Eetu Ahanen Allas Sea Pool Helsinki

The Helsinki region has in recent years applied the concept of Smart Specialisation in the development of the region. The strategy has now been revisited and its focus is redirected in order to even better serve the region. The most significant change in this update is that two themes, Smart citizen and Welfare city has been merged into a single theme which is now called Citizen city. This has been done as an answer to experience and feedback received during the implementation phase.

Smart specialisation is an innovation policy which suggests every country and region should recognise and choose its own strengths and emphasise the chosen areas in its future efforts and investments. The smart specialisation strategy for Helsinki-Uusimaa has been approved by the Regional Board in 2014. This update of the strategy has been approved by the Regional Board in 2017.

Helsinki Smart Region brand highlights the strategy and its outcomes. website shows the best
examples from the region and invites new partners from all over Europe.

Spearhead industries are sectors that the Helsinki region is known for and which are expected to see rapid growth. The main strengths aka spearhead industries of Helsinki region relate to innovation, digitality, and security. Helsinki region serves as an engine for growth for the whole country and thus has several stength areas. Consequently, Health & wellness, Urban cleantech, Citizen city and Digitalising industry are the region’s spearheds.

As a region that encompasses the Helsinki metropolitan area, knowledge creation takes place in the region’s universities and research institutes, public administration, third sector and private companies in conjunction. The expertise of the people working for these actors gives birth to strong science and research base, new technology and skills. Typically to the region, the citizens’ engagement keep increasing.

Innovation platforms and pilot environments play a key role in the development of regional innovation ecosystems and international competitiveness. They offer channels for collaboration, technology validation and distribution to international markets.

Policy instruments guide innovation activities and in addition direct funding. The smart specialisation strategy is required by the EU Structural Funds.

The strategy is closely connected to the Europe 2020 strategy and its policies and financial instruments and also the funds for the national regional innovation and pilots, called the AIKO-funding. In the future, the funding that supports the implementation of the strategy is directed into activites and pilots in each spearhead and its related activity portfolio. Large-scale smart specialisation projects will be funded by applying a combination of several national and international funding sources.


Urban cleantech
energy and resource efficiency, circular economy, bioeconomy, consumer cleanteach

The theme is especially carried out by the Smart&Clean Foundation. Its goal is to make the
region the best testing area for intelligent and clean solutions. Municipalities, enterprises,
research institutes and universities work together. Theme support projects creating business
opportunities based on clean and intelligent solutions.
Apart from funding the foundation, the implementation of the spearhead Urban cleantech
makes use of the funding instruments of Central Baltic Interreg, as well as the structural funds.

Health & wellness
healthcare solutions, processes, technologies, services and taking care of yourself

The implementation of this theme supports projects in preventive healthcare and solutions
in digital health. The development of services for the aged is also supported by participating
in the EIP AHA network (European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing).
Easy-to-use solutions are naturally linked to customer-oriented health care and wellbeing.
National and EU-funding are targeted in the implementation of the spearhead Health & wellness.

Digitalising industry
logistics, robotics, the Internet of things

A better competitiveness for regional enterprises is the goal for the spearhead Digitalising
industry. New technologies challenge particularly small and mid-sized companies to
estimate the possibilities and consequences particularly of value chains, material streams
and internal logistics.
ERDF– and national AIKO-funding is used for implementing the spearhead.

Citizen city
the wellbeing of all citizens, open urban development, citizen
participation, usability of services, co-creation

The spearhead combines urban development and the services solutions enabled by new technologies based on people’s needs. The strength of this implementation is user oriented and open approaches based on the development environment of everyday life. Along with the developing methods of data acquisition and analysis methods the operations and decision making will change, and utilizing data will grow as an important competitiveness factor. The new digital methods and models is produced by municipalities, other public administration actors, private companies, and increasingly the citizens.
Six Cities-funding, among other sources, is used for implementing the spearhead.

Contact details
Johanna Juselius, Senior Advisor, EU Affairs
tel +358 50 3727 062
Linkedin johanna-juselius


The implementation of the strategy will be evaluated by monitoring the funding annually and for each spearhead, by evaluating the networking of its actors, by a level of stakeoholder engagement, and by measuring the website and the social media impact of the Helsinki Smart Region channels. The indicators used for the implementation of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Programme also measure the strategic goals of the region’s smart specialisation strategy.

Smart specialisation is an increasingly influencial concept and an essential part of the EU Structural Funds in the European Commission, the European regions and the EU Member States.

Read Smart Specialisation in Helsinki-Uusimaa region strategy for 2014-2020 here