Organiser: Anna Karlsdóttir, Senior Research Fellow, Nordregio

Speakers: Peter Möller, Region Dalarna, Rikke Brandt Broegaard, CRT, Center for Regional and Tourism Research (Denmark), Anna Dóra Sæþórsdóttir, University of Iceland

How can regions with sold out natural attractions deal with carrying capacity issues? What is the role of young adults in shaping and changing rural development through tourism. Who are the new voices in making rural destinations attractive in the Nordic countries? What kind of regionalism should guide sustainable tourism development?


Organiser: Research Director Karen Refsgaard, Nordregio

Speakers: David Langlet, University of Gothenburg
Egon Noe, Danish Centre for Rural Research
Sveinn Margeisson, MATIS
Urd Grandorf Bak, Ocean Rainforest
Thea Lyng Thomsen, GreenLab Skive in Region Midtjylland

How to ensure that a competitive bioindustry contribute to rural development, to sustainable resource management, to resilient and diverse ecosystems and to inclusive economic development?

“The bioeconomy is of fundamental importance to the national economies of the Nordic countries, especially for rural development in large parts of the region”. It is an economy based on land and marine-based natural resources producing vital goods and services.  The Nordic Region is a major producer of primary biomass – approximately 30% of Europe’s forest production and more than 50% of the total marine harvest in Europe, but differ widely between areas from fish, aquaculture and macroalgae being abundant in the West Nordic countries, forests being of main importance in Sweden, and Finland and animal manure of main importance in Denmark. The opportunities for their use are vast, ranging from food to fibre, from medicines to energy to tourism. However, all of these are dependent upon a sustainable management of biological resources and a fair distribution of economic benefits. The newly developed Nordic Strategy for Bioeconomy from 2018 combines environmental, social and economic ambitions for a more sustainable Region. The vision is based on four points:

  • Competitive bio-based industries
  • Sustainable resource management
  • Resilient and diverse ecosystems
  • Inclusive economic development

As land and marine areas are key for these biological and human activities increasing competition between uses are likely to occur. The areas are also integral parts of ecosystems and indispensable for biodiversity and the carbon cycle. The regulation of ownership and management of land and sea, and user rights to the land, the sea and freshwater resources, or to the key products and services arising from them, is therefore crucial for their sustainable development potential. Such rights, their allocation and distribution, taxation and associated rules, determine productivity and the distribution of costs and benefits, including related public goods and ”bads”.

David Langlet is a professor and the holder of the newly established chair in Ocean governance law at the School of Business, Economics and Law, at Göteborg Universitet. Furthermore, Mr. Langlet is a member of the steering committee of the Swedish Mariculture Research Center (SWEMARC) and Ambassador / Coordinator of Maritime governance in the Maritime Cluster of West Sweden. His research has touched on a wide range of topics in the fields of environmental law, law of the sea, energy law, and international economic law.
Sveinn Margeirsson acts as CEO of Matis since 2010. Mr Margeirsson’s research experience includes working with several seafood companies, farmers, IT companies and universities, in Iceland and internationally. He has supervised MSc and PhD students and played an active role in science and innovation policy making in Iceland and Bioeconomy policy making in Europe.
Thea Lyng Thomsen is a Development Consultant with a focus on culture, innovation and impact at GreenLab Skive, located in Skive Municipality, Central Region Denmark. With a degree in human science Ms Thea Lyng Thomsen has worked with culture and social innovation and methods for securing optimal inter-relations, trust building in a business development perspective.
Ólavur Gregersen is the CEO of Ocean Rainforest and has more than 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur and international consultant, as well as non-executive Director in several innovative companies and projects. He is the founding partner of Syntesa Partners & Associates which provides research and innovation services within business development, project management and socio-economic impact analysis. Furthermore, he has been the coordinator of the European FP7 project ALL-SMART-PIGS, the Nordic Innovation project WhiteFishMaLL and MacroValue; and the NORA project MacroBiotech and TaraTekstil. He is the Dissemination and Exploitation Manager of the European H2020 BioBased Industry project “Macro Cascade”, and the Technical Director of the US ARPA-E funded project “MacroSystems”.


Organisers: North Calotte Council, Region Skåne and Region Norrbotten

Speakers: Paula Mikkola, Secretary General, Regional Council of Lapland, North Calotte Council
Jenny Mozgovoy, Senior Adviser International Affairs, County Council of Norrbotten
Carin Peters, Business Developer, Region Skåne

The objectives of Nordic cross-border cooperation are very similar to the regional reforms; to secure the provision and delivery of high-quality services while keeping the costs at a reasonable level. Cooperation becomes challenging in the changing circumstances; local and regional actors do not know any more which organization or person in the new organization has the responsibility for joint issues. They do not know neither who has the mandate to make decisions in the new organizations, nor on which level different decisions are made.

During 2019-2020, the Nordic thematic group on Sustainable Rural Development will carry out a project that has focus on the impact of municipal and regional reforms. The project will make an overview of recent reforms, discuss governance issues in this context, and propose alternative scenarios to mergers, for example.

