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New tools for policy makers and planners in remote regions

If you live in a small town where business is based on natural resources, sudden changes in the local economy – like a mine opening or closing – can have a major impact on the social structure. The REGINA project has developed a set of tools to prepare for such situations that will be launched at a conference in September. The flagship conference for the EU sponsored REGINA project, managed by Nordregio – an international research centre on regional development and planning established by the Nordic Council of Ministers, will take place in Rovaniemi in Finland, on September 11-12, 2018. The conference is entitled “Preparing for large-scale investments in small communities – a hands-on approach to local smart specialization” – and you can read more or sign up at It builds on the concept of local smart specialization, but adapts this to the context of remote and sparsely populated regions. Online handbook and new toolbox The conference will mark the launch of an online handbook outlining the results of the REGINA project. This includes a series of workshops on some of the core tools developed: A Demographic Foresight Model, a Social Impact Management Plan and a Local Befit Analysis Toolbox. The tools are devised to help local planners and decision makers in communities where the economy is very dependent on resource based industries to deal with changes in socioeconomic structures, say if a big mine opens or an aquaculture plant is developed. Local businesses and citizens in general also stand to gain from the work done in the project, that has included five municipalities in the Northern and Arctic region covered by the activities of the EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme sponsoring REGINA. Speakers include Katri Kulmuni, Member of the Parliament of Finland, chair of the Finnish Delegation…

Unaccompanied minors to the Nordic Region

In 2016, the Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues started a project on compiling information and analysing the current situation in the Nordic Region with regards to the receiving unaccompanied minors. The project is still in its initial stage but already some interesting maps have been created by Nordregio. These can be found on the Nordregio project website: Unaccompanied minors to the Nordic Region.

Updating Nordic welfare model: New financing models for social innovation and integration

There are many initiatives emerging from social innovators and entrepreneurs in the Nordic countries as a response to societal welfare challenges. 29 November, representatives from the public, private and third sector met in Oslo to discuss opportunities and constrains of establishing long-term sustainable projects addressing societal challenges. Focus was particularly on integration projects and there are already numerous social innovations that have contributed positively to integrating migrants in the Nordic welfare states. Other just as important focus was the issue of money: How can new financial models be part of this development in the Nordic countries? Successful social innovators and entrepreneurs shared their stories. It has proven that cooperation on ‘neighbourhood economics’ and stimulation of new economic partnerships can mitigate segregation and exclusion of vulnerable groups. State secretary Thor Kleppern from the Labour and welfare department, Norway, emphasized the importance for the public sector to overcome the fear to contravene in institutional regulations and rather focus on how to support the social innovators and entrepreneurs in implementing their ideas for solutions to address current welfare challenges. Next year, Norway is hosting the chairmanship for the Nordic council of ministers and the focus will be on the development of the welfare state. The role of social innovators and social entrepreneurs will be on the agenda. The Norwegian parliament also committed to test and implement Social Impact bonds as a financial tool that focuses on social results. The new tool provides a new approach to improve the social welfare. From Finland, Mika Pyykkö, who is Senior Lead in impact investing in SITRA (The Finnish Innovation Fund ), announced that a new project will be launched, which is focusing on integrating migrants and including them into the labour market. 50 million Euro are being invested by private investors to carry out a tailor…

30 Nov in Brussels: Investments and Business Opportunities in the Arctic

Nordregio’s Senior Researcher Anna Karlsdottir presents: Investments and Business Opportunities in the Arctic region (16:45 – 17:45, session 6) at the “Strengthening Sustainable Communities” organised by AFS. More information can be found here. 

Call for Papers for NoRSA conference: Regions in transition

NoRSA (Nordic Section of Regional Studies Association) will host a conference: Regions in Transition 9-10 March 2017 in Karlstad, Sweden. Call for papers in open until January 2. More information can be found here. 

