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3 Ongoing Projects

Nordic-Baltic Connectivity for Smarter and Inclusive Societies (N-B CONNECT)

In highly digitized Nordic-Baltic societies, there are still significant geographical differences in terms of connectivity. Is that what you call a digital paradox? The N-B CONNECT project builds on the findings of the “Nordic-Baltic 5G Monitoring Tool" project, expanding its focus to examine broader societal impacts of connectivity.

Green Energy Meets Blue Food

Nordic countries have set up ambitious climate and energy targets and offshore renewable energy will play a key role in enabling the green transition in the Nordic Region. The European Green Deal underscores at the same time the importance of minimal harm to the environment and the contribution to nature conservation, with for example the EU Biodiversity strategy 2030 including more ambitious targets for protecting marine areas. Furthermore, our seas in the Nordic Region are also an increasingly important resource for food supply.  Offshore renewable energy, not least wind energy, is crucial for the green transition in the Nordic Region but its expansion poses challenges such as conflicts over space. Hence, there is an increasing need for enabling enhanced coexistence with other sectors, not least with blue food sectors such as fishing and aquaculture. Governance frameworks, in particular marine spatial planning, are crucial for managing conflicts, promoting collaboration, and for enabling possibilities for sustainable coexistence at sea.   The Nordic Council of Ministers have initiated several projects to address sustainable marine economy and coexistence issues. The “Green Meets Blue project”, financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers for Fisheries, Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry (NCM FJLS) and running for two years (2024-2025), aims to contribute to a common knowledge base for the Nordic countries, by contributing with an increased understanding of sustainable coexistence between renewable energy (focusing on offshore wind energy) and marine food sectors (focusing on fisheries and aquaculture).    The project will give better insights on how Nordic countries and self-governing territories in the Nordic Region can effectively tackle potential conflicts between the green and blue sectors, promote synergies and better enable cooperation and collaboration. The project seeks to investigate existing conditions on how trade-offs, conflicts and synergies are managed between these sectors within marine spatial planning frameworks from a governance…

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…

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…

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.

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

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.  Access the project results: policy briefs and podcast episodes, here.

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.

Territorial Just Transition Plans for Gotland and Norrbotten

This project is a consultancy one and is being led by TrinomicsNordregio has been hired to support Tillväxtverket in the process of putting together the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTP) for Gotland and Norrbotten regions. Nordregio’s role in this project is to contribute to institutional, administrative and growth-sustaining structural reforms in Sweden, in line with Article 4 of the SRSP Regulation. The specific objective of Nordregio’s contribution is the finalisation of one or more territorial just transition plans for Sweden (Gotland and Norrbotten). The TJTP are the main governance mechanisms supporting the Just Transition Mechanism, which is a policy instrument linked to the European Green Deal. The Just Transition Mechanism focuses on those regions and sectors that are most affected by the transition to a climate-neutral economy given their dependence on fossil fuels, including coal, peat and oil shale or greenhouse gas-intensive industrial processes.

The Sustainable Hub to Engage in Rural Policies with Actors (SHERPA)

The Sustainable Hub to Engage in Rural Policies with Actors (SHERPA project) is a four-year project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The project aims at engaging citizens, stakeholders, scientists, and decision-makers in formulating recommendations with the ambition to redefine European development policies and research agenda for rural areas. The interaction between research, policy and citizens will take place in up to 40 Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs) placed in 20 Member States and in a MAP at EU level. The overall objective of the SHERPA project is to gather relevant knowledge and information that contribute to the formulation of recommendations for future pertinent policies to EU rural areas. The central tool for this is establishing multi-actor platforms (MAPs) in 20 EU countries where citizens, stakeholders, policymakers and scientists meet in the development of strategic thinking and practical recommendations for the formulation of modern rural policies. The recommendations will be transferred to the national/regional level and EU level as input for the policy formulation. Nordregio activities will focus on 1) developing the framework for the science-society-policy interface in the MAPS by collecting methods for engaging the stakeholders and establishing conditions for processes leading to learning and formulation of recommendations 2) organise MAPs in Denmark, Finland (start 2019/2020), Sweden and Estonia (start 2021/22). The MAPs will be organised in close cooperation and coordination with existing national/local organisations. The project is funded by EU H2020 as a coordination and support action. SHERPA is led by Ecorys, Brussels and consists of 17 partners. The project started on 1 October 2019 and will run for four years. Read more about the project:

BeUBio – targeting youth in the Baltic Sea Region for the SDG:s and Bioeconomy

BeUBio aims to promote youth involvement across the Baltic Sea Region for transition to a bio-based economy, and create synergies with other actors and initiatives addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. A platform for youth involvement will be established to bring young people together with politicians and decision-makers in companies and create synergies with other actors and initiatives enabling youth participation in the development of a circular bioeconomy within the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) and other relevant frameworks. Examples of regional initiatives working with similar goals are the ‘Baltic Leadership Programme on Youth’, ‘Bioeconomy (BLP Youth)’, ‘ReGeneration 2030’ and the ‘Baltic Youth Festival’, which we need to connect. There is a need for more and harmonised initiatives and methods for attracting and involving youth. That will be a role for BeUBio. The BeUBio started as an idea within the BLP Youth and has been approved seed money funding from the Swedish Institute to prepare for a larger project concept including identified possible other actors and hopefully more. Visit the Beubio website and get familiar with various youth bioeconomy initiatives.

