ReNEW (Reimagining Norden in an Evolving World) aims at developing path-breaking research on the Nordic region against the background of an increasingly challenging global context.

The Nordic region has attracted global interest in the last decade. It has been favourably cited for combining economic competitiveness and innovation with social equality and well-being. Topping global indexes of happiness, competitiveness and equality, the Nordic states featured as models in the presidential election campaigns in both the US 2016 and France 2017, in the Brexit and Scottish independence referenda, and in debates over gender policy, education and social investment in the EU and beyond.

This interest has created demand for knowledge about Nordic societies and institutions, ranging from the economics of the tripartite model and small state internationalism to the cultural innovations of new Nordic cuisine, Nordic design and Nordic noir. The idealization of the region has, however, been tempered the electoral success of right-wing populists and by criticisms of the Nordic countries, for example over their treatment of asylum-seekers and non-western immigrants. And to be sure, dystopian images of the Nordic countries are also frequently circulated abroad.

Applying cross-disciplinary and critical analyses we examine Nordic responses to global challenges in order to better understand their paradoxes, added-value and limitations. Six cross-cutting themes have been identified as the initial focus of activities within ReNEW, in response to current global challenges affecting the Nordic countries:

1. Nordic cooperation and region-building

2. Democracy, governance and law

3. Public policy, gender equality and labour markets

4. Imagining Norden - branding and Nordic reputation

5. Multiculturalism and globalization  

6. Nordic culture and media


Major instruments for achieving the goals of ReNEW are:

  • A mobility and exchange programme for scholars and students.
  • Educating a new generation of scholars through an annual Summer School and other Phd and post-doc training courses.
  • Academic research and dissemination events including smaller workshops and seminars, as well as an annual conference arranged at one of the six partner universities
  • Public outreach, providing research-based knowledge, with high relevance for policy-making institutions and promoting dialogue with policy-makers, businesses and third sector actors.
  • Raising the standard and international visibility of academic publishing on the Nordic region by concentrating the expertise, establishing a book series, and by providing an opportunity for researchers to publish their aritcles in a wide range of first class journals..
  • Establishing a digital resource and a web platform that offers a comprehensive source of research-based information on the Nordic countries in easily-accessible formats.