25 November: Young people and newly arrived migrants in rural areas

How can we support the rural areas in their work integrating newly arrived migrants and creating opportunities for young people? Nordregio hosts a seminar together with Hela Norden ska Leva. Young people and newly arrived migrants – The future of rural areas in the Nordic Region Location: Nordregio. Holmamiralens Väg 10, Skeppsholmen, Stockholm (Room: Hörsalen , 2nd floor) Aim: Provide participants with inspiration, networks and knowledge to support their work with young people and newly arrived migrants in sustainable rural development. Perspectives from research Tim Heleniak (Nordregio) – From Migrants to Workers Susanne Søholt (Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research) – Immigrants and refugees in rural Norway: from problem to possibility Anna Karlsdottìr (Nordregio) – Nordic Arctic Youth Future Perspectives Josefin Heed (Hela Sverige ska leva) -Youth engagement in a rural context Liisa Perjo, Anna Berlina and Linda Randall (Nordregio) – Social innovation in local development Perspectives from practice Asha Ismail Mohamud (Somaliska riksförbundet) and Jan Runfors (Landsbygdsnätverkets integrationsgupp) SWEDEN David Im (Integration Coordinator, Immigration office, Tórshavn) FAROE ISLANDS Rúnar Helgi Haraldsson (Director, Multicultural and Information Center) ICELAND Kirsten Springer Hasvoll (Senior Project Leader, Tillflytting projektet, Nordland Fylkeskommun), 10 000 New Immigrants to Nordland, What do we do? NORWAY Sofie Skalstad (Ung på landsbygden & Nytänk) SWEDEN Guðrún Torfhildur Gísladóttir (Opposing Force project), Youth in Rural Iceland, ICELAND Karolina Wessman (Melleruds Ungdomsråd, Melleruds Kommun) SWEDEN Closing remarks: Staffan Nilsson (Hela Norden ska leva)

Nordregio joins the climate discussion at COP22 in Marrakech

The Nordic countries have a joint pavilion at the UN Climate negotiations in Marrakech, November 8-17 2016, under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Nordic pavilion at COP22 will highlight New Nordic Climate Solutions and Nordregio is present in the Arctic theme day 12 November. GREEN INNOVATION ZONE 11 NOVEMBER State of Green, Business Sweden, FinPro and the Nordic Council of Ministers have organised a shared Nordic business pavilion in the green innovation zone at COP22 taking place 7-18 November in Marrakesh. Nordregio’s researcher will participate a panel discussion “Nordic Perspectives on Green Growth”, 11 November 11.00 – 12.00. Focus: Public-Private panel debate aimed at sharing hands-on green growth practices and solutions. The aim is to share perspectives that highlight key characteristics of Nordic green growth, i.e. close public-private collaboration, financing models, solutions and perspectives, designed to be a source of information for businesses and policy-makers alike. ARCTIC DAY 12 NOVEMBER Since much of its territory, both on land and at sea, falls within the Arctic Circle, the Nordic Region is strongly involved in issues that concern this unique and harsh, but also vulnerable area. The Arctic Day at the Nordic Pavilion digs into the latest research and Arctic climate solutions. Nordregio’s researchers Anna Berlina and Lise Smed Olsen are present at the Blue Zone, Nordic pavilion and Nordregio’s Director Kjell Nilsson participates a panel debate at a Nordic-Moroccon seminar on urban development and and gives a morning talk at the Arctic Day on Saturday. 15.45 – 17.15 SESSION 3 – NORDIC SOLUTIONS FOR THE SOCIETY (NordForsk and Nordregio) 16.10-16.45 Sustainable bio-economy in the Nordic Arctic: Implications for regional development policy, Anna Berlina and Lise Smed Olsen The Arctic is thawing! Is there a future for mankind? How can we adapt to new realities? Can research and…

