The project “Emerging trade routes between Europe and Asia” is conducted at IIASA in 2020-2021 as part of and supported by the Northern Dimension Institute (NDI) Think Tank Action. It engages experts across disciplines and borders into a foresight study to delineate scenarios of plausible alternative futures of shipping in the Arctic as an alternative Europe-Asia transportation option and to facilitate a better understanding by all relevant stakeholders, including decision-makers and the general public, of key uncertainties that are likely to affect the development of the Arctic region, notably, around shipping.

The project delivers five scenarios of how commercial shipping can develop in the Arctic until 2050 based on the key identified drivers across economic, environmental, governance, and technological dimensions. The project methodology is based on a series of co-creation foresight workshops involving representatives of policy, business, and academic communities from different ND countries. 

NDI Think Tank Action

The Northern Dimension Institute (NDI), established in 2009, is an academic partner in the EU’s Northern Dimension (ND) framework that aims at promoting dialogue and cooperation between the EU, Russia, Norway and Iceland and supporting the EU Arctic policy. The NDI Think Tank Action aims to enhance genuine regional cooperation in the ND area, which stretches from the European Arctic and Sub-Arctic areas to the southern shores of the Baltic Sea, including the countries in its vicinity and from North-West Russia in the east to Iceland and Greenland in the west, through science diplomacy, capacity building, and people-to-people contacts. Action partnership includes universities and research organizations with high-quality expertise related to the environment, climate change impact in the Arctic, emerging transport and logistics routes between Europe and Asia, energy efficiency, health and wellbeing, and culture. Currently, the NDI network comprises 33 members.

The NDI Think Tank Action 2019-2021 focuses on four core topics:

  • Role of culture and creative industries in solving societal challenges,
  • Healthy ageing,
  • Emerging routes between Europe and Asia, and
  • Combating climate change/curbing black carbon emissions.

It is jointly designed and implemented by Aalto University as the Lead Partner, in partnership with the University of Oulu (UOULU, Finland), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA, Austria), Northern (Arctic) Federal University (NArFU, Russia), and St Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON, Russia).  


Project presentations

Strelkovskii, N. , Erokhin, D., & Rovenskaya, E. (2022). Development of various forms of security in the Arctic under different future socio-economic scenarios. In: Polar (In)Securities: The Future of Global Affairs in the Circumpolar North, 8-10 June, 2022, The Arctic Institute (online).

Erokhin, D., Rovenskaya, E. , & Strelkovskii, N. (2022). Futures of shipping in the Arctic until 2050. In: Annual International Symposium on Foresight as part of the 9th Annual International Conference on Social Sciences, 25 – 28 July 2022, Athens.

Erokhin, D., Rovenskaya, E. , & Strelkovskii, N. (2022). Futures of shipping in the Arctic until 2050. In: Arctic Frontiers 2022, 08 – 11 May 2022, Tromsø.

Erokhin, D., Rovenskaya, E. , & Strelkovskii, N. (2022). Futures of shipping in the Arctic until 2050. In: 11th International Forum on Shipping, Ports, and Airports, 16 – 20 May 2022, Hong Kong.

Project events


Virtual event

Northern Dimension Forum