There is a simple – yet strategic – idea behind Östergötland’s many international projects in the Baltic Sea region:

– A lot of our work is connected to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, but we could never fulfill the objectives of the strategy on our own. We must cooperate with other counties and actors in the Baltic Sea region, explains Sigrid Jansson, who has managed several of Östergötland’s international projects.

Östergötland, a county in southeast Sweden, is currently starting up a new project with partners in Sweden, Estonia and Moldova. This project deals with access to open data as a driver for innovation and economic growth. The starting point was, as always, the county’s existing work, and a chance to create something bigger in cooperation with others, across the borders.

– The county produces lots of data. We realized that these data can be useful for business purposes and economic growth, but that we were lacking time and resources to handle and reuse these data, says Lina Britse, project coordinator of the project “Open data for Growth”.

The idea of the “Open Data for Growth” project is to establish a common approach for local authorities to handle different types of data. This will hopefully spur innovation and economic growth, through better access to open and reliable data – a good example of the benefits of working together across the borders, according to Lina Britse.

– It gives us new knowledge and new perspectives, but also a chance to make greater impact and to explore new ideas together with regions in other countries.

The County Administrative Board of Östergötland has received funding from the Swedish Institute for initiating several new projects, in addition to “Open Data for Growth”.

– Many of these projects have developed into bigger projects. It takes time to develop a good application and to establish a good partnership. Through SI’s seed funding, we have been given the opportunity to test project ideas and see if they hold for larger projects and if it is relevant to work across borders with the issue, says Sigrid Jansson.

About seed funding from the Swedish Institute

The project “Open Data for Growth” is funded by SI through its funding scheme “Seed funding for cooperation projects in the Baltic Sea region”. It is aimed at Swedish actors who want to work with cross-border joint challenges together with organisations from the countries around the Baltic Sea including Russia and the EU Eastern Partnership countries.  A new call is now open and closes 12 February 2020.