Nov 8-9: Strategy Forum of the EUSBSR

The 7th Strategy Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) will be hosted by the Swedish Government together with the Nordic Council of Ministers and in close cooperation with the European Commission. The Strategy Forum will be held on 8-9 November 2016 at the Brewery Conference Centre in Stockholm, Sweden. Nordregio takes an active part in the Strategy Forum with hosted sessions on both days. Read below for more information. Saving and using the Sea? – Connecting decision makers and actors through Maritime Spatial Planning is the name of a seminar Nordregio organises together with the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and VASAB (Vision and Strategies around the Baltic). Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) provides an opportunity to achieve and balance the three main objectives of the EUSBSR. It is a cross-cutting mechanism boosting cooperation between actors on all governance levels. Transboundary MSP provides the means for addressing issues on a macro-regional scale. However, early findings from the Baltic SCOPE project indicate that the level of interest and involvement of decision makers and stakeholders at regional and local levels of governance needs to increase in order to achieve and balance the EUSBSR objectives across the region. Baltic SCOPE is part of a chain of projects on MSP in the BSR with a distinct contribution – it successfully brought national authorities together for the 1st time and thus to moves the MSP train further. The project created stronger links between the planning authorities taking part in the project and has strengthened a pan-Baltic approach to MSP. One of the next steps in MSP, and key to increase its legitimacy, is the mobilization of political decision makers. How should decision makers be included in MSP? How to save the sea while using it more effectively? To elaborate…

Implementing Smart Specialisation in Sparsely Populated Areas

The Working Paper “Implementing Smart Specialisation in Sparsely Populated Areas” discusses the most significant elements of Smart Specialisation in Sparsely Populated Areas. It includes both theoretical overview and analysis of the introduction and implementation of the Smart Specialisation concept in selected European case study regions. The European Commission’s science and knowledge service Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a Working Paper on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation in Sparsely Populated Areas. The Working Paper has been written by Jukka Teräs (Nordregio), Alexander Dubois (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), Jens Sörvik (European Commission, JRC-IPTS, Seville) , and Martina Pertoldi (European Commission, JRC-IPTS, Seville). The Working Paper states that Sparsely Populated Areas should not be seen as regions lagging behind by definition but as regions with specific characteristics including challenges and opportunities. The analysis of the case study regions demonstrates that Sparsely Populated Areas have been able to create innovative environments and that there is a mindset and willingness to utilize the possibilities provided by Smart Specialisation processes. Sparsely Populated Areas need, however, to strengthen their competitiveness with extra-regional knowledge and networking pipelines. The specific characteristics and features of Sparsely Populated Areas, often with abundant natural resources but with limited human capital and lack of agglomeration economies, need to be carefully studied. The regional actors need not only to be heard but also to be invited to an inclusive Smart Specialisation process. Link to the Working Paper: How to cite the Working Paper: “Teräs J., Dubois A., Sörvik J. and Pertoldi M. (2015). Implementing Smart Specialisation in Sparsely Populated Areas. European Commission. Joint Research Centre. S3 Working Paper 10/2015.”

Nordic Geographers Meeting June 18–21 2017: Call for papers is open!

The 7th Nordic Geographers Meeting takes place in Stockholm June 18-21 2017 and submissions of abstracts are now welcome. The theme of 2017’s conference is “Geographies of inequalities”, an interesting topic and perhaps more actual than ever. Some of the topics that will be discussed at the different sessions include social injustices, segregation, climate change, regional and gender inequalities and climate change; all covered by and integrated in the general theme. Researchers from Nordregio will hold five different sessions, you can read about them below. All sessions can be found here. The deadline for abstract submissions is December 15 2016. Sessions held or co-held by researchers from Nordregio: Is there a Nordic ‘planning culture’? Exploring commonalities and differences in times of growing complexity and inequalities From a European perspective, the commonalities of Nordic national planning systems are often emphasized with a focus on the prevailing legal frameworks as well as administrative and political structures. However, such structuralistic perspectives often overlook other more culturally embedded characteristics and cognitive frames that have received increased recognition in recent comparative planning research. It is argued that approaching planning as ‘culturized practices’ can offer valuable insights into the praxis, performance, and perception of planning. In doing so important analytical tasks are to uncover taken-for-granted beliefs, ideologies, normative mindsets, and the ethos among planning professionals in both private and public organizations. Also, it might be fruitful to question the extent to which organizational-led rules and procedures have underpinned how planning practices have evolved over time. In addition, within the Nordic region, we can observe a number of policy experiments currently taking place to respond to urgent societal and spatial challenges such as the introduction of new contractual arrangements, re-scaling of institutional layers, and soft governance approaches. These divergent and/or convergent responses will not be inconsequential in…

