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How will climate policies hit Nordic wallets and welfare in the future?

How we consume, how we travel, how we heat our homes. Many far-reaching changes will be necessary to prevent further climate change. But who will end up paying for them? Spanning across timezones and academic fields, Nordregio launched the report with a widely anticipated online event last week, with the title: “What impact do climate change policies have on Nordic economies, industries, and households?”  The newly launched report is the first of four parts to the project Ensuring Inclusive Growth in the Transition to a Green Economy (EnIGG). The primary focus of this project is to look closer at vulnerable regions and population groups in a time where Nordic economies face grand transitions and looming climate change realities. Ambitious climate goals will not be met for free, but who will pay the highest price for them? This question was the central theme of the launch event. The report is based on a complex model that measures the impact of climate policies on GDP, industry outputs, employment and cost of living at national and regional levels.  The model, called Nordic-TERM, is a newly developed and covers almost the entire Nordic Region.  Professors Peter B Dixon and Maureen Rimmer demonstrated this model by showing the audience what happens when you estimate the impact of  three central greenhouse policies: The key finding is that ambitious climate policies related to transport and energy can be implemented without causing significant disruptions to the Nordic economies. With the exception of Sweden, these policies would not be sufficient to meet climate targets, but they would go a long way in reducing emissions without significant sectoral or structural effects. Ending the presentation with this insightful perspective on the value of this report, the audience was led straight into the panel debate, moderated by Kirsi Heikel, renowned journalist and…

Exploring the bioeconomy status quo in the Baltics

The BioBaltic project has published a storymap series that overviews the bioeconomy development in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Both – Nordic and Baltic countries are rich in biological and renewable resources and have a long tradition of utilizing them for generating social and economic benefits through the traditional sectors, such as forestry, agriculture, and fisheries, as well as in manufacturing and related sectors such as tourism. As we transition into a green economy, there is a huge potential for innovation to develop new goods and services from biological resources while creating value locally. In the past year, the project partners across the Baltics have investigated the state of the art of bioeconomy and developed their visions for further bioeconomy development. Their learnings have been summarised in the following storymaps. Press on the picture to access the storymaps: About the project The BioBaltic 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 on different aspects of the bioeconomy transition, including financing aspects, industrial partnerships and symbiosis or the opportunities of digitalisation. Project partners from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are running so-called “Mobile Learning Hubs” and the overall project is coordinated by Nordregio. Funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the project runs from October 2021 until September 2023.

Nordregio at GreenLab Summit 2022

Karen Refsgaard, Research Director at Nordregio, will participate at GreenLab Summit 2022 presenting on the topic “Rural Development and Just Green Transition”. GreenLab is a green and circular energy park, a technology enabler, and a national research facility. It is specialized in accelerating research and technology to scale, and its concept transforms the way green energy is produced, converted, stored, and applied. GreenLab tests theories in practice and looks for viable green solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. This year, the program of the summit focuses on how to create green growth, rural development, and a just green transition through industrial symbioses and energy innovation. At Nordregio, we have collaborated with GreenLab on several projects on bio-economy including the BioBaltic project. Nordregio has also had a joint event together with GreenLab and OECD at COP26 in Glasgow. Read more about the GreenLab Summit 2022 here.

Nordregio co-moderates a panel discussion on the topic ´The role of regions in the Green Transition´  

“The transition towards a green economy cannot be achieved with either policy or technological innovations alone. Actions are needed at multiple scales to transform the interlinked social and technical systems. However, rather than aiming for a single grand solution or ‘holy grail’, different regions may find solutions appropriate to the locally available resources, knowledge, and networks,” says Alberto Giacometti, Research Fellow at Nordregio. Giacometti, Nordregio researcher, together with Virginija Kargytė, Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania, will facilitate a discussion on this topic on 5th of May at 10:00 EET at the 3rd International Scientific Conference “Sustainable Bioeconomy Development 2022: Theory and Practice”. As part of the BioBaltic project, this session is meant to provide inspiration on how different regions and municipalities have mobilised change towards a green economy as well as to generate exchange across the Nordics and Baltics. Read more about the session and register here:

