Innovation policy promotes growth and renews the operating environment
Finland’s competitiveness and success in the global market are based on skills, new knowledge and innovations. Research, development and innovation activities (RDI) play an essential role in productivity growth, renewal of business and industry, and wellbeing in society. The expenditure target of 4 per cent for R&D aims at more efficient and productive innovation activities in Finland.
Finland and its innovation environment are considered to be among the best in the EU and internationally. The objectives of innovation policy are to ensure Finland’s competitiveness and success, the renewal of value-creating business and society, and the progressive development of the operating environment.
Challenges, missions and changes require cooperation and create new opportunities
The solving of global challenges as well as national and EU missions, strategic partnerships and the membership in NATO create significant new networks and funding and business opportunities. Innovation policy supports and directs RDI activities so that the opportunities to renew the economy and society are used sustainably and fairly.
Broad-based cooperation across different national and regional policy areas, companies and public operators is the only way to respond to major social challenges and transitions. What is needed is the ability to define strategic priorities as well as cooperation between different policy areas and national and regional operators.
A constantly evolving innovation-friendly operating environment is at the core of measures
Solving urgent and complex challenges in society, accelerating the digital, green and sustainability transitions (such as sustainable food production or the phasing out of fossil fuels) require effective allocation of RDI investments and new operating methods. Geopolitical tensions and the growing importance of technologies in achieving national and strategic goals form an increasingly complex international operating environment.
Innovation policy aims to ensure the best possible conditions and operating environment for innovation activities. Key policy instruments include public RDI funding as well as private funding supporting it, experimental and development environments, innovation-friendly regulation, innovative public procurement, advanced management of intellectual property rights, competence development and talent growth, and an approach supportive of start-ups. More market-oriented measures will ensure a rapid scaling and dissemination of solutions created by RDI activities.
Together, these measures will create an environment in Finland, which will encourage operators (entrepreneurs, companies, corporations, the public sector, higher education institutions and research organisations) to engage in bold solution-oriented innovation, renewal and growth.
Long-term innovation policy share risks
Innovations are based on new information produced by research organisations, companies and other operators in society and their ability to apply it innovatively. In addition, first-class ideas and the combination of such ideas, continuous anticipation, diverse expertise, networks, interaction and cooperation between operators, and open flow of information are required. At the same time, a cross-disciplinary approach to science and research, cooperation between business and research, and the importance of the humanities, social sciences and creative sectors in the development and introduction of innovative solutions will increase.
Key incentives for innovation policy include RDI funding and programmes of the Academy of Finland, Business Finland and the EU. The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) and the regional councils use EU regional and structural policy funds to support the RDI activities of companies and corporations. In addition, innovation-friendly regulation and operating environment, ecosystems under development and cooperation networks and platforms create their own opportunities and incentives. The aim of the Act on Research and Development Funding is to raise Finland’s RDI expenditure to at least 4 per cent of GDP by 2030 and to increase productivity, employment and tax revenue. Public investments and measures will provide a long-term foundation for the operating environment, spread the risks faced by companies and corporations, and ensure activities in areas where private funding alone might not be sufficient.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for preparing and implementing Finland’s innovation policy together with other ministries. The objectives and means are outlined in the multiannual funding plan of the parliamentary RDI working group (2022). The development of the innovation system is led by the Research and Innovation Council, but innovation policy and its effectiveness are assessed continuously as part of other policy processes.
EU: European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS), EIS profile of Finland, Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS), RIS profile of Finland
OECD: STIP Compass, STI-Outlook 2023, Finland Economic Snapshot and Main page of Finland
WIPO: Global Innovation Index (GII), GII profile of Finland
Harri Länsipuro - harri.lansipuro(at)gov.fi