25-27 October, launch of the new Interreg project Social Green

The launch and a kick off meeting of a four year project Social Green takes place in Porto, Portugal 25-27 October together with all eight partners from six EU countries. Social Green focuses on developing regional policies towards greening the social housing sector. Social Green is continuation to RE-GREEN project 2012-2014. The Social Green project intends to address the issue of green social housing in order to contribute to reduce the GHG emissions as well as to reduce the fuel poverty indicators in EU regions towards a lower carbon economy. In more concrete terms, Social Green aims promote the greening of the social housing sector through mutual learning and development of improved regional policies. It will provide the opportunity to explore green building practices and significantly reduce GHG emissions through cost-effective means while providing much needed housing in a healthy and sustainable manner. Through interregional cooperation Social Green stakeholder regions will identify, share and transfer innovative methodologies, processes and good practices in developing and implementing greener social housing sector policies, targeting new constructions or retrofitting existing buildings. The partnership includes 8 partners from 6 countries (Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Estonia, Sweden, Romania), with capacity to influence the policy instruments related to greening the social housing sector. Nordregio will be lead partner as well as advisory partner by providing scientific and technical support to the consortium. The other partners, mainly municipalities, energy agencies and Managing Authorities will jointly work in the development of the main project’s activities, mainly to develop a produce regional self-assessment reports and regional action plans.

The importance of Social Innovation (SI) is growing in the public sector

19-20 October SIMPACT project meeting highlights Social Innovation (SI) in the public sector and 25-26 October Nordregio hosts two sessions at the biggest Nordic SI event: Malmö Social Innovation Summit. Social Innovation Summit 25-26 October Nordregio participates Social Innovation Summit in Malmö. Nordregio hosts Creativity, community spirit & social innovation in rural Norden at Social Innovation Summit on the 26th and gives a presentation on the 25th. EU Rural development expert Petri Rinne from Finland will join us and tell more about local development tools and financing possibilities and challenges in the rural areas. Nordregio will also organize a lunch meeting with Nordic SIX. Read more about SIX network and join! Read about the workshop (pdf) Creativity community spirit social innovation in rural Norden at Social Innovation Summit (2) Read more about Malmö Summit: Nordregio has recently published an online database on Social innovation in the Nordic countries and Scotland 8see the modules on the right and visit the site! SIMPACT project meeting 19-20 October On 19th-20th October, SIMPACT’s Social Innovation and Public Sector Innovation Symposium will explore the conditions under which the state either enables or constrains effective social innovation, and how it can transcend the boundaries between different actors. We will examine how social innovation is closely linked to public sector innovation, particularly in relation to new modes of policy production and implementation. We will identify the new forms of organisation within the state that enable such innovation by challenging functional demarcations and role definitions.This highly interactive Symposium will facilitate exchanges of knowledge and experience between researchers, policy practitioners and social innovation strategists. Exemplary cases of groundbreaking policy practice and partnerships will be explored, and participants will be invited to help define ‘what works’ in designing a future social innovation policy framework for Europe. Read more about…

10 Nov: Labour Market Integration in the Nordic Countries: What can we learn from each other?

Welcome to the NEPR seminar in Oslo November 10 on Labour Market Integration in the Nordic Countries. Since the mid-eighties the Nordic countries have received a high influx of refugees relative to the population size. Currently these countries receive large numbers of refugees, notably from the Middle East. This year’s Nordic Economic Policy Review seminar on Labour Market Integration of Refugees provides an arena for discussion of this and related issues. Existing studies exploiting the rich administrative registers in the Nordic countries have shown that the speed of labour market assimilation of immigrants from non-Western countries in the Nordic welfare states is slow. However, few studies distinguish between refugees and non-refugee immigrants from Non-Western countries. The aim of this seminar is to fill this gap in the literature and to bring together researchers investigating labour market integration of refugees and policy makers and organisations in the Nordic countries. The seven papers presented at the conference will cover three topics: Labour market integration of refugees Educational attainment of refugee children Fiscal effects of immigration This year’s seminar will include a panel debate where questions that have been asked during the day will be discussed with the audience, professionals, editors and authors of the articles. Our aim is to create a platform for an open and interesting debate.The seminar takes place on November 10 starting at 9.30 at Regjeringskvartalet in Oslo and is free of charge. Organisers are the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, the Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordregio. Register by email to: no later than October 31, the number of seats are limited. More information can be found on The programme and official invitation can be downloaded here.

