Personal profile

Personal Statement

Heidi joined the European Policies Research Centre in 2006. Her research areas focus on local and regional development issues in the high North and the Arctic, territorial cooperation and rural development research in Europe. 

Heidi Vironen (EPRC) is a Senior Knowledge Exchange and Research Fellow in the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC), a co-Director of the IQ-Net consortium (Improving the Quality of Structural Funds Programme Management), and a Shadow Director of EPRC Delft Board, which is EPRC's legal entity based at the University of Technology of Delft (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. 

Her research covers local, regional and rural development issues in Europe, with a specific focus on the areas of the High North and the Arctic.

  • She is the country expert for Finland and Sweden under EPRC's research projects and key consortia, IQ-Net (Improving the Quality of Structural Funds Programme Management) and EoRPA (European Regional Policy Research Consortium), researching the design and implementation of national regional development policies, and the implementation of Structural Funds.


  • She specialises in territorial cooperation, with a particular emphasis on the Northern countries. She has managed and contributed to a number of evaluations and research projects, including: ex ante, ongoing and impact evaluations of the 2007-13 Northern Periphery (NPP) and 2014-20 Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA), and Area Analysis and Programming Support for the 2021-27 NPA; a Scoping Study for the Irish Sea area; a Study on the Impacts of Interreg in the UK; ex ante evaluation of the North Sea Programme; Evaluations of the INTERACT programme; the assessment of territorial cooperation programmes in Scotland; Support to the Development of the 2021-27 PEACE PLUS Programme; the ESPON project on 'European Territorial Cooperation as a Factor of Growth, Jobs and Quality of Life’; as well as other studies related to the regional cooperation in the Arctic.


  • She is particularly interested in issues affecting the rural and peripheral areas of Europe, especially in the North of Europe. She is currently the PI in a Horizon funded research project on RUSTIK (Rural Sustainability Transition through Integration of Knowledge for improved policy processes). 

She has a number of management responsibilities at EPRC. She is involved in EPRC's management group and is a Shadow Director of the Board overseeing the operation of EPRC Delft Stichting, a legal entity of EPRC based at the University of Technology in Delft in the Netherlands. In addition, she has specific lead roles within the research projects and consortia of EPRC:

  • She is a Director of the IQ-Net consortium, which brings together regional and national partners from Structural Funds programmes from 13 countries. It aims to improve the quality of Structural Funds programme management through exchange of experience and mutual learning. The network involves a structured programme of applied research and debate with regular meetings (Coffee Break Workshops, Conferences) and advisory support for network partners. 
  • She is the PI for a Horizon funded research project on RUSTIK (Rural Sustainability Transition through Integration of Knowledge for improved policy processes). This is a four-year transdisciplinary research project aiming to enable rural communities’ actors and policy makers to design better strategies, initiatives and policies fostering sustainability transitions of rural areas. 

At the University level, she is the institutional representative of the University of Strathclyde at the University of the Arctic Network (UArctic) and the Scottish Arctic Network (ScAN) Steering Group. She led and contributed to the discussions which paved the way for the University of Strathclyde to become a member of the University of the Arctic network in 2020 (UArctic) and subsequently a member of the Scottish Arctic Network (ScAN).

At the School of Government and Public Policy, she is a member of the Gender Equality and Diversity Committee and contributes to the Athena Swan application of the School. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Post Graduate Certificate in European Studies, Centre International de Formation Européenne (CIFE)

1 Aug 20041 Aug 2005

Award Date: 1 Aug 2005

Master of Arts, European Management Studies, University of Aberdeen

1 Sept 19981 Jul 2002

Award Date: 1 Jul 2002

Erasmus exchange year, University of Applied Sciences, Kufstein

1 Sept 200030 Jun 2001

Award Date: 30 Jun 2001


  • Arctic
  • Northern Europe
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • Regional development
  • Rural development
  • Transitions
  • Demographic development
  • Energy transition
  • Digital transition
  • Economic transition
  • Gender equality


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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