Trend analysis for Bioeconomy in the Baltic Sea Region

The project aims to investigate the fluctuations and variations of bioeconomy within the Baltic Sea region and pinpoint the most important and relevant macro trends for the area. Nordregio will contribute to the project by updating the mapping of key indicators of Bioeconomy in the Baltic Sea Region and North-West Russia. Furthermore, during the 2019 Nordregio Forum, a survey on the relevance of the identified trends and challenges in the Bioeconomy in the BSR region will be launched. In the survey, trend relevance will be assessed by respondents prioritizing the trends on three dimensions: 1) importance, 2) the ability of stakeholders to leverage or influence the trend, 3) consistency of the trend. The survey will be carried out with the participants at the Forum. In that way also stakeholders from Norway, Iceland and the West Atlantic will be tied to the project. The results obtained through this project will serve as support for policy related dialogue amongst regional and national stakeholders of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Digitalisation in rural and sparsely populated areas – joint Nordic-Baltic learning

The Nordic‐Baltic Region is at the forefront of digitalisation in Europe. Despite overall positive development, the impact of digitalisation on economy and society is unequal; with rural and sparsely populated areas often lagging behind with respect to the availability of digital infrastructure and the adoption of digital technologies. The project will investigate how to facilitate uptake of digital technologies and innovations by SMEs in rural and sparsely populated areas. It will explore the challenges and potential opportunities facing rural regions and their enterprises in the context of digitalisation and identify good examples of measures and policies to support digital transformation of rural businesses. The ultimate aim is to inspire Nordic and Baltic regions, their rural communities and rural enterprises to make the most out of digital opportunities and provide insights that will assist policy makers in creating an enabling environment for this work.

Economic marine mapping

In this project, Nordregio and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management are working together to identify and collect economic and social data for both, sea and land-based activities. The initiative aims at linking economic data to the existing marine planning data, in order to evaluate environmental, as well as, social and economic aspects when planning for a sustainable use of the sea. The existing tool for Swedish marine planning, called “Symphony”, is an important element of the research, as the gathered data will be incorporated into its work. The indicators and findings of this project are also part of the Swedish contribution to the project Pan Baltic Scope.

BT 2050

“BT 2050” stands for Territorial Scenarios for the Baltic Sea Region and with the aim of informing policy making at different levels, this project develops territorial scenarios for the BSR. These frameworks will deepen the understanding of the territorial dimension of the EU Strategy for the BSR, as well as contribute to European and Member States policy making. The scenarios will also serve as a base to further explore cooperation between BSR countries on territorial development helping to fulfil the key objectives of the BSR’ spatial policy. This is an ESPON 2020 project, coordinated by Nordregio in collaboration with partners from Germany, Luxembourg and Poland. Find more information on the ESPON website.


The REVIVAL project aims at exploring new approaches to study local and regional development in mountainous and sparsely populated areas. Using case study analysis, the project looks at two main concepts, namely Transitional Labour Market and Residential Economy. This investigation would contribute to better understand development potentials in the selected case studies in Georgia and Russia and possible ways to overcome territorial development challenges. Transitional Labour Market (TLM) is a dynamic approach of the labour markets which is based on transitions between various statuses (employed, non-employed, inactive, etc.) rather than on stocks as support of supply and demand interaction. The TLM approach adds insightful perspectives since it includes individual transitions in the analysis of labour market that the traditional approaches of labour market are unable to capture. It is particularly relevant today due to growing mobility of workers, new forms of jobs emerging based on flexible contracts, etc. Residential Economy (RE), is one of the four components of the local economy, focusing on the importance of redistribution mechanisms of wealth between territories. It corresponds to income entering the local area by population groups who do not have their economic activity in this area (e.g. out-commuters, pensioners and tourists). Nordregio will lead this project and be responsible to transfer some of the knowledge from ESPON Bridges, where the two concepts of TLM and RE are currently under investigation, to the REVIVAL project partners by the ways of workshops. Nordregio will assist them in the analysis of the case studies and disseminate the findings.

