Iryna Kristensen

Senior Research Fellow

Iryna is no longer employed by Nordregio, for contact or further information, please contact

Specialized in regional economic development, smart specialisation, innovation and inter-sectoral collaboration

Academic qualifications
Doctoral degree (PhD) in Economics, Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (Austria), 2015

MSc in Economic Growth, Innovation and Spatial Dynamics, Lund University (Sweden), 2011


Prior positions
Doctoral Researcher at the Department of Social and Economic Sciences and SCEUS, Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (Austria)

Visiting Researcher at Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy (CIRCLE), Lund University (Sweden)

Dubois, A., Kristensen, I., Teräs, J. (2017). Outsmarting geography: how implementing Smart Specialisation promotes territorial development in Sparsely Populated Regions. European Planning Studies. DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2017.1320355

Kristensen, I. and Scherrer, W. (2016). Public Private Partnerships as a Systemic Instrument of Governance in Regional Innovation Policy. International Public Administration Review, 14(1): 37-54

Kristensen, I., McQuaid, W. R. and Scherrer W. ‘Public Private Partnership as an Instrument of Innovation Policy’. In: Ulrich Hilpert (ed.) Handbook of Politics and Technology, Routledge: Oxford, 2015, pp. 249-261

Iryna Kristensen‘s spatial story

I never dreamed of pursuing a career in research – much less in the field of economics! I wanted to be a doctor – a medical doctor! ‘I would study anything but economics’ were literally my words after finishing high school… Five years later I graduated with my first master degree majoring in Information Systems, Business Economics and Law.

My true indulgence into the fascinating world of regional development began far away from the Scandinavian ‘shores’, during one of my intern field trips to Azerbaijan with British Council where I carried out research on supply-demand balance of vocational education quality and industry requirements in combating poverty and inequality in two peripheral Azerbaijani regions Sheki and Gabala. This experience inspired me to continue on the path of regional economic development by completing another master degree in Economic Growth, Innovation and Spatial Dynamics at Lund University (Sweden). And that is where I added innovation and Scandinavian focus to my regional interests. Without knowing that this was the route I was going to take, I applied in 2011 for and won a scholarship for a PhD research position in Economics at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg in Austria. My research focused on analysis of collaborative structures in the regional innovation processes and their role in shaping innovative systems and processes both in peripheral and central regions, with attention also to contextual factors that influence regional economic development. This study brought me back home to Lund – as visiting researcher at Lund University, Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy (CIRCLE) – and brought me on a trip around Sweden.

What I’ve learned so far is that regional challenges are complex and multi-faced; hence, no discipline, taking in isolation can provide comprehensive account of these intricate matters. An interdisciplinary approach to research (successfully ‘practiced’ at Nordregio) is something that has always appealed to me as it opens a lot of opportunities for learning and further advancement in the field of my research interests.