Nordregio’s position regarding the funding of research and research collaboration with Russia and Belarus

The Council of Nordic Ministers decided as of March 4, 2022, to immediately discontinue all collaborative efforts with Russia and Belarus. The Nordic Ministers for Cooperation stand united in this decision. This means that programs, projects, and activities in Russia and Belarus are discontinued until further notice. In light of the stance put forth by the Nordic Ministers for Cooperation, Nordregio issues a moratorium as regards the disbursal of project funds, the acceptance of applications, the execution of projects, and the entry into agreements and the like that involve Russian and Belarusian parties. The intention is to end all contacts and collaborative efforts with governmental and public institutions of Russian or Belarusian origin. “Intellectual and cultural engagement between individuals is an important prerequisite to creating cohesion and mutual understanding between countries. It is devastating that this war in this way will affect cooperation in academia, research and culture – fields that are meant to serve as tools for mitigating conflicts, building global understanding across borders and supporting people-to-people contacts. The Director reserves the right to decide whether specific contacts and collaborative efforts are appropriate on a case-by-case basis if the circumstances change in the future,” says Nordregio Director Rolf Elmér. Nordregio has been involved with four projects with one or several Russian counterparts: FemArc, Semper Arctic, WANO and Accelerating wood construction across Nordics and Russia. All of these projects have been halted.

Nordregio welcomes new researchers!

Nordregio is welcoming two new researchers to our team, hoping to continue producing high-quality and relevant research further.  Ana de Jesus, Senior Research Fellow. De Jesus is a social scientist with a multidisciplinary background working at the intersection of global studies and economics, focusing on innovation, circular economy and sustainability. Hilma Salonen is joining Nordregio as a Research Fellow. Salonen is a social scientist who specialises in sustainability transitions, remote locations and energy politics, with a PhD focusing on Russian regional development in the Arctic and how it links with renewable energy prospects. She aims to broaden her scope to include Finnish rural regions and explore making sustainability transitions more just by focusing on habits. Salonen’s hope for working at Nordregio is to work with more practical results and more engagement with the general public.


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BioBaltic: Nordic-Baltic Cooperation on circular bioeconomy

On the 11th of November, Nordregio together with Baltic partners started a two-year cooperation journey on circular bioeconomy by kicking off the BioBaltic project. Both – Nordic and Baltic countries are rich in biological and renewable resources and have a long tradition in utilizing them for generating social and economic benefits through the traditional sectors, such as forestry, agriculture, and fisheries, as well as in manufacturing and related sectors such as tourism. As we transition into a green economy, there is a huge potential for innovation to develop new goods and services from biological resources while creating value locally. The BioBaltic project provides a platform for researchers, public authorities, businesses and cluster organisations for generating awareness of different bio-economy models through peer-to-peer learning and building networks across Baltic and Nordic countries. The project activities will be carried out by Mobile Learning Hubs (MLH) in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. MLHs are participatory mobile learning units that collect and disseminate practical and scientific knowledge, in collaboration with local actors. These combine at least one research partner, a business partner and/or local authority in addition to the Nordic Council of Ministers’ offices in each country. Nordregio is leading the project and communications activities, including the production of country-based storymaps. Funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the project runs until September 2023.

Nordregio Researchers at COP26

Nordregio Research Director Karen Refsgaard and Senior Research Fellow Anna Lundgren are participating in the COP26 – United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021 by moderating a panel discussion on circular and bio-economy and presenting Just Green Transition. On the 4th of November, Karen Refsgaard, Research Director and Deputy Director, will moderate a panel discussion called “Fostering circular and bio-economy – unleashing the potential with new business models” in the COP26 adjacent event “Rural Regions-Realising the net-zero opportunity”. The event is organized by OECD and Scottish Enterprise in partnership with the United Kingdom and Scotland.  On the 6th of November, Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow, will participate in the Nordic climate action Talkshow. Dr Lundgren will join a panel discussion called “Just Transition – social injustice and stolen futures” and present the “Not “Just” a Green Transition – Examining the path towards a socially just green transition in the Nordic Region” project.  “What are the perceptions of the green transition among people in different regions and in different social groups in the Nordic region? In this Nordic Council of Ministers’ project we will have a special focus on vulnerable groups in seeking knowledge to how we can create policies for a just green transition,” says Anna Lundgren. Nordic climate action Talkshow is a joint event between the Nordic Pavilion in Glasgow and the Nordic COP26 Hub in Helsinki.

