Study Tour to Karlstad, Värmland
The BSR Stars S3 project arranged a two-day Study Tour to Karlstad, Värmland on the 28-29 of November 2017. The Study Visit was hosted by Nordregio, Nordic Council of Ministers, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth and Region Värmland.
At the BSR Stars S3 Study Tour, key actors of the Värmland Innovation System were introduced and opportunities for concrete cooperation with Värmland presented to the participants. The company cases that were presented at the Study Tour covered the topics of bioeconomy/circular economy and digitalisation.
Region Värmland is a case in point when it comes to successfully implementing Smart Specialisation into the running of their organisation. Additionally, and with a history of close collaboration between the educational institutions and the industry in the area, Värmland as a region has, and displays, great opportunities and achievements in promoting regional development in the circular and bioeconomy. Regional champions such as the Paper Province cluster in the forestry industry buttresses Värmland’s regional strengths, and provides opportunities in the several connected and corresponding businesses. Close collaboration, open dialogue, daring to take the risk, and realising their strengths in the market have been key to their success so far.
Day 1 – Getting to know the Värmland Innovation System
The first day of the Study Tour to Karlstad started at the office of Region Värmland, where presentations were held by Region Värmland and the regions key innovation actors Paper Province, Karlstad University and Compare. This provided new insights and inspiration for the participants, who could see a good case study of successful cross-collaborations. The Study Tour has already inspired some participants to put the knowledge to use e.g. in developing the regional innovation system.
In the afternoon, the Study Tour continued with a site visit to Innovation Park Karlstad, where several different companies and organisations held presentations. The company cases – presented among others by LignoCity, DigitalWell, DRINOR Ab, Renewcell and Modvion – covered the areas of bioeconomy, circular economy and digitalisation.
After the first day of the Study Tour, we asked the participant Harri Kuusela from the Council of Tampere Region what his thoughts of the day were. “I found it interesting how Region Värmland has put up their Smart Specialisation Strategy and worked it through the region, the different contributors, the public sector, the university and the industry”. Furthermore, Harri Kuusela said that the Study Visit to Karlstad opened his eyes to how well partners can achieve tight cooperation and strategic work together, even in a small region.
The Study Visit to Karlstad opened my eyes to how well partners can achieve tight cooperation and strategic work together, even in a small region.
Harri Kuusela, Council of Tampere Region
Day 2 – Opportunities for joint activities
The second day of the Study Tour to Karlstad took place at Innovation Park Karlstad. The day started with presentations on the topic of Värmland and bioeconomy & circular economy from a business perspective. The idea behind these presentations was to show their opportunities. The presenters were Kenneth Olsson from Stora Enso, Uno Olsson from COWI, and Anna Jonhed from Miller Graphics. Moreover, a brief presentation on Industrial symbiosis as a key driver of green growth was given by Jukka Teräs from Nordregio.
An interesting and thought-provoking panel discussion was held on the topic of Pooling strenghts – Nordic & Baltic lessons learned and further opportunities. The panel consisted of the by then familiar faces for the Study Tour participants – Anders Olsson from Region Värmland, Maria Hollander from Paper Province, Magnus Bårdén from Compare, Håkan Spjuth from Karlstad University, and Johanna Leino from the Baltic Institute of Finland.
As the last programme item of the Study Tour to Karlstad, presentations and a panel discussion on the topic of Transnational cooperation on bio- and circular economy: Case Värmland & Norway was conducted. The presenters were Monika Svanberg from Akerhus fylkeskommune, Tomas Breen from Hedmark fylkeskommue, Maria Hollander and Paul Nemes from Paper Province, Margareta Dahlström from Karlstad University, and Lillian Strand from Sør-Trønderlag fylke.
Concluding remarks were given by Nordregio and Region Värmland.
Jukka Teräs from Nordregio pointed out that the structure of a two-day visit, with time to discussions not only with the hosts but also among the Study Tour participants, was appreciated. “Already at the meetings, there were several contacts made between the Värmland host organisations, and the Study Tour participants, for example in the fields of circular economy and service design.” Furthermore, Jukka Teräs pointed out that the Study tour put specific emphasis on matchmaking, including e.g. presentations of participants and host organisations in both days. Participants found useful contacts with regards to their own smart specialisation schemes.
Already at the meetings, there were several contacts made between the Värmland host organisations, and the Study Tour participants, e.g. in the fields of circular economy and service design.
Jukka Teräs, Nordregio
Nordic Council of Ministers