Online Peer Review in Lapland

Second peer review online-event for project IMPROVE was organised by Regional Council of Lapland, it took place on 19-20. October. Peer Review was initially planned as a face-to-face meeting in Rovaniemi (Finland) but turned into an online meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two-day event brought together project partners from eight regions and Lapland`s regional stakeholders. During three sessions speakers presented Lapland`s strategies and RDI funding as well as the practical examples on projects and international cooperation. The presentations were followed by discussion in which partners raised questions and comments on presented topics.

On the first day, the event`s focus was on regional governance and implementation of ERDF in Lapland. Lapland Agreement and Smart Specialisation Programme are regional strategies guiding the activities. These strategies are based on joint commitment and co-operation between regional actors.

On the first day´s second session regional authorities presented the implementation of ERDF and smart specialisation strategy in terms of supporting SMEs and RDI. In Lapland, all project applications are discussed in a specific working group consisting of specialists covering all funds and intermediate organisations. In regular meetings of the group, programmes and funding are coordinated to increase cooperation of projects, as well as to prevent overlapping actions.

International collaboration and networking are strategic choices of Lapland`s smart specialisation programme. An example of successful interregional cooperation in which Lapland is included is East and North Finland`s (ENF) smart specialisation strategy. The strategy is based on common competencies and growth sectors of the area. The aim is to help business in ENF by creating global value chains, networks and clusters role in order to promote growth and competitiveness.

On the second day, the focus of the event moved on to stakeholders` views on development activities. The examples of Industrial Circular Economy Cluster, Case TEQU and Municipality of Sodankylä presented the variety of actors and development projects taking place in Lapland. Despite the different scale and aim of the cases, similar to all of them is a practical SME driven perspective on development and motivation to achieve tangible results.

Lapland`s IMPROVE project team was very impressed by the active discussion that took place during the event. With feedback from project partners, it is possible to find solutions to the specific issues raised by the meeting’s agenda.

The next Peer Review and Interregional thematic workshop will take place on 2.-3.12 organised by the Regional Coordination and Development Commission of Centro, Portugal.