Nordregio at the Arctic Circle Assembly 2021

Nordregio researchers Anna Karlsdóttir and Ágúst Bogason participate in Arctic Circle Assembly 2021 – the largest annual international gathering on the Arctic. They will present the Nordic Arctic Cooperation Programme and moderate a session. Dr Anna Karlsdóttir, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, will participate in the “Arctic Blue Bioeconomy: Effects of the Covid-19 pandemic” event, presenting the topic “Nordic Arctic Cooperation Programme: Innovation-driven and job-generating blue bioeconomy in the Nordic Arctic region after COVID-19”. The Nordic Council of Ministers organizes this event together with Nordregio, Nordic Research Center for Regional Development and Planning, NORA, and the Nordic Atlantic Cooperation.  The researcher will also moderate a section for the Icelandic institute of international affairs from the University of Iceland. “The session “Innovation for a New Arctic” focuses on a discussion between scientists, policymakers, representatives from the business sector, and young social entrepreneurs in the Arctic region. A real discourse among these different actors on the challenges facing the Arctic and what needs to be done to meet them is of great importance for the prospects of the Arctic Region,” says Karlsdóttir. Arctic Circle is the largest network of international dialogue and cooperation focusing on the future of the Arctic and of our planet. It is an open democratic platform with participation from governments, organizations, corporations, universities, think tanks, environmental associations, indigenous communities, concerned citizens, and others. Arctic Circle is also non-profit and nonpartisan.  Find more about the Nordic Arctic Cooperation Programme here. Find more about the Arctic Circle Assembly here.

Nordregio at Rural Research Day 2021

Research has shown that rural areas own enormous development potential when it comes to value creation and employment in green conversion. Public-private partnerships, industrial communities, and sustainability as common goals are among the tools that ensure green success. This topic is the focus of a presentation given by Dr. Karen Refsgaard, Research Director and Deputy Director at Nordregio at the Rural Research Day 2021. Rural Research Day is part of a larger plan to bring together researchers and practitioners from areas that are important to rural development, with the hope of promoting knowledge-based rural development. Proximity, sustainable development in rural areas, and the connection between country and city are among the main themes of this year’s conference hosted by “Landdistrikternes Fællesråd” in Denmark. During the conference, Dr. K. Refsgaard will give a presentation about the green transition in Nordic rural areas and will discuss best practices and paths to success. The Nordregio Research Director will also describe some of the challenges that can hinder the process of a fair green transition. “What is the green transition without rural areas? The bioresources and their related human and institutional resources are very much located in rural and coastal areas in the Nordic countries. Green investments from pension funds are ready to invest in long-term sustainability. Digitalization demands new skills and new businesses for development in rural areas”, says Dr. K. Refsgaard. According to the Nordregio Research Director, the Covid-19 has put in a boost for new working habits and new ways of living in rural areas. She highlights that there is a need for rural areas in order to improve the green transition. In the conference, examples from BeUBio project (Young people leading the way to a sustainable economy) will be highlighted during the presentation. Find more about the project and read…

Youth leadership practices in the circular economy shared with CBSS

Sustainable management and use of Earth’s natural resources have been at the core of public debates aiming for a fast post-pandemic recovery. In the Baltic Sea region, a lot of focus is drawn on resource-intensive sectors such as textiles, food, constructions, plastics and the support to sustainable future proofing companies. The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) is organizing a seminar to promote knowledge and good practices in the region and to take further steps on circular economy and sustainability. The event “Sustainable and green transformations of the resource-intensive industry sectors in the Baltic Sea Region”, taking place on 26 May, gathers representatives from EU organizations, national ministries, academia and business clusters to discuss how different stakeholders could support the green transition. Nordregio’s Research Fellow Alberto Giacommeti is invited to share perspectives on what opportunities and challenges young leaders face while transitioning towards the circular economy in the Baltic Sea Region: “Stories from young leaders across the Baltic Sea Region reveal a generational readiness for moving towards the circular economy, and also that they are capable of leading this transition. While they are rapidly conquering new grounds, young people remain challenged by mental barriers and access to finance. Supporting young leaders will ensure not only increased sustainability but also innovation and competitiveness.” Find out more about the young bioeconomy entrepreneurs on BeUBio platform and more about the event on CBSS website:

