Increased, intensified and insightful collaboration among the universities

The Interreg Nord project Academic (un)employment and mobility in the Arctic North – A Joint Socially Responsible Approach was finished with concrete cross border cooperation actions.

People on an ice road

University of Oulu, Luleå University of Technology and UiT The Arctic University of Norway has worked together to promote academic work-related mobility in northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

What are the projects best achievement/results?
The best achievements are increased, intensified and insightful collaboration among the Arctic Five universities. In aim to identify, understand and find solutions for joint cross-border academic labor-based mobility challenges there is need to gain an in-depth understanding of complexities relative to the situation. Universities in the region are such a valuable resource as they function as central RDI facilitators in the region in collaboration with various stakeholders both from public and private sectors and also create jobs that are core for the Nordic welfare society.

Read more about Arctic Five at The Arctic Five – The Arctic Five (

The project kick-off took place in Oulu as a side-event of the UArctic congress in 2018 with more than 500 people involved and the closing event the Academic North Summit 2020 was arranged entirely online – with confidence. The SUMMIT was a real highlight at the end of project. All the speeches from ministry level addresses to project participants from different countries showed how important the Arctic North region is for us who live here as well as others who are not yet here. The actors got a clear understanding how important it is to continue the co-operation across borders and promote mobility on all levels.

During the project it was interesting to learn about the best practices and how recruitment really is done as well as what kind of needs there exists in aim to make it more feasible.

The North is ON

What’s next?
The Academic North project enabled the partners to become a bit closer to each other – despite of the covid-19 pandemic that kept them apart during the final year. They made collegial connections that will sustain for years to come. They also managed to create an Arctic Five university HR network and co-design an idea of a digital platform for continuing collaboration for improving the conditions for Academic work and cross-border mobility that is surprisingly low. Collaboration with HR services in each country resulted in a new project application on Virtual HR services – a work that needs to continue by advancing digitalization more in HR sector services development, not least for sustainable skills supply.

What has been the added value of the cross-border cooperation?


In a one word the added value has been the knowledge sharing. Sharing knowledge about how difficult the competing situation is at ICT sector and cities HR departments when trying to build collaborative networks. Also, the knowledge about the different structures and organizations in each country is important to acknowledge (thinking about how regions are so important in Sweden but not in the same way in Finland and Norway). It was also important to witness the obstacles and challenges one might stumble upon while seeking a position abroad – as it becomes evident from our project’s participants testimonials. Borders that appeared when hiring staff even though it was a question of distance work, all this bureaucracy that easily can discourage working abroad. According to the pandemic Covid-19 it is assumed from a research perspective that these experiences might or will affect the future work situations from a gender and equality perspective and there are still obstacles such as taxation systems as well as classified work for instance in the ICT sector.

The cross-border labor-based mobility challenges are similar throughout the region and would benefit in co-creating solutions together – basically in all issues in the region – because decisions made in one country influence the other two as well. Academic North SUMMIT – call for action:  was one of the intentions to voice our common concerns together in an aim to bring our concerns on the table of the joint Nordic decision makers as well as our national governments. The project partners are looking forward further communications with related stakeholders on matters addressed in the call.

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