OECD recommends: More integrated approach needed in research and innovation development

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Ministry of Education and Culture 9.6.2017 12.30
Press release
OECD recommends: More integrated approach needed in research and innovation development

The OECD has today published a review of research and innovation policy in Finland where it gives several recommendations for increased productivity, economic renewal, competence development and improved effectiveness of research. A key challenge for Finland is to transform knowledge, research results and new ideas into new products and innovations in global markets.

The OECD urges Finland to improve the steering and impact of research and innovation policy. More funding is needed in research relevant for business and industry, and there should be closer interaction between higher education institutions, research institutes and companies.

The OECD recommends Finland to develop new, strategic public-private partnerships and increase funding for VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The internationalisation of research and innovation activities needs more investments.

The OECD urges Finland to enhance economic diversification by prioritising more radical innovation projects which have the potential to lead to new high value-added products and services. It also recommends strengthening the participation of SMEs in research and innovation. This could be done by promoting collaboration between SMEs and large firms, for example. Attention should also be paid to the quality and quantity of companies’ own investments in innovation.

“Research and innovation are important resources of renewal in all policy sectors. We increased funding for research and innovation already in the Government’s mid-term policy review by allocating an additional EUR 70 million to Tekes and EUR 50 million to the Academy of Finland for the years 2018 and 2019. We will also capitalise the innovations system with EUR 120 million,” Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä explains. 

Skills must be aligned with demand

The OECD urges educational institutions to identify education needs in the changing world and revise their programmes accordingly to ensure that skills are aligned with work-life demands. It should also be easier for students to transfer between programmes and universities.

To reinforce the quality of education and research, the OECD recommends Finland to encourage defragmentation and increase specialisation both within and between education institutions. Governance reforms should be completed in the research and higher education sector, and bigger units and centres of excellence should be created, according to the OECD. 

“Creating new information is a resource for the whole society. This work is done by higher education institutions and research institutes. The OECD’s recommendations give excellent support to the goals we are working for in the Ministry of Education and Culture. We must invest in defragmentation and underline the importance of effectiveness and high-level research,” says Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.

“We also need more collaboration. A good example is the Tampere New University, which merges three higher education institutions into one, more effective university. We will also expand the possibilities for teaching cooperation between higher education institutions. In April we decided on the launching of a programme on flagship research centres,” the minister continues.

The OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: Finland 2017 was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The ministries wanted an internationally respected and independent review of the current state and reform needs of the Finnish research and innovation system.

Read more in the review’s Overall assessment and recommendations (translation into Finnish)

OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: Finland 2017 (full report in English)

See also the press release on OECD’s draft review

OECD: Finland needs a new national vision for research and innovation policy (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and Ministry of Education and Culture, 8 February 2017)

Inquiries:
Antti Valle, Industrial Counsellor, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel. +358 295 060 140
Erja Heikkinen, Counsellor for Science Affairs, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 330 101