Fulbright Arctic Initiative – Cooperation for a sustainable Arctic Region

Arctic is changing. Based on the current global warming trend, the Arctic region will be warming more rapidly than the global mean (IPCC 2014). Accordingly, global climate change has placed the Arctic in the centre of geopolitical discussions as Arctic ice cap is melting and transforming the region from a scientific interest into a complex set of commercial, national security and environmental interests with profound implications for the international legal and political systems. Thus, the Arctic is subject to major and rather rapid changes in terms of social, economic and environmental processes due to the climate change impacts which are opening up a new and broad set of strategic issues to be discussed. These issues cover management of natural resources, environmental protection, new shipping lanes, shipping trade, economic development, legal issues as well as governance and security. Consequently, these processes will have significant impacts on the region’s population. Public diplomacy programs such as Fulbright, a flagship educational exchange program, must be able to respond to global challenges; one of the largest challenges we face is the global climate change. Therefore, US government has taken the world famous Fulbright, further with the Fulbright Arctic Initiative (FAI). FAI is US’ state department’s prime education outreach on Arctic issues. It is a signature project of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council during 2015-2017 to stimulate international scientific collaboration and address the challenges facing the Arctic communities in the phase of a changing climate. Multi-disciplined scientific cooperation There is an urgent need for expertise that informs policy to ensure the sustainable future of the Arctic. FAI is called for action for the academic community to contribute in this grand mission. The US State Department in collaboration with seven other Fulbright Offices in the Arctic Nations launched the FAI to focus attention on the…

What is the future of biofuels and renewable energy? Founder of ST1 energy company Mika Anttonen answers

What is the future of biofuels and where should we focus next? Nordregio Forum 2016 keynote speaker Mika Anttonen, founder of ST1 energy company answers in a preinterview. Mika Anttonen Founder, Chair St1 Energy Company What is the future of biofuels and renewable energy? Biofuels and renewable energy are missing two major innovation: Sustainable raw materials for biocrudes to substitute fossil crude oil and electricity storages to meet supply and demand balance of renewable electricity. Without these innovations the share of biofuels and renewable electricity is not going grow as needed from climate change point of view. Where are the Nordic countries on the development curve when compared to the rest of the world? Nordic countries are forerunners in many fields of renewable energy. We should continue to build up world class knowhow in local markets to be able to sell it later on to the rest of the world. Where should we be looking right now: where do the most interesting new ideas come from? St1 of course. How fast is the future here and how should the Nordic countries be prepared? There are many things that we should have been done10 years ago, but rest of the world is even slower. What makes you the most angry or frustrated in today’s biofuel and renewable energy discussion? People don’t realise how complex the world’s energy system really is. Because of that we are putting our time and energy into the wrong topics, like supporting electrification of vehicles and emission trades through taxation. Instead we should focus on changing consumption habits, like decreasing flying with higher taxation, improving women’s status in developing countries as a means of controlling population growth, and research and development investments. The German Energiewende What is the ambitious policy behind The German Energiewende, according to Hans…

European Week of Regions and Cities bring professionals together

Tuesday October 11 marks the start of the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels; three days full of seminars and workshops that tackle the hotspot issues on today’s regional agenda. Smart specialisation, urban development and sustainable growth are just a few of the issues that are gathered under the headline “Regions and cities for sustainable and inclusive growth”. More than 100 sessions will take place over the coming days and the programme connects them under three sub-headlines: Sustained and sustainable economic growth Inclusive economic growth Making ESI Funds simpler. For more information about the European Week of Regions and Cities, please visit their website. Nordregio are represented by Research Fellow Nelli Mikkola who is one of the researchers behind the recently published report on Green Growth: GREEN GROWTH IN NORDIC REGIONS 50 ways to make it happen

