EU Science Hub

Smart Specialisation in Sparsely Populated European Arctic Regions

The purpose of this report is to explore how smart specialisation (S3) has been applied in Nordic sparsely populated regions, with focus on European Arctic. The report gives overview of the specific context of Arctic regions, their specialisations and revises how smart specialisation has supported regions in addressing the Arctic challenges. It also identifies the needs and efforts of joint action and outlines good practise cases where collaborative effort has been taken to tackle common challenges or to exploit opportunities. Smart specialisation has found very relevant applications in the European Arctic Region and implementation of smart specialisation policy tools is well advanced. In some cases the Arctic regions are pioneering with the advanced approaches of collaboration and developing joint investment solutions applying S3 approach. This report emphasises that already today there are very successful cases of local, cross-regional, and cross-border collaboration in turning the Arctic context to a competitive advantage, and many new innovations and projects continue to emerge. As demonstrated in the case studies the smart specialisation can serve very well in mobilising regional and local actors in the Arctic. In sparsely populated areas there is more need interregional cooperation plays important role for critical mass formation. The important message of the cases presented throughout the report is that collaboration on joint opportunities is the only way to create sustainable and long-term smart specialisation solutions in the unique European Arctic context.