Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3) has developed into an important tool for regions to focus their support for regional development and to reach the forces within the regions. In the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)-funded project LOKET the region of Norrbotten takes a strategic approach to the implementation of the RIS3. By helping cluster leaders boost their capacity to lead the transformation processes in prioritized areas the region prepares for more impact from the ERDF-funds.
The project LOKET builds on the idea that regional growth, in addition to strong companies and R&I, also needs strong stakeholders that can capture the inbound capacity in the region and drive the transformation. Thereby the name LOKET which means locomotive in Swedish.
The project, running from February 2020 to May 2023 derives from the identified thematic areas in the regional Smart Specialisation Strategies to target support to these fields. Over time a set of clusters has developed organically that has now been invited to the project and includes currently clusters within Space, Mining, Composite materials, Bio-economy, Tourism, Arctic Tests and creative industries.
The aim is to create good conditions in order to build strong clusters within the county's prioritized industries and to ensure future competitiveness for northern Sweden.
Activities include meetings, study trips, analyses of the clusters and exchange of experiences between the various cluster leaders. The clusters receive external expert support to analyse the clusters and through a peer-to-peer process the results are discussed and formed in potential development in the industry. They will increase the capacity to work with durable and innovative cluster organization and learn about additional values it can bring.
The project also creates a meeting spot for cluster leaders in the region where they can exchange experiences and support the challenges it means to lead a cluster in a remote and sparsely populated area, that are the target for huge investments in green technology. That will support the European green and digital transition at the same time as it brings challenges to the local labour market and educational system to keep up.
In the long term, the region s that the project will become a catalyst for the region and for the stakeholders that are a part of the cluster. The goal is that LOKET will stimulate more cooperation between the companies, both in terms of research projects and sales to new markets, which in turn leads to innovation and growth.