PanBaltic SCOPE

The objective of the project is to contribute to more coherent maritime spatial planning (MSP) strategies in the Baltic Sea region (BSR) and to build lasting macro-regional mechanisms for cross-border MSP cooperation. To achieve the overall objective the project shall: – Build on the results and experiences from a series of MSP-related projects in the Baltic Sea Region, in particular the Baltic SCOPE project (2015-17), as well as on the national MSP processes; – Establish a Planning Forum for cross-border cooperation; – Facilitate and carry out concrete cross-border activities at different geographical levels in the Baltic Sea Region to meet the needs of the national MSP processes and to support the Member States in successfully implementing the MSP-directive; – Develop approaches and tools at pan-Baltic level to contribute to coherent MSP in the BSR. Coherence is achieved gradually, as countries are at different stages of MSP development and have different needs; – Support practical implementation of an ecosystem- based approach in MSP in the BSR; – Develop methods to build better marine spatial planning processes with land use spatial planning processes to emphasize the land-sea interactions influencing the development of the coastal areas as well as the status of the Baltic Sea; – Share best practices and build new knowledge to inform and support MSP in the BSR. Nordregio roles 1) As leader of Activity 1.1.5 Lessons Learned, Nordregio provides feedback on progress to planners throughout the lifetime of the project, and conducts an overall assessment oflessons learned: A Lessons Learned Report with the focus on a) solutions on improved cross-border cooperation, b) stakeholder mobilization and integration, c) advancing the implementation of the EBA, d) data sharing, e) Land-Sea Interaction; 2) Leading of WP 1.3. Integrating Land-Sea Interaction into MSP. This WP is to identify and practically work with important…

MAMBA (Maximised Mobility and Accessibility of Services in Regions Affected by Demographic Change)

The MAMBA project aims to promote sustainable “people-to-service” and “service-to-people” mobility solutions in rural areas, and involve users in the innovation process. MAMBA is funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme. Demographic change, an ageing population and limited public finances, endanger the accessibility of services, goods and social life in many rural areas in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). It is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure not only individual “people-to-service” mobility, but also the supply of “service-to-people” mobility (e.g. home care for elderly or various delivery services) in these sparsely populated regions. The MAMBA project aims to improve both dimensions of mobility through a number of activities. Evaluating and transferring existing mobility services The MAMBA consortium will evaluate existing, sustainable ways of managing and financing rural mobility that could be transferred to other regions. Good practice examples will be presented to public authorities, transport and service providers, and civil society through a public database and a rural mobility compendium. Establishing Mobility Centres as testbeds for integrated rural mobility Mobility Centres (MCs) will be established in ten rural areas in the Baltic Sea region. The MCs will address specific mobility needs in each area by for example: – enhancing management capacities in transport administration; – providing digital and non-digital information systems for residents; – creating platforms for public and private enterprises to pool transport services; and – facilitating cooperation between public transport actors and private service providers. New mobility solutions, such as rural car sharing, transport on demand (ToD), ride sharing applications, and mobility as a service (MaaS) will also be initiated by the MCs as pilot actions. Involving users to improve the design of new solutions Finally, MAMBA aims to include users and civil society organisations in the development of sustainable mobility solutions. Seminars and workshops at the local…

BONUS BASMATI – Baltic Sea Maritime Spatial Planning for Sustainable Ecosystem Services

BONUS BASMATI project aims to develop an innovative decision support system for maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea region. The overall objectives of BONUS BASMATI are to: 1) develop integrated and innovative solutions for maritime spatial planning related to marine and coastal ecosystem services and marine protected areas, 2) develop and apply spatial decision support systems including data discovery and exchange facilities, 3) develop means for interactive multi-level, multi-stakeholder and cross-sector governance. BONUS BASMATI focuses on establishing an innovative decision support system that can facilitate between different actors and stakeholders in MSP and at all stages of the planning process. This involves elements such as data discovery and exchange, integrative analyses related to the ecosystem-based principle and interactive stakeholder involvement. An ecosystem oriented maritime planning support tool needs to respond to a number of challenges to integrated planning and management, such as considering effects of several coincident or alternative economic and other activities in the maritime space – and to discuss benefits, conflicts and trade-offs of different alternatives with stakeholders in the planning phases. Nordregio is in charge of a WP on “Governance and Maritime Spatial Planning” with its 4 main tasks: 1) Assessing Governance Models/Tools and Stakeholder Participation in MSP, 2) Stakeholders Identification and Scenario Design, 3) Case Study Assessment, 4) Developing a Governance Concept for MSP: Lessoned Learned and Best Practice.

Local Food: Formation of local food market

In recent years we have witnessed the emergence of alternative food supply chains and markets due to important changes in consumer perceptions of food and farming. Short food supply chains (SFSCs) can act as a driver of change and a method to increase sustainability, trust, equality and growth in agricultural and food sectors, but also more generally benefit business development in rural areas, as well as have positive social and health related outcomes. SFSCs include different practices such as farmers’ markets, on-farm sales, consumer cooperatives, direct internet sales, etc. The project aims at strengthening cooperation and building knowledge on local food market formation across actors from the Baltic Sea Region working with rural development issues. Good practices on how alternative food networks and markets can be built, shaped, reproduced and promoted over time and space and their potential to contribute to rural development objectives in the Baltic Sea Region will be shared.