This thematic session will give some concrete examples of Nordic cross-border cooperation today on municipal and regional levels, and discuss how the planned reforms may affect the existing co-operational structures and agreements.


Organiser: Michael Kull, Senior Research Fellow, Nordregio

Speakers: Cecilia Waldenström, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Steffen Damsgaard, Landdistrikternes Fællesråd Lemvig, Denmark
Dennis Holm – mayor of Vagúr, Faroe Islands
Kjell Vaagen – Senior advisor at Hedmark County Council and Member of Nordic Thematic Group for Sustainable Rural Development

Your municipality or region is struggling with depopulation and outmigration, there is a lack of interesting jobs and job loss or a lack of relevant labour force, high youth unemployment (NEETS) and high old-age ratio? At the same time, or quite the contrary, you have succeeded in increasing the attractiveness of your place for various reasons? There is, for instance, an increase and successful integration of both domestic and foreign migrants?  The economic development is sound?  You have a vivid community life, an active local society and both citizens, local / regional businesses/industries do contribute to local community development?

This session will explore the many reasons, drivers and obstacles behind rural attractiveness. Practitioners and researchers will look into access to public services (schools & day-care, healthcare) and new forms of service provision. Housing policy and infrastructure developments in terms of transportation and functioning IT-connections will be explored, too. We will discuss employment patterns, social entrepreneurship, innovative jobs and the availability / lack of skilled labour. Practice examples will be given of 3rdsector engagement and well-functioning and well-organised community life, where people (“doers”) had positive impacts on their living environment by working together.

We highly recommend attending this workshop to:

  • receive fresh and stimulating research results,
  • listen to and discuss good/best practices from colleagues from the Nordic countries
  • build networks and personal relations with people engaged in and fostering attractiveness of rural areas.


Yadid Levy /

Organiser: Anna Karlsdóttir, Senior Research Fellow, Nordregio

Speakers: Karin Topsø Larsen, Centre for Regional and Tourism Research
Peter Staun Kastholm, director for TAMU, Denmark
Rob Clarke, “Young People in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland – Attitudes and Aspirations”
Sari Tuuva-Hongisto (PhD), RDI advisor at Juvenia

What do decision-makers in the Nordic countries need to invest in to improve regionally equal welfare of the Nordic youth? We look at reasons for striking regional disparities within the Nordic region when it comes to young people, drop-out rates from schools, and youth well-being, and the mismatch between school affiliation, possibilities in educational attainment and labour market outcomes. How are challenges being dealt with from regional level, and what separates the condition of rural youth from urban in this sense? What is this group called NEETS and how are regional and national authorities dealing with re-engaging this group of future adult citizens.

Peter Staun is the director of the TAMU centre, a country wide training initiative in Denmark, that deals with challenged and marginalized youth groups and applies specific methods to enable these groups to establish themselves and succeed in life.
Rob Clarke has worked in economic development for 28 years. During this time, he has worked on agricultural marketing, food and drink sector development, international trade, inward investment and European policy and funding. His current role at Highlands and Islands Enterprise has a particular focus on regional and rural policy, with a strong interest in the value of collaboration between regions.
Sari Tuuva-Hongisto is an RDI advisor at Juvenia, a youth research and development centre in South Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk). She is a scholar of cultural studies and her fields of expertise include ethnography, cultural studies and science and technology studies (STS), combining cultural and ethnographic approaches to various multi-disciplinary topics. At Juvenia her research has focused on rural youth in Eastern Finland.


Organisers: MAMBA Project, through Anna Berlina, Research Fellow, Nordregio and Julien Grunfelder, Head of GIS, Nordregio

Speakers: Juho Kostiainen, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
Tobias Forngren, Freelway
Søren Sørensen, Smart Mobility Facilitator, SFMCON ApS
Jessica Berg, VTI
Anna Berlina, Nordregio/MAMBA
Julien Grunfelder, Nordregio/MAMBA

Rural areas are characterised by long distances and a low population density that makes transport provision challenging and expensive. While mobility initiatives in urban areas are largely focused on reducing congestion and responding to environmental concerns, rural initiatives tend to be motivated by the need to increase accessibility. The key question for rural areas is thus how to increase the mobility of all residents, regardless of their socioeconomic status, age, gender or health, in a cost-effective way. Designing mobility solutions that work requires a thorough understanding of the factors that influence transport preferences and travel behaviour. It also relies on intimate knowledge of the specific context where the solution is to be applied and the different actors who will play a role in making the idea a reality.

This parallel session will provide an overview of the current and future trends in innovative rural mobility solutions in the Nordics. The mobility business models that have the biggest potential in rural areas will be explored and the key opportunities and challenges for rural mobility will be discussed. This parallel session draws upon the findings from the Interreg BSR MAMBA project, the research results from the VTI (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute) and VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland), and good practice examples from Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

We highly recommend attending this workshop to:

  • Receive recent research results from rural mobility experts
  • Gain knowledge on the key challenges and opportunities for innovative rural mobility solutions
  • Listen to and discuss good practices from colleagues from the Nordic countries