Smart and International Lapland

European collaboration is growing and diversifying in Lapland. This growth demands and is result of joint approach to support internationalization. Lapland has been a front runner among the European regions and created it’s smart specialisation programme in 2012. Last year the strategic priorities for international and smart specialisation were updated in wide collaboration with regional stakeholders. These priorities direct international activities towards more systematic and smart ecosystem.

European funding, both nationally managed ERDF/ESF and direct funding have provided the basis for internationalisation in Lapland. EU´s regional policy and funding framework (2014-2020) is approaching its end bringing new challenges into our horizon. In this set up we are set to secure Lapland´s role at the international playing field as active arctic influencer, the most innovative and entrepreneur-friendly region.

Smart and International Lapland project focuses on two-way international interaction and communication to the regional stakeholders regarding the possibilities smart specialisation has to offer. The objective of the project is to strengthen regional economic growth by fostering regional ecosystem thinking. The starting point is the central idea of the Arctic and international Highflier – strategy, in which internationalisation and international is natural part of smart specialisation in Lapland. Regional innovation scene and its continuous development and strengthening is in the core of this project. The prerequisite is that all regional key actors are committed and part of this work. This is supported by regional ecosystem in which the regional actors create basis of support for innovation work and new entrepreneurs.

The aim of the project is to create at EU- level unique regional ecosystem for internationalisation. This regional ecosystem will translate into centre of excellence in cooperation, which will be able foresee, utilise and build solutions for its’ businesses at EU level. Additionally, project aims to develop linkages between Lapland`s industry and S3 thematic partnerships and it seeks to improve the potential of region´s municipalities in international and smart specialisation.

In the activities, which aim to influence, we follow actively the preparation of new EU policy and funding framework for 2021-2027. Project supports bringing the key stakeholders from Lapland to jointly decided, strategic networks, European pilots and cross-regional and cross-border co-operation models. The objective of communication activities is to increase the awareness of regional actors in the areas of European partnerships and funding opportunities. The focus in the communication will lie in the results and impact of the collaborative way of working and networks.

Lapland is an active international actor and influencer in the S3 platform in several different thematic partnerships (e.g. digitalisation and safety in tourism, bioenergy and CluSport). The project seeks to develop regional industries with the help of these partnerships. Activities focusing on municipalities the project offers possibilities to familiarise the actors in municipalities with centres of excellence from other partner regions, benchmark good practices, network and utilise the new cross-border collaboration initiatives and openings.

Project total budget is 497 166 €.

Project is funded by ERDF / Regional Council of Lapland.  Total financing of ERDF is  447 448 €.


Eeva Erkinjuntti
Project Manager