© michael davis-burchat
© michael davis-burchat

Finland updates innovation strategy

Tekes and Finpro are set to merge, forming Business Finland, to gather all services under one roof and foster collaborations for innovation and scale-up programmes.

Pekka Soini, director general of Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, said that bringing Finland’s support schemes for research and innovation will enable a more networked type of innovation, boosting collaborations between research institutes, universities and companies.

“It’s better to be served by one entity,” he said. “Business Finland will offer even better services for our customers and it will enrich the innovation ecosystem.”

The responsibilities of Tekes and Finpro will not change, but the way the two are organised and provide services will be harmonised, combining the needs of local companies with global opportunities for scaling.

As the EU prepares for the successor to the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Soini added that more support is needed for boosting innovative European enterprise.

Tekes currently funds some 1,500 industrial research and development projects and around 600 public academic research projects.

Funding for basic research will continue, with the merger expected to increase collaborations between industry and academia.

More funds will be allocated to innovations in ICT and the digitalisation of industries, while research organisations will be able to strengthen co-operation with companies on topics of common interest.

One of the foundations on which Business Finland expects to grow is the skills base developed during the success of mobile phone developer Nokia, a skills base that became one of the reasons engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce was attracted to establish a research and development centre in the Finnish city of Turku.

Business Finland aims to replicate Rolls-Royce’s contribution with the help of officials in the capital Helsinki.