Arne Isaksen

Current NoRSA Board


Board members

Markku Sotarauta, Tampere University, Finland
RSA ambassador for Finland

Laura James, Aalborg University, Denmark
RSA Ambassador for Denmark

Martin Henning, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
RSA ambassador for Sweden

Garri Raagmaa, University of Tartu, Estonia
RSA ambassador for Estonia

Elita Jermolajeva, Daugavpils University, Latvia
RSA ambassador for Latvia

Donatas Burneika, Vilnius University, Lithuania
RSA ambassador for Lithuania

Kjell Nilsson, Sweden
Representing the Nordic countries in the shape of the research institute Nordregio – Nordic Centre for Spatial Development


NORSA was formally established at a meeting in Umeå, Sweden, in September 2008. NORSA is a non-political, voluntary, self-governing organisation with non-profit objectives andshares the aims and objects of the Regional Studies Association, which are:

(a) to promote education in the field of regional studies (those studies which relate to the economic, physical and sociological problems of development in major areas) by the exchange of ideas and information (b) to stimulate and aid studies and research into regional planning, development and functions and to disseminate the results of such research


a) promote knowledge about regional and local development and governance; b) initiate and support studies and research on development and functioning of regional and local structures; c) act for the promotion of regional sciences among all subjects participating in social, political and economic life; d) establish international cooperation in theoretical and practical approaches to regional development; and, e) cooperate with various institutions, organisations and associations with similar goals and objectives.

NORSA carries out its objectives through the following means:

a) conducting events such as seminars, conferences, courses, discussions etc.; b) participation of its members in seminars and conferences held locally, nationally and internationally; c) promotion of its activities to the mass media and through its own publications and web presence; d) cooperating with authorities, institutions and organisations interested in activities run by NORSA.

NORSA’s ambition is to organise biannual Nordic conferences. The working language at the conferences will be English, since we hope to attract participants also from other parts of Europe and the world with an interest of regional issues in the Nordic context.


The idea of a Nordic Division of RSA was conceived by the four Nordic country reps in 2005, and a first conference of what was then called the Nordic Network of RSA was held in Balestrand, Norway in 2006. At this conference there was agreed to organise a second conference in Umeå 2008. Christine Hudson at Umeå University became the organising chair of this conference, while the Nordic country representatives (Markku Sotarauta, Finland, Henrik Halkier, Denmark, Peter de Souza, Sweden and Oddbjørn Bukve, Norway) took the role as a temporary board with Peter de Souza as chair. The board later supplemented itself with Margareta Dahlström from Nordregio. These were also elected to the first ordinary board of NORSA during the Umeå meeting. By electing country reps to the board of NORSA, we hope to develop NORSA in close co-operation with the RSA.

Recent Events

The 7th biannual conference of the Nordic Division of the Regional Studies Association (NoRSA) 

Davids and Goliaths: Regions in the Age of Urbanisation and Digitalisation

17th June, 2019 – 19th June, 2019, Frami Conference and Congress Centre, Seinäjoki, Finland

Image result for Frami Conference and Congress Centre in Seinäjoki

The 7th NORSA conference was held at the Frami Conference and Congress Centre in Seinäjoki, Finland from 17th to 19th June 2019. The conference was organised by the University Consortium of Seinäjoki (UCS). The main topic of the conference was ‘Davids and Goliaths: Regions in the Age of Urbanisation and Digitalisation’. Regions are entities consisting of different types of places and spaces. There are cities, towns and rural areas with different potentials and challenges. Regions are also in constant flux due to versatile economic, social and cultural processes both internal and external to them. Megatrends, such as urbanisation and digitalisation, are affecting all kinds of regional places by changing their positions, opportunities and future potential. Some regions turn out to be agile Davids and some transform into powerful Goliaths. How  this transition might happen and what this development means for the future of different regions was the focus of the conference, which had three parallel sessions, 35 papers in total and three keynote speakers; Kjell Nilsson of Nordregio; John Harrison of Loughborough University; and Tuuli Toivonen of the University of Helsinki.


Past Events

The 6th Annual NORSA Conference

The 6th NORSA conference was held at the Karlstad University in Karlstad Sweden on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th March 2017. The organisers were the University of Gothenburg (Anders Larsson) and Karlstad University (Margareta Dahlström). The main topic of the conference was ‘Region building’. Two parallel sessions were held on i) Governance and policy issues, and ii) issues on development towards more sustainable economies. A PhD course was incorporated in the conference, with a two day course on March 7 and 8 followed by the NORSA conference. A round table discussion on some actual subjects in the Nordic countries was arranged during the conference, organised by Nordregio.

For more details please click here.

The NoRSA Division is a limited agent for the Regional Studies Association but without any authority to incur financial liability for that Association.