Nordregio Research Fellow speaks at Arctic Science Summit Week

Nordregio Research Fellow Leneisja Jungsberg takes part in the Arctic Science Summit Week 2021. Leneisja Jungsberg, Research Fellow a Nordregio, will participate on 25 March at Arctic Science Summit Week 2021. The event takes place online between 19 and 26 March, focusing on the dramatic physical, biogeochemical and socio-economical changes that the Arctic coast is going through. The aim of the session Nordregio’s Leneisja Jungsberg participates in is to bring together researchers, indigenous partners and community members who are studying, predicting, modelling and living with these dramatic coastal and nearshore changes across the Arctic. The causes for this decline are numerous and count environmental factors such as warming air temperatures, declining sea ice, permafrost thaw and more. Increasing erosion rates lead to the release of large amounts of organic matter and contaminants to the nearshore zone and the upper shelf, transforming the ecosystem and altering trophic systems. It is also putting new pressures on Arctic coastal dynamics with the loss of landscapes and cultural heritage sites as well as damages on infrastructure creating stress and uncertainty in local communities. The scope of the event is to ultimately provide critical information to support future planning, mitigation and adaptation measures of these changing permafrost coastal landscapes. Arctic Science Summit Week 2021 is co-organized by the EU H2020 Nunataryuk and the NSF PerCS-Net project and is a contribution to the coastal processes action group of T-MOSAiC. Find out more about the event!

Open call for picture submission

Help Nordregio to visualise life in the Nordic cross-border areas during COVID-19 Do you live in a Nordic cross-border area? Or have you visited any of these areas before or during the pandemic? Maybe you took a bunch of pictures there? The cross-border communities are facing many challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic and closed borders. Life is not the same any more – many have had to change their daily life and work routines. Nordregio researchers are working on several projects in relation to this situation and you will hear about them very soon. To complement the studies and raise awareness about the current challenges, we would like to ask you to contribute with pictures from Nordic cross-border regions. Guidelines for submission: The submitted picture is made by the person who is submitting; One person can submit up to 5 pictures; The pictures are taken in cross-border areas in the Nordics; The caption describes the location, time and situation portrayed; If people are portrayed in the picture, and their face is recognizable, their signed consent to publish a picture should be provided; If people in the picture are under 18 years old, the parents’ signed consent to publish the picture should be provided; The pictures size is min 1 MB – max 16 MB; The picture formats are jpg, jpeg, png. Share your pictures by the 5th of March! The pictures will be used to illustrate Nordregio’s scientific publications and communications material related to the studies. The submissions are not subsidized but a clear reference to the author will be made. If you have any questions or concerns, please, contact

Nordregio is hiring: Head of GIS Department

Nordregio is inviting applications for a senior position as Head of GIS Department. Working at Nordregio means an opportunity to become part of a truly international research environment with a focus on sustainable regional development in the Nordic region and beyond. It offers significant career development potential in terms of enhancing your competences through applied and policy relevant research, achieving an international network of contacts, as well as getting extensive experience in team and project management. You will also get rich opportunities to collaborate with regional and municipal stakeholders in the Nordic countries. Nordregio is currently seeking a new Head of GIS Department with: Expertise in GIS, geo-data, quantitative analysis, and applied research in the field of regional development. Experience in leading a team and managing projects as well as a successful track record in grant applications. Knowledge in geographies and socio-economic trends in the Nordic Region and beyond. A drive for working in teams and in an international applied research environment. Eagerness to present and disseminate results to different stakeholder groups, both orally and in written format. Competences and qualifications As Head of GIS Department, you both lead and manage the GIS-team by planning and organising tasks and activities, communicate with each team member and contribute to their development. You are also a project manager with responsibilities to attract, initiate and lead externally funded research and innovation projects. The geographic scope of your field of interest includes a European and international perspective and expert knowledge in at least one of the Nordic countries. We appreciate abilities in external networking and in communication with stakeholders. Internally we appreciate analytical and creative skills, complemented by abilities to both cooperate and work on your own. For this position, you have at least 6 years of relevant work experience and an extensive network…

Bioeconomy – a super force for the Nordic region?

