Four European innovation hubs to be established in Finland
From the seven Finnish candidates for European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH), the European Commission has selected four for further development. Hubs are service clusters that support SMEs in their digital renewal, in particular.
The four EDIHs selected from Finland are:
- Robocoast, with Prizztech Oy as coordinator (manufacturing industry)
- HealthHub Finland, with Turku Science Park Oy as coordinator (health)
- Finnish AI Region, with the City of Helsinki as coordinator (digital services, smart cities and health)
- Location Innovation Hub, with National Land Survey of Finland as coordinator (geographic information)
“Finland sent a group of high-quality candidates to the competition. The four EDIHs selected will make their expertise and research data available to SMEs and support the digitalisation of companies. This cooperation will create new opportunities for companies to grow and employ. The aim is to launch the selected projects this autumn,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.
The European Commission selected the hubs together with external experts. Innovation hubs will create a new kind of European network by making use of existing activities.
Each of the seven Finnish candidates exceeded the minimum requirements in the evaluation, which indicates a high level of competence not only within them but also in Finland as a whole. In addition to providing support to customer companies in digitalisation development, the responsibility for the innovation hub offers organisations the opportunity to improve their competence and develop their operations.
European network with grass-roots services
EDIHs operate as non-profit service centres that aim to speed up digital investments and digitalisation of businesses and the public sector. In practice, EDIHs are consortia based on existing organisations and activities that support the objectives of the EDIH concept. In most cases, however, EDIHs are new consortia that offer a new kind of service package.
The Europe-wide network enables customers to apply for specialised services suitable for them across Europe. The EU is expected to fund the establishment of a network of up to 200 EDIHs.
Half of the funding for the EDIHs comes from the EU’s Digital Europe Programme, which has allocated EUR 321 million for the first three years of EDIHs’ activities. Finland’s share of this funding is about EUR 6.2 million. The operating period of EDIHs is seven years and the planned EU-funding for Finland for that period totals around EUR 14.8 million.
The EU funds half of the activities of EDIHs, and the selected consortia must raise 20% of the funding. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment provides matching funds for the Finnish EDIHs in the first three operating years for 30 per cent of the costs, i.e. a maximum total of EUR 3,709,200. The Ministry and Business Finland are currently preparing the implementation of matching funds. Further funding after the three years has not yet been discussed.
Mari Kokko, Special Adviser to Minister of Economic Affairs, tel. +358 40 521 2124
Sampsa Nissinen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7189
Lasse Laitinen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7162