Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021−2027 promotes regional vitality, employment and wellbeing
On 21 October 2021, the Government approved the EU regional and structural policy programme, Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021−2027, and decided to submit it to the European Commission. The programme supports industrial, energy, climate, innovation, education and employment policies as well as the work against exclusion and poverty.
The programme includes the measures of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+). The measures of the Just Transition Fund (JTF) will be included in the programme separately through a later programme amendment. The policy programme applies to continental Finland. The Government of Åland is responsible for its own programme work.
“The new seven-year Innovation and Skills in Finland programme offers a framework for long-term regional development. The programme’s funding will be used to support companies’ RDI activities, promote the availability of skilled labour, speed up the green transition and increase young people’s inclusion. In this way, the programme advances sustainable growth and people’s wellbeing,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.
Key focus on sustainable renewal, skills development and inclusion
The cross-cutting priorities of the Innovation and Skills in Finland are sustainable development, gender equality, non-discrimination, digital development, internationalisation, climate change and innovation. These priorities are part of all measures. Of the ERDF funding, 35% is allocated to climate action.
The programme has six priority areas:
- Innovative Finland (ERDF): The objective is to promote research and innovation capabilities of regions and companies with a particular focus on business and working life, and the introduction of new technologies. The funding will advance the growth and competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Another objective is to utilise digitalisation for the benefit of citizens, businesses and public administration.
- Carbon neutral Finland (ERDF): The aim is to promote energy efficiency and the circular economy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Funding will also be allocated to measures to prepare for climate change.
- More accessible Finland (ERDF): The objective is to support SMEs in Eastern and Northern Finland by developing local road transport infrastructure with separate funding for sparsely populated areas.
- Competent and inclusive Finland that provides work (ESF+): The objective is to support employment, skills, working life development, continuous learning and flexible educational paths.
- Finland of social innovations (ESF+): The aim is to support the everyday lives and wellbeing of children who are clients of child welfare services and, in particular, those children and young people who are placed outside their home.
- Finland that prevents material deprivation (ESF+): The aim is to help those in a disadvantaged position by providing support for the purchase of food and basic commodities. At the same time, the aim is to make available other services that improve the situation of those receiving aid.
Total programme budget about EUR 3.2 billion
The implementation of the new regional and structural policy programme will take place in 2021–2027. The programme funding consists of EU and national funding. The programme’s public funding amounts to EUR 2.493 billion, of which EUR 1.469 billion will come from the EU, and EUR 1.024 billion from national co-financing. The funding from the Just Transition Fund, which will be confirmed later, will total about EUR 700 million.
Programme implementation to begin in November
Each Member State will draw up a programme for the programming period of EU regional and structural policy, which will describe the starting points, objectives and measures for the development activities by the Member State as well as EU funding, in accordance with the applicable legislation for the programming period. Finland’s programme has been prepared by a broad-based partnership of representatives of ministries, regions and organisations. The European Commission is expected to give its final approval of the programme in March–April 2022.
The implementation of the programme will begin gradually with calls for project applications during the latter half of 2021. First funding decisions will be made in spring 2022. Funding is granted by regional councils, ELY Centres and the Finnish Food Authority.
The programme’s new website will be launched in November. The website contains information on, for example, the calls for project applications that will take place during the programming period.
Jenny Hasu, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, tel. +358 40 658 3510
Johanna Osenius, Director for Regional Development, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 064 937
Jaana Valkokallio, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 064 932