New article published on governance of energy efficiency in Croatia

Senior Researcher Michael Kull et all. published an article of meta governance on energy efficiency in Croatia and it was published in Energy Policy 99 (2016). Increasing the energy efficiency not only requires the improvement of current technologies, but also advancement of and more coherent institutional governance. This paper captures the major structural and organisational elements of institutional governance in place for promoting energy efficiency. Looking at Croatia – one of the most successful cases of energy efficiency programming of the past decade – the paper zooms in on governance coordination (metagovernance) between actors from different sectors and operating at multiple levels. By showcasing the positive implications of the programme, the authors contribute to the debate concerned with identifying better institutional frame works to attain sustainable development. The programme showed effective governance through vertical and horizontal coordination among institutions and stakeholders resulting in simultaneous social and economic development and improved energy efficiency in public buildings.Through the case of Croatia,this study identifies how meta governance has supported coordination among actors aiming to create sustainable development in general and how meta governance functions in energy efficiency related projects, in particular. The paper also sheds light on communication frameworks of governance coordination and institutional constraints lying at the heart of the vagueness of sustainable development. It also discusses private sector involvement to achieve better institutional framework to attain sustainable development. Read the ELSEVIER article Nordregio is also involved in a RE-GREEN project: Social Green – Regional Policies towards Greening the Social Housing Sector (RE-GREEN 2) Read more Regional policies towards GREEN buildings (RE-GREEN).

Dansk Byplanmøde 2016

Cities change and global challenges might require local solutions. The Byplanmøde in Malmö on October 6 and 7 will discuss these questions and more. What can Danish cities learn from Malmö and other Swedish cities? How did Malmö go from being an industrial city to a successful and modern science oriented city? These are only some of the issues that will be discussed during the two day meeting and sessions. Nordregio Research Fellow Lisbeth Greve Harbo and Senior Research Fellow Timothy Heleniak will hold one of the sessions during the Byplanmøde on “Life in the small cities”. The session will look at small cities and what opportunities they have ahead of them. What are the prognosis? What demographic and migration challenges do they face? These and more relevant questions will be discussed and real cases will be the starting point for the discussions. For more information please visit the website.

Super research week in Iceland 4-9 October

This week all eyes are on Iceland: Nordic Bioeconomy Panel, NordBio’s Nordic Bioeconomy programme final conference and Arctic Circle take place in Reykjavik Iceland. The Nordic Bioeconomy Panel 4 October The Nordic Bioeconomy Panel is a formal policy and strategy forum set up by the Ministers for Co-operation(MR-SAM). Originally an initiative proposed by the Icelandic Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, the panel’s main job is to draw up proposals for a Nordic strategy for the bioeconomy, outlining options and practical measures to promote sustainable bioeconomies. Nordregio’s Senior Researcher Jukka Teräs takes part in the panel on the 4th of October in Reykjavik. Read More: Nordbio’s final conference 5-6 October Nordbio’s conference on bioeconomy, sustainability and the outcome of the Nordic Bioeconomy Initiative (NordBio). NordBio is a three-year program, launched by the Icelandic chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2014. Within this program Nordic experts are pooling their efforts to promote sustainable use of living natural resources, taking into account and integrating social and environmental aspects. The aim of the whole program is to facilitate the development of a competitive economy based on living resources and to introduce new and innovative methods in youth education. October 2016 will be a perfect time to present the outcomes, to discuss the opportunities ahead and to sow new seeds for the future. Read more: Arctic Circle assembly 7-9 October The Arctic Circle is the largest network of international dialogue and cooperation on the future of the Arctic. It is an open democratic platform with participation from governments, organizations, corporations, universities, think tanks, environmental associations, indigenous communities, concerned citizens, and others interested in the development of the Arctic and its consequences for the future of the globe. It is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization. Over 400 speakers are expected…

New project promotes empowerment in social service provision in rural areas of the Baltic Sea Region

A kick-off conference of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Project SEMPRE– Social Empowerment in Rural Areas will take place in Berlin on 29 September. The project investigates the changing role of public and private social service providers, and explores end-user involvement in service development as one possible path for securing social welfare in rural areas of the Baltic Sea Region. The conference will focus on the future of social service delivery in the Baltic Sea Region. Nordregio will present first ideas of the Empowerment Handbook that will be among the outcomes of the project. More information about the project can be found on our project website as well as here (pdf).