The Arctic region consists of the European Arctic (Greenland, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Arctic Finland, Arctic Norway, and Arctic Sweden), the American Arctic (Alaska and northern Canada) and parts of northern Russia. The region is characterised by severely cold climate, sparse population and the wealth of natural resources (oil and gas, minerals and metal ores). Arctic is home to indigenous Sami people with a strong cultural heritage and endowed with their own rights and autonomy.


The Arctic is a region of strategic importance for the EU. In October 2021, a new EU policy for Arctic was launched to foster a stronger EU engagement for a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Arctic. Smart Specialisation is has an important role in the new policy, notably to support sustainable innovation for the green transition and help the regions benefit from the investments from the EU Recovery Plan. The northern Finnish and Swedish regions are also eligible for the Just Transition Fund focused on alleviating the social and economic costs resulting from the transition to a climate-neutral economy.

The European Arctic regions in North Finland (Lapland), North Sweden (Norrbotten and Västerbotten), and Northern Norway (Troms og Finnmark and Nordland) have all developed Smart Specialisation strategies. The strategies have been increasingly targeting sustainability challenges. The combined challenges of climate crisis and geopolitical instability have become of particular importance for Arctic. The Arctic regions are aligning their S3 with the European Green Deal placing green and digital transitions at the heart of their strategies. They also consider the SDGs an important strategic reference for their strategic development goals while recognising the global role of the region. 

As an example, the combination of knowledge and skills and accessibility of minerals and metals make Arctic a good location for the production of new generation batteries which are indispensable to power the green transition away from fossil fuels. A phrase “Nordic Battery Belt” was coined as an umbrella term for battery-related activities in the region, including construction of gigafactories for sustainable battery production. 
The European Commission has put forward ambitious yet realistic proposals for a modern EU budget. It is time for an EU budget that reflects rapid developments in innovation, the economy, the environment and geopolitics, amongst others.

Latest news


Smart Specialisation in the Arctic Regions
On 11th of October the S3 Platform invites to discuss how smart specialisation supports sustainable and innovative development of Arctic regions at Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik


Sustainable development and Sustainable Development Goals in Smart Specialisation strategies in the European Arctic regions

The revised EU Arctic Policy highlights smart specialisation as an important approach for innovation policy helping to strengthen the capacity and resilience of the European Arctic societies and economies (European Commission, 2021). With its overarching goals to foster structural transformation,...

The EU Blue Economy Report 2020

In its third edition, the EU Blue Economy Report continues to analyse the scope and size of the Blue Economy in the European Union. It aims at providing support to policymakers and stakeholders in the quest for a sustainable development of oceans, coastal resources and, most notably, to the...

The European Commission Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and t he Joint Research Centre
Smart Specialisation in Sparsely Populated European Arctic Regions

This report explores applications of smart specialisation in sparsely populated European Arctic Regions. The paper provides an overview of the specific context of Arctic regions and examples of how smart specialisation has been implemented there with aim to discover how smart specialisation and...

Jukka Teräs, Viktor Salenius, Laura Fagerlund and Lina Stanionyte
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