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The Bothnian Arc cross-border innovation policy mix

There are interesting cross-border policy experiments but there is a need for more strategic and structural policy instruments to fulfil a common vision for the area’s development. Cross-border co-operation in innovation in the Bothnian Arc evolves thanks to the promotional efforts of the Bothnian Arc Association and from a collection of EU Territorial Co-operation (Interreg A) funded projects. There are no dedicated policy instruments corresponding to the vision of the Bothnian Arc, but rather interesting experiments based on grassroots initiatives from key actors - mainly higher education institutions (HEIs) and local authorities. A main issue concerns the possibility to learn from these initiatives to drive the cross-border partnership in fruitful directions and address the barriers revealed by these projects. The key question faced today by actors of the Bothnian Arc is how to evolve from a situation of mutual exchange of information and a collection of externally funded projects towards aligned projects with joint funding from the countries and regions involved, and ultimately, the development of a joint strategy for the cross-border area.

Table 4.7. Cross-border policy instruments: Bothnian Arc


Presence in the Bothnian Arc

Strategy and policy development

Benchmarking and policy learning

Analytical exercise (i.e. mapping of clusters or value

chains, technology foresight exercises)

Joint branding of the cross-border area

Mayoral collaboration between Oulu and Lulea

R&D support

Joint public research programmes

Finnish-Swedish collaboration in the wood sector High Bio project

Vision System Research Platform Oil Research

Prolas (laser-wielding technology)

Nordic Interaction and Mobility Research Platform

Mata Jamt 2 (integrated equality and diversity in the workplace)

Joint research infrastructure, shared access to research facilities

Cross-border private R&D funding programmes (generic and thematic)

Increasing Energy Efficiency in Buildings (public-private) SensorBand in Real Life Environment (public-private)

Technology transfer and innovation support

Cross-border innovation advisory services (vouchers, intermediaries)

Nordic Business Links

Advisory to spin-off and knowledge-intensive start-ups

Forum for the Industrial Future e-maintenance for industry and SMEs

Other technology transfer centres and extension programmes

S&T parks and innovation networks

Cross-border science, technology parks and incubators

Cluster or network initiatives

Bothnian Arc Steel and Metal Industry project (research) Filmarc (film industry support; training in creative industries)

Human capital investment

Scholarships/student exchanges

Joint university or other higher education programmes

Nordic Mining School InnoPreneurship

Other joint activities (University of Oulu and University of Lulea)

Talent attraction, retention or mobility schemes and support initiatives (i.e. cross-border placement or information for cross-border commuters)


Note: Some of these projects extend beyond the Bothnian Arc area into the wider European Territorial Co-operation cross-border area (Interreg IVA Nord).

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