The unique conditions of the NSPA creates challenges for living and running businesses in the region: a harsh climate, long distances, a small number of isolated settlements and long distances to markets. The actors in the region have been forced to develop strong innovation systems in order to compete on the global market and to utilize the unique resources and abilities encapsuled in the north.
By challenging and overcoming the obstacles in the region, the industries have developed techniques and technologies that are world leading and exported globally. The NSPA Arctic Advantages Working Group have been collecting “best examples” of areas that captures the strengths in NSPA and describes the Arctic angle. The 2017 OECD territorial review of NSPA highlighted the need for identifying the absolute advantages in the region in order to realise growth opportunities. Below is a short description of what we have found based on dialogue with different actors in the three regions of NSPA:
Energy intensive industries
Access to clean hydro and wind power, and favourable conditions for data centres. With its tech knowledge, cold climate, and sustainable energy, the region offers favourable conditions that help to speed up the green and digital transition. The same favourable conditions attract sustainable global datacentres and other internet infrastructure in need of cooling.
Industrial processing, automatization and AI
The NSPA have a world leading network of companies and academic institutions that collaborate for industrial automatization in mining, forestry, manufacturing industry and process industry that today export their knowledge globally.
The Arctic conditions in the NSPA are vastly exploited for test activities by European industry and an important capacity for value chains in many industries. The cold climate, big land areas, infrastructure and technical competence provide important environments for European testbeds in areas such as transport and smart cities. Space technology and infrastructure: The NSPA profit from the strong knowledge hubs surrounding the space universities and institutes and is particularly suitable both for launching satellites and collection of data from satellites in polar orbit.
Distance spanning technologies
E-health, hospitals, technology, infrastructure. The sparsely population and vast geography in combination with limited geographical resources forces the public and private actors of NSPA to be innovative to provide healthcare services to the public. They collaborate in clusters to develop new solutions for E-health in the academic world and are also tested and applied by health care providers in the region.
Research in minerals
The extensive reserves of minerals and raw materials in NSPA has led to a specialization of the research resources that together with the companies constitute a world-leading cluster for sustainable mining, metallurgy, and refinement.
Forestry and refinement of bio-based resources is an integrated part of the NSPA economies due to that has developed over time from export of raw materials to highly refined materials such as biofuels, paper, building materials, textiles and outer goods that support the European green transition.
The EU has several policy instruments and initiatives to support member countries and regions in developing sustainable green and digital solutions that will help Europe and the Arctic reach the Green Deal goals while strengthening its industrial competitiveness and self-sufficiency. Under the umbrella of industry alliances and Horizon Europe partnerships the EU is collaborating to set a common investment strategy that will mobilize private and member state recourses in joint investments. The EU show dedication to the green transition by introducing EU wide legislation in a high phase, that also brings a risk for NSPA as a front runner and can limit the industries innovations.