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BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena

RegReSir - Regional Resilience and Sustainable Industrial Restructuring

Alternative title: Regional robusthet og bærekraftig næringsomstilling

Awarded: NOK 5.0 mill.

Project Number:

316539

Project Period:

2020 - 2022

Funding received from:

Location:

The COVID-19 crisis has created significant challenges for the Norwegian economy. This project has analyzed how companies, industries, and regions have handled these challenges and to which extent policy has fostered new adaptations. A fundamental question for our analyses has been to what extent companies and industries return to the 'old' normal after the crisis or whether they use the crisis to develop more robust strategies and adaptations. Here we are particularly concerned with balancing economic efficiency, environmentally friendly solutions, and socially inclusive industrial practices. So far, the project has conducted a firm survey (800 responses) and case studies of selected industries, regions, and policy initiatives. The survey indicates that those firms hardest hit by the crisis also have the strongest response. The responses are linked to digitalization of production and sales, reduction of cost, and introduction of green innovations. Case studies of selected industries also show server differences between industries. Within aquaculture, we can only observe minor changes related to marketing and sales. The industry is now more or less back to normal (bounce back). Within the maritime sector, the crisis has been used to carry on with the shift towards more sustainable strategies (bounce forward). Tourism is among the industries that COVID-19 has hit hardest, and we find tendencies toward a more radical shift within the industry (for instance, a stronger emphasis on the Norwegian market and niche tourism) (bounce beyond). Moreover, our analysis of policy responses shows that national policy initiatives have mostly been oriented towards helping firms through the crisis and less towards stimulating green restructuring

The proposed project investigates the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on industrial development patterns and industrial policy in Norwegian regions. When considering the economic consequences of this crisis on Norwegian businesses, the strategic, long-term question remains whether to bounce back to the ‘old normal’, i.e. to a situation we had before the outbreak of the Corona crisis, or to use this crisis as a departure point towards a ‘new normal’. To answer this , the project maps and explains the ability of regions, industries and firms not just to bounce back (adaptation) but also their potential to bounce forward (adaptability) towards new, more sustainable development paths in terms of economically robust, environmentally friendly and socially inclusive industrial activities. Theoretically, the research builds on and adds to evolutionary economic geography to understand the uneven distribution of firm-level and regional capabilities and combines this with insights from socio-technical transition studies to understand the agentic role of firms’ innovation strategies and public policies in driving new path development. Methodologically the analysis combines large scale quantitative data on determinants of regional resilience and in-depth qualitative case studies of the uneven impacts and responses to crisis across industries and regions. The research will provide analytical tools and policy-relevant insights how sustainable and digital industry restructuring unfolds in different ways across different types of regions. Given its strategic importance for the Norwegian economy the project emphasis resource-based industries (seafood/aquaculture, maritime, offshore renewable energy technologies and bioenergy/biomaterials). Through a focus on policy experimentation we also contribute with insights for policy-making on how to shape industry and innovation policies that balance an expedient recovery with sustainable restructuring across Norwegian industries and regions.

Activity:

BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena