Helsinki-Uusimaa RDI roadmap outlines steps to become European forerunner in innovation 


Helsinki-Uusimaa has set a goal to become the most innovative region in Europe by 2030.  Currently, nearly 50 per cent of the research and development expenses in Finland can be found in the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region and research, development, and innovation activities (RDI) make up about 3,9 per cent of the regional gross domestic product. The aim is to increase these investments to five percent of the regional gross domestic product. 

–  Helsinki-Uusimaa is strongly focusing on international RDI activities. The region plans to increase funding directly from the EU programmes and to strengthen networking with other regions and actors involved in RDI activities, says Ms Tuija Telén, Regional Mayor of Helsinki-Uusimaa. 

To strengthen RDI investments in the region, a roadmap for EU-level RDI activities was prepared. The roadmap defines the region’s strengths and ways to promote RDI activities through leading clusters and expertise. The roadmap, developed in collaboration with Spinverse and MDI, provides concrete ways to increase these activities in the region Helsinki-Uusimaa. 

Helsinki-Uusimaa solving global challenges 

Although EU funding is only a small part of the organisational RDI investments, its significance has grown in recent years. RDI actors from the Region have been very successful in competitive Horizon Europe calls, which have been awarded in particular to VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the University of Helsinki, and Aalto University. 

In Helsinki-Uusimaa, the recognised RDI spearheads are found from topics such as bioeconomy and circular economy, energy, health and wellbeing sector, as well as applications of quantum technology and AI. These focuses reflect the regional strengths and respond to global challenges. 

The recognised RDI spearheads are found from topics such as bioeconomy and circular economy, energy, health and wellbeing sector, as well as applications of quantum technology and AI.

Furthermore, it is important to highlight the RDI centres of excellence related to these strengths, which should be reinforced and highlighted in regional marketing. Centres of excellence combine the work of internationally recognised research groups, education, research infrastructures, and the closeness of companies. The Otaniemi-Keilaniemi area in Espoo, in particular, stands out in this way. Additionally, strong operating models from the region, such as working in innovation ecosystems and startup culture, are to be emphasised. 

Prioritising RDI funding and strengthening cooperation 

In the region Helsinki-Uusimaa, it is worthwhile to identify shared goals, such as doubling the EU funding by 2030 and the cooperative activities that support reaching the goals.  

–  The most innovative region in Europe, Greater Copenhagen, provides us with inspiration, as cooperation and coordination among different RDI actors is more extensive there than in Helsinki-Uusimaa. Our regional RDI field would, for example, benefit from a more active approach to attracting foreign direct investments and increasing cooperation between innovation ecosystems to spread best practices and learnings, says Ms Veera Mustonen, Project Director at Spinverse. 

–  We do this together. We need the contribution of all regional RDI actors to implement the roadmap and to strengthen international RDI activities. The Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council will closely examine the recommendations presented together with the owner municipalities and other RDI actors, Ms Telén says. 

The results and recommendations of the Helsinki-Uusimaa EU-level RDI roadmap will be used in the planning of our future RDI development actions.

Would you like to join us on our journey towards a 5 per cent of RDI investments? Let’s be in touch!  

Explore the Helsinki-Uusimaa EU-level RDI roadmap (pdf, in Finnish) 

More information:

Venla Virkamäki
Senior Adviser, EU Affairs
The Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council
+358 40 619 4133

Veera Mustonen
Vice President
+358 40 508 4022

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