How can we attract more people to Northern Norway?
Big crowd of people. People gathered together in one place. Top view from drone.

InnNord is a research program initiated by the High North Centre for Business and Governance at Nord University in Bodø Norway, seeking to answer the following question: How can we attract more people to Northern Norway?

  • The issue

    The North of Norway is experiencing a difficult dilemma: at the same time as especially young people emigrate and move south, the economy in the region is growing. This creates challenges such as labor shortage and an ageing population, which again contribute to reduce sustainability in the Arctic society in general.

    The importance

    The Norwegian government has declared the North as “the most important strategic area of Norway”, emphasizing the importance of increased attention to education and research, resource management, business and transportation. Also, the High North, rich in natural resources and with cheap energy power, is considered to be essential for the green transition, in Norway but also globally.

    The solution?

    The mission of the InnNord project is to develop knowledge about what attracts people to the north and what makes them stay, especially regarding the opportunities that exist for those under 40 years of age. How can we facilitate establishing a life in the North and make young people the young people in the north to see that the future is here and encourage more people to want to study, work and settle in Northern Norway?

    The goal of the projects is to develop knowledge to be used in policy making, spark debate, and give advice to companies and industries in Northern Norway.

    The program has three work packages:

    1. Local: Which initiatives within Northern Norway has been put into place?
    2. National: What political decisions has been made on a national level to face this challenge?
    3. International: What kind of experience can Norway draw from countries facing similar challenges?
  • Project team

    • Director Frode Mellemvik, Project Director
    • Researcher Elena Zhurova Sæther
    • Director Erlend Bullvåg
    • Research Assistant Maja Wolland Blomberg

    Project committee

    • Arctic Mayors Forum: Patti Bruns, General Secretary,
    • Business Index North: Andrey Mineev, Researcher, High North Center Nord University Business School
    • Innovation Norway Nordland: Monica Ahyee, Leader
    • Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions Nordland (LO Nordland): Rita Lekang, Regional Leader
    • Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions Nordland (LO Nordland): Adrian Traasdahl, Youth Representative
    • The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises Nordland (NHO Nordland): Daniel Bjarmann-Simonsen, Regional Director
    • The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises Nordland (NHO Nordland): Marthe Aas Hauge, Advisor
    • Nord University, Section for research and development: Siri Beate Arntzen, Senior Advisor, Public Relations
    • Nordkapp Municipality: Simon Pind Jessen, Leader, Section for Business and climate/environment
    • Sparebank 1 Nord-Norge: Ingvild Brox Kielland, Advisor
    • The Association of World Reindeer Herders: Anders Oskal, ICR Director
    • The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS): Robert Isaksen, Leader
  • How can we attract young people to the High North?

    Place: Side Event, Arctic Frontiers 2023 in Tromsø, Norway

    Date: February 1 2023 11.00 - 12.30

    Organiser: The High North Center for Business and Governance

    There are many reasons to look to the North.

    The Norwegian government has declared that Northern Norway is the most important strategic area in country, notably because much of the value creation will in the future take place in the North. Here we find a great paradox: while there are massive opportunities for value creation in the region, people move away. Especially young people move South. At the same time, too few young people from the South decides to move North.

    Many other regions in the Arctic are experiencing a similar need people for industrial projects and/or to ensure sustainable societies. The idea for this panel is to discuss the different situations across the arctic frontiers with expert representatives from the different countries.

    How can we benefit from each other’s experience?

    Three main questions:

    1. What are the challenges when it comes to attracting young people?
    2. What has been done to attract more young people?
    3. How’s it going? Lessons to be learned.


    Introduction: Elena Zhurova Sæther holds a PhD (2015) in Business Economics from Nord University Business School. She is currently a researcher at High North Center at Nord University. Sæther’s research areas include sustainability and Arctic energy, demography & resilience in the High North, Blue Economy, and Blue growth. Sæther performed as coordinator and expert in various international projects with multiple stakeholders aimed at establishing and developing institutional collaboration and knowledge creation in areas of sustainable Arctic development, High North governance, sustainable urban & Smart cities development in the Arctic, Blue Economy, and regional cooperation. She is a co-organizer of UArctic thematic network on Blue Economy and the Arctic and a member of RUSSNET network.

    Moderator: Maja Wolland Blomberg is a southerner who moved North a little over a year ago. She is now working as a Research Assistant on the InnNord-project at the High North Center, Nord University. She has a background from Political Science from France and is currently finalising another master in Global Management at Nord University.


    Alexandra Middleton (FIN) is an Assistant Professor in Financial Accounting at Oulu Business School, University of Oulu. Alexandra’s areas of expertise include sustainable business development, demographics, human capital, innovations, employment and connectivity solutions in the Arctic. She has been a research and analytical contributor to the Arctic region’s “Business Index North” (BIN) project that focuses on sustainable development and value creation in the Arctic and High North. Alexandra is a member of the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) Task Force on Climate-Related reporting.

    Ole Kolstand (NOR) has a BSc in social sciences (specializing in international relations) from NTNU and a MBA (specializing in strategy) from Nord University. Ole Kolstad has experience from Nordland county municipality as a advisor for international affairs, high north policy, security and preparedness. He has also experience from Maritime Forum North and four years at North Norway European Office in Brussels.

    Mia Ahlstrand (SWE) is project manager for North Sweden Green Deal. The project aims to ensure that we will approach the societal transformation that northern Sweden is facing. The major investments being made in the region are beyond anything that has been seen before. The industry is transitioning to a fossil-free future. In order to succeed, it will require a much larger workforce than currently exists. This means that we need more housing, better services, more roads, more public transport, a better selection of cultural and other leisure activities, energy supply solutions and much more. The whole of society must develop – and quickly.

    Janelle Flett (CAN) is a project coordinator on the development team for Barkley Project Group who work directly with Indigenous communities within British Columbia and the Yukon. She specialize in working on solar power development, community energy planning, and implementation. Janelle Flett holds a BSc. in Environmental Science from Mount Royal University. She is a also member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation located on Treaty 8 Territory and is Gwich’in from her mother’s ancestry. I am co-chair of the Indigenous Youth Advisory Council in partnership with Suncor. As the first cohort, I recently completed the Indigenous Clean Energy: Generation Power program.

    Reinhard Reynisson (ISL) hold a BA degree in Political Science and studied European Studies at MA level. For the last two and a half year he has worked at the Regional Institute Development Institute as specialist in regional development and as Regional Contact Point for the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. Before the current position he was the general manager of a regional economic development agency in northeast Iceland for twelve years, working on attracting investors, assisting entrepreneurs, and strengthening the general conditions of the communities in the area. Before that he was a major for almost twenty years in three different municipalities in the rural part of Iceland.

  • Where to find us
    High North Center, Nord University Business School

    Nord universitet
    Postboks 1490
    8049 Bodø

    Contact person
    Maja Wolland Blomberg

    Research assistant,

  • Will be updates soon