A new article written by Nordregio researchers shines a light on the benefits and advantages of bioeconomy for regional development in the Nordic region, showing that many new jobs were created over the past years in rural areas When we speak about bioeconomy, we refer to a model of economy built on land- and marine-based natural resources including eco-system services and biowaste. In a newly published article, “Bioeconomy – a driver for regional development in the Nordic countries”, Nordregio researchers Karen Refsgaard, Michael Kull, Elin Slätmo and Mari Wøien Meijer analyzed employment statistics and empirical cases to show the ways in which the new bioeconomy contributes to more environmentally and socially sustainable economic growth. The article, “Bioeconomy – a driver for regional development in the Nordic countries”, was published on October 9th, 2020 and can be viewed as a first attempt at understanding and identifying the regional economic and social impacts of the new bioeconomy, such as the fact that it creates many jobs, from below 15% to above 22% of all jobs, especially in rural areas. However, developing a bio-based and circular economy signifies that a team effort must be made, education, research and bioresource-suppliers, NGO’s and in particular together with the public sector having to work together. Furthermore, institutions need to go through a range of innovations. To learn more about the impact of bioeconomy in the Nordic countries, read the full article.

Small rural businesses taking the leap

How do small businesses adapt to the digital transformation? What are the strategies to overcome the digital divide? Nordregio has published a new report and a short policy brief together with illustrative online thematic stories to elaborate on the digital journey’s of small rural businesses, especially in tourism, manufacturing and bioeconomy in the Nordic countries and Latvia. Digitalisation holds considerable potential for rural areas as it offers the promise of overcoming geographical distance, ensuring equal access to opportunity regardless of where people live. At the same time, rural and sparsely populated areas are thought to lag behind their urban counterparts when it comes to the provision of digital infrastructure and the development of digital knowledge and skills. These urban-rural disparities are often referred to as the digital divide and can prevent rural communities from unlocking the opportunities associated with digitalisation. Visit the publications and stories at the The Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017-2020 website

Welcome to spring webinars on rural digitalisation and attractiveness

This spring, Nordregio runs a series of webinars focusing on rural digitalisation and more specifically on manufacturing, tourism and bioeconomy. At the beginning of April, we shift to Rural Attractiveness: What makes some regions thrive and succeed when the general narrative on rural areas seems to be the opposite? Join to find out! Under the Events page, you will find more information and can sign up. Webinar series on digitalisation: 10, 17, 24 & 31th March: Digitalisation is often described as a global megatrend and is set to transform all elements of our economy, government and society. But what exactly does that mean at the local level? What are the implications for communities, businesses? What challenges are on the horizon? What are the opportunities and how can we make the most of these? And how should policy makers respond? Throughout March, Nordregio researchers will be joined by practitioners and experts in the field to explore these questions from a rural perspective. Read more and sign up A Webinar on Rural Attractiveness, 2nd April (POSTPONED, new date not set yet): What makes a rural region thrive? Nordregio has discovered 14 stories from the regions where population and employment rates are growing along with life satisfaction and pride to belong. The usual narrative on the rural regions tends to be the opposite. Join the webinar to hear from both the regions and researchers about what these municipalities and regions did differently.

Transition to a bioeconomy in Northwest Russia

Russia is a land of enormous natural resources as well as unique culture and complex governmental and taxation structures. When it comes to transforming traditional industry towards greener and recyclable processes, all those factors are intertwined. Nordregio studied the transition at the Republic of Karelia, Murmansk and Arkhangelsk oblast and how the transition to a bioeconomy in Northwest Russia has begun. On the other hand, some clear obstacles need to be overcome, like lack of knowhow and support mechanisms as well as the absence of a sustainability-based mindset before it can fully take off. Nordregio’s new publications Transition to a bioeconomy in Northwest Russia: regional cases of the Republic of Karelia and Murmansk oblast report and a Policy Brief called Transition to a bioeconomy in Northwest Russia – current potential and challenges describe the State-of-art transition process in Russia. Earlier study Bioeconomy in Northwest Russian region; Forest- and waste-based bioeconomy in the Arkhangelsk contributed to the outcome. All regions in question contain a vast amount of renewable biological resources from the sea, forest and land, but these are currently managed and exploited in a rather traditional way. Despite traditions, there are clear signs of change. For example, the use of recycled material is increasing, aquaculture is experiencing growth in Karelia, new blue bioproducts are researched in Murmansk, construction of wooden houses is gaining popularity in Karelia, and Arkhangelsk is a forerunner on environmentally-friendly practices in the forest industry in Russia using wood waste for bioenergy. Incentives from governmental bodies and somewhat independent regional level are supporting the increased processing of raw material but at the same time lack of knowledge and insights to bioeconomy in Northwest Russia prevents exploiting its full potential. Renewing traditional industries The traditional forestry and fishery industries play an important role in the regional economies. One…

2019 Iceland leads the Nordics towards sustainable tourism, and use of seas by activating youth

Iceland took over the Presidency of Nordic Council of Ministers for 2019. Youth arise to the center of the chairmanship. A recent report by Nordregio reveals, that young people feel they don’t get their voices heard. Also, the youth have adapted to a new multilocational lifestyle where they live, work and study in different locations. -All the Nordic countries are facing similar challenges when it comes to young people’s standard of living, says Aðalsteinn Thorsteinsson, the Icelandic member of the Nordregio board. Steady growth in tourism without harming the nature, or small communities The ruthless, and bare nature of the North offers beauty and silence to a steadily growing flow of tourists. Investments on infrastructure have made the growth possible. How can nature protection and growth go hand in hand? Director of Icelandic Regional Development Institute, Aðalsteinn Thorsteinsson: – Our most valuable and most sought-after asset is of course our fragile nature, culture and history. Especially in many of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland, we have reached the carrying capacity of nature. It is important that we share our experiences, mistakes and success stories, so that the Nordic countries can learn from each other. Nordregio and The Nordic Thematic Group for Sustainable Rural Development have started a research project “Rural tourism in the Nordic region” that focuses particularly on the sustainability aspect. Sustainable tourism takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities. The challenges of rural tourism include capacity constraints: is there money and workforce available, and how to manage seasonal variations? This study will be finalized by the end of 2019 with answers to these questions. Youth in the Arctic – How do they see their future? Young people are losing their…

Building a better future – the Nordic Way

Sustainable building and the new bioeconomy were in focus at the two Nordregio events at COP24. They were part of an extensive programme at the Nordic Pavilion, which for the fourth COP in a row created an exciting platform for dialogue and knowledge sharing. The UN Climate Summit was convened in Katowice, Poland, a heavily polluted coal town, where the need to change from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy was evident in the very air you breathe. The aim of COP24 is to create a rule book or a more concrete path towards realizing the lofty aspirations in the Paris agreement from COP21 in 2015. To highlight Nordic solutions and provide a venue for voices from both North and South, the Nordic Council of Minsters has for the last four years organized a Nordic Pavilion, where amongst many others Nordregio has contributed with events and speakers. Building and bioeconomy This year, Nordregio focused on energy efficiency in the building sector and the potential of the Nordic bioeconomy. This included a presentation based on the Interreg programme Social Green, that aims to increase the ability of European municipalities to make better use of funds for retrofitting old buildings to increase energy efficiency. Likewise, the bioeconomy event drew heavily on another Nordregio project, namely the State of the Nordic Region 2018 report published in February. – Buildings are one of the areas where there’s the most potential to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, said Nordregio Senior Research Advisor Ryan Weber in his presentation. The event also featured a presentation from James Drinkwater, European Director for the World Green Building Council as well as business panel with representatives from Rockwool, Danfoss and Velux, all companies heavily involved in securing a more innovative and sustainable building sector. In addition, a look…