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Agreements to boost innovation to be concluded with cities

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 20.5.2020 13.33 | Published in English on 26.5.2020 at 15.43
Press release

An agreement will be concluded between the state and university cities on ecosystems that enable closer cooperation between cities and the state to drive research, development and innovation.

The state will sign ecosystem agreements with the Greater Helsinki area and other university cities and towns. Participating cities and towns are Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Rovaniemi, Vaasa, Joensuu, Kuopio, Jyväskylä, Lappeenranta, Lahti, Pori, Seinäjoki, Mikkeli, Kajaani and Kokkola.

“The participating regions represent the full variety of Finnish regions and cities, each with their own, unique potential. I am delighted of this opportunity for deeper development cooperation between the state and the selected cities and towns,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.

The objective of the agreements to be concluded is to build innovation ecosystems, in other words intensify cooperation within networks, strengthen key competences and increase effectiveness. The agreements also aim to bring research and networks using it together into larger, mutually reinforcing competence clusters. Specifically, the agreements seek to make effective use of the cities’ large future investments as platforms for innovation development.

“This operating model allows us to create something new, to support business life and enterprises, and to enhance regional strengths. The agreements also provide cities with access to new international and national networks,” Minister Lintilä notes.

The ecosystem agreements will be implemented as part of the EU’s new regional and structural policy programme 2021-2027. They will drive the achievement of the EU’s sustainable urban development objectives in Finland. During the current programming period, sustainable urban development is being pursued through a joint strategy of the six largest Finnish cities. Opportunities for participation will be expanded to more cities and towns in the upcoming period.

“Since the government formation talks, it has been our goal to increase agreement-based cooperation between the state, cities and regions. Now, we have the chance to do more and do better,” Lintilä says.

An ecosystem refers to a model of cooperation that brings together businesses, higher education institutions, research institutes and financing providers to drive innovation, new business and new solutions to improve the wellbeing of Finnish people. An ecosystem provides opportunities for unique pilots projects and testing environments for product and service development. It also provides access to cutting-edge knowledge and expertise. It involves a strategic partnership designed to implement common objectives and visions over a longer term. 

“Ecosystem agreements represent an example of Government efforts to make Finland the most effective environment for experiments and innovations in the world by 2030,” Lintilä concludes.

The implementation of the agreements will be evaluated and reviewed periodically. Cities will receive more detailed instructions on the procedure in late May or early June. The agreements will be drawn up in collaboration with the participating cities by the end of September.

The purpose of the agreements is to support the creation of attractive innovation clusters and ecosystems, and to build connections between Finnish players and international research, development and innovation networks and value chains. Innovation networks are invaluable for Finnish players hoping to quickly adopt information and expertise generated elsewhere.

Jenny Hasu, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. 040 658 35104
Mika Pikkarainen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, p.  029 506 3622
Johanna Osenius, Regional Development Manager, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, p. 029 506 4937
Katja Palonen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, p. 029 504 7071

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