Extended deadline to submit abstracts for “Challenged ruralities: Nordic welfare states under pressure”

Call for abstracts: We invite you to submit abstracts for the 5th Nordic Conference for Rural Research, in which Nordregio contributes with the discussion and the working group on bioeconomy policies. The deadline is extended to January 1, 2018.


In recent years, the Nordic welfare states have been under pressure due to globalization, neoliberalism, the financial crisis, climate change, migration, etc. Although the welfare states still form the backbone of the Nordic countries and still secure democracy, the former division of labour between the state, market and civil society is no longer functioning as it once did. In many ways, the welfare states seem to have withdrawn, been transformed or become centralized with the responsibility for performing many functions being given to the private sector or civic societies. This is true for rural areas where a range of municipal and public reforms have had a significant and rapid impact on public services and enlarged distances to citizens.

The fifth Nordic Rural Research Conference will explore the extent to which the changes we are witnessing today will influence rural areas and rural research in the Nordic countries.

The conference will focus on the following four themes:

  1. Politics, governance, local capacities
  2. Infrastructure and services
  3. Demography and mobility
  4. Agriculture, forestry and fisheries

Please, send your proposal directly to the working group convener and to the conference email: [email protected] before the 1 January, 2018. See list of working groups.


Nordregio organizes one of the discussions which will focus on governance and policies related to bioeconomy:

4.3 Overcoming institutional constraints inhibiting the transition towards a ‘new’ bioeconomy. Enhancing governance and policy frameworks


Michael Kull (Senior Research Fellow) & Karen Refsgaard (Research Director/Deputy Director), Nordregio, [email protected]

Margareta Dahlström & Ida Grundel (Karlstad University), Sirpa Kurppa & Hilkka Vihinen (LUKE Finland), John Bryden & Knut Øistad (Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, NIBIO


Rural and coastal areas in Norden and elsewhere see the emergence of new innovative products and services as part of a transition to a ‘new’ bio economy. These products and services are land-based, i.e. related to forestry, agriculture etc. They also include marine-based activities, such as aquaculture, coastal tourism etc. as well as the production of bioenergy. This transition leads to both an increased demand for biomass and its multiple use. At the same time, the increasing interests on how to use the land, coastal areas and sea space may also lead to conflicts due to multiple use and interest.

The transformation of the current economy into a ‘new’ bio economy requires thus adaptive / changed institutional frameworks at regional and national level. Sensitivity to place-based knowledge and other types of resources are key factors in this transition, too.

To better understand the institutional constraints inhibiting the transition towards a ‘new’ bio economy, we invite papers that consider the following aspects:

– Regulatory and policy structures, practices, ownership and user rights aspects related to land use and processes within biomass production

– Initiatives for local innovation networks

– Increased understanding of who are the key stakeholders within different sectors, representing different interests within the ‘new’ bio economy.

– Conflicts between users and uses of land / coasts / sea and their bio resources

– Social and economic impacts and outcomes

– Place-based policy instruments for the new bio economy

We welcome insights from different social science disciplines, legal studies and critical economic approaches. We encourage papers with a geographical focus also beyond the Nordic countries.


Presentations followed by interactive panel

Abstract forwarded to: [email protected] and [email protected] before 1 January 2018

The conference “Challenged ruralities: Nordic welfare states under pressure” will take place in Vingsted, Denmark, 14-16 May 2018.

Find more information about the conference here.