competences are all necessary to participate in the digital economy and society. With increased digitalisation, there is a risk that some groups lacking certain skills could be excluded, among these are elderly people, people with disabilities, persons with low or no education, young people between 15-25 as this group often struggle with communicating digitally with the public sector , immigrants that lack language skills, and people residing in rural areas. Digital exclusion can result in consequences such as people not having access to and receiving public services, lack of information about public services, social inequality, and social exclusion. Furthermore, COVID-19 has transformed the everyday lives of our citizens and businesses, increasing the importance of accessible, reliable, and usable digital public services. The project will develop a clear understanding of the key aspects that make up digital inclusion in the Nordic-Baltic region, including the potential effects of these aspects on different societal groups. The methods used will be both qualitative and quantitative such as data collection, literature review, surveys, case studies and interviews as well as seminars with networks of digitally vulnerable groups. An important part of this project is the close collaboration with a Nordic-Baltic reference group on digital inclusion, public agencies, civil society groups, and other research projects working with digital inclusion.   Furthermore, the project will develop maps that can visualise the status on access and capability in the Nordic-Baltic region and publish…

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…

BSRWood – Accelerating wood construction across the Baltic Sea Region

The BSRWood project is financed by the Swedish Institute to push the sustainable agenda in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) via wood construction. The BSRWood project boosts collaboration and knowledge transfer amongst a diverse group of partners and stakeholders across the BSR. Activities are organised to identify the key barriers and opportunities and explore possible steps ahead to enable the sector’s development. Replacing steel and cement with wood in construction is an effective way to cut emissions and capture carbon. It also has important advantages over other structural materials: low construction costs, low weight, easy processing, thermal insulation, etc. Hence, wood construction is gaining momentum worldwide as a means to achieve the ‘green transition’. A fast expansion of the sector brings many opportunities to the BSR i.e. exporting technology, generating value locally and quality jobs, and strengthening labour resilience. However, significant efforts are needed to mobilise actors, economic sectors, and society. Several challenges need attention to seize the opportunities of wood construction. Policy and regulatory innovations are needed for the industry to embrace modern technologies and scale up to increase the market share of wood buildings. Also, communication efforts are needed to change the mind-set of policy-makers, builders and citizens in relation to the fears of wood-materials. Increased cooperation between industries, technology providers, research and other players across the BSR will be mutually beneficial in developing the industry. Particularly, technology innovations, environmental practises, quality and safety standards, and expanding the market everywhere. The project organises a number of study tours, workshops and network building opportunities in Skellefteå (Sweden), Latvia and online, via which we strengthen partnerships, share knowledge, explore business opportunities, and exchange ideas. As a result, the project produces strong BSR networks, co-learning events, a list of future actions, and an agenda for future cooperation. Read the story and…

GreenFORCE

GreenFORCE aims at fostering excellence in scientific research and innovation on the green transition in the Western Balkans. It supports Co-PLAN in Albania, CEA in North Macedonia, and UB-GEF in Serbia by enhancing their research profile, strengthening research and management capacities of their staff, and contributing to convergence between Western Balkans and EU research capacities, as well as to wider policy initiatives for the Western Balkans region. The project’s objective is reached through the twinning partnership of five organisations that will work closely to produce territorial knowledge through exploratory research and institutional learning; will transfer and exchange knowledge among partner organisations through applying the knowledge management cycle; and will engage in networking for sharing, crossfertilizing and amplifying knowledge at the societal level. Ultimately, the ambition is to transcend from individual learning to enabling institutional learning, making sure that research and research management practices become institutionalised within the recipient organisations. GreenFORCE will enable pathways of cooperation, exchange, co-design, co-creation with academia, civil society and policy-makers at the regional level. Visit the project’s website for more information.

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…

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.

Transformative capacity in energy, food, and water (TANGO-W)

TANGO-W is an applied research project that uses Urban Transformative Capacities (UTC) at the interface of the food-energy-water nexus to tackle challenges associated with climate change and to encourage sustainable urban development. The food-energy-water nexus is a field of research which investigates the synergies and conflicts of the production, consumption, and scarcity of food, energy, and water systems. TANGO-W proposes tackling these challenges by using the concept of Urban Transformative Capacity (UTC). UTC encompasses the collective ability of all actors in an urban innovation ecosystem to conceive of, prepare for, initiate, and perform transformative change at social, organisational and ecosystem levels, thus enabling sustainable future development. The project focuses on two levels of capacity building: 1) the urban level, through the design and implementation of Urban Living Labs (ULL), and 2) the European level, through establishing a transdisciplinary Community of Practice (CoP) as an integrative coordinating transformation system. Both levels provide spaces for the development of UTC, thereby accelerating urban change in a sustainable direction. The project will result in policy recommendations for replication, training concepts, and pilot courses that support capacity building in the ULL cities—Weiz (AT), Kalgenfurt (AT), Stockholm (SE), Norrtälje (SE), Alytus (LT), Halden (NO), and Marker (NO). Nordregio coordinates the efforts of the Swedish partners (Campus Roslagen and the City of Stockholm), contributes to demonstration, peer learning, and analysis of UTC among all ULLs, and leads the communication and dissemination of the project. TANGO-W is a transnational project funded by ERA-NET Cofund Programme. This Programme, designed for the implementation of the European Research Area, aims to promote strategic cooperation between EU Member States and associated countries. Find the project website here.

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.

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”

Pandemics and Labour Migration (Delmi)

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

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.

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.

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-Helsingør 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.

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

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…

Measuring Urban Sustainability in Transition (MUST): Co-Designing Future Arctic Cities in the Anthropocene 

MUST project seeks to organize wide-ranging collaborations among the international Arctic research community that will facilitate convergent research on the natural, social, and built environment transitions taking place in and around Arctic cities now and in the future. Arctic cities face multiple challenges from a changing environment, deteriorating infrastructure, and new pressures on the governance system. The key drivers behind these challenges are the changing climate, the accelerating energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables, demographic pressures, and demands for equity. In order to respond effectively, policy makers need a clear set of indicators that will help them measure changes in the natural environment to devise infrastructure and governance strategies that will assist Arctic cities to achieve future prosperity. A long-term research agenda and platform around Arctic urban sustainability as well as using cities and indicators as the centralizing organizing theme helps to integrate diverse theories and empirical evidence with new data. The focus on Arctic urban spaces and inclusion of Russia and other international partners addresses areas that need more attention. Creation of the indicators will establish a solid foundation for starting community conversations, clarifying values, measuring both the status quo and progress going forward, and understanding the linkages among the various elements of urban sustainability in extreme climatic conditions. The indicators introduce a shared vocabulary and explicit measures and assumptions that will allow studies across a variety of disciplines to validate, challenge and speak to each other. This collaboratory effort builds on previous NSF-funded work that developed a database measuring 128 indicators across 19 topics in 46 Arctic cities providing a snapshot of current conditions. This effort will make it possible to develop theories and test hypotheses in the natural, social, and urban planning sciences by adding historical data to the existing dataset making it possible to explore…

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.

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).

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…

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.