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Tekes and the Academy of Finland: Strategic centres concept shows development potential

12 Feb 2013

The model for Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation is not yet complete but it is worth developing, a new report maintains.

Bold experiments and choices are needed to develop the Finnish innovation system and to support the competitive ability of companies. The concept of Strategic Centres for Science Technology and Innovation, launched in 2007, was a bold move by the Finnish Government. Companies in particular have been satisfied with the operational model offering them usable research knowledge to fuel their business.

ʺIt's estimated that one of the big successes of the concept is the evolution of the forest cluster into the bioeconomy cluster. The strategic centre has speeded up the evolution and redefinition of the entire sector. It's a very big deal, the effects of which will be felt only after a long time,ʺ says Pekka Soini, Director General of Tekes.

Public funding agencies ready to change their operational models

ʺIt's good that the assessment of the strategic centres concept has now been conducted. It brings up requirements for development on the basis of which the operational concept can be developed further. We're ready to change our own ways of doing things to make the concept better,” says Soini.

Professor Heikki Mannila, President of the Academy of Finland, believes that the published evaluation report shows that it is necessary to develop cooperation between the research and the business sectors. ʺIt's important to develop the model further and to remember that development of research, development and innovation is a huge package with a number of funding methods. The strategic centres are just one of the tools promoting these operations.ʺ

Tekes has funded research programmes of the strategic centres to a total of EUR 372.5 million in 2008–2012. Tekes' funding accounts for around half of the total sum. Around 40 per cent of the centres' funding has come from companies and around 10 per cent from other public sources. In 2012, Tekes provided a total of EUR 116 million to strategic centres, which was one-fifth of all funding provided by Tekes.

The Academy of Finland's funding for research projects in strategic centres was around EUR 52 million in 2012. Of this sum, EUR 23 million was granted to projects directly connected to strategic centres. In a separate, targeted call in 2012, the Academy provided a further EUR 8 million research within the centres. The themes of the call were drawn up in cooperation with the centres.

More information

  • Director General Pekka Soini, Tekes, tel. +358 29 50 55700, pekka.soini(at)tekes.fi
  • Director Jussi Kivikoski, Tekes, tel. +358 29 50 55828, jussi.kivikoski(at)tekes.fi (12 Feb and 14−15 Feb)
  • Vice President for Research Marja Makarow, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 29 533 5002, marja.makarow(at)aka.fi
  • Tekes Communications: Communications Manager Pia Mörk, tel. +358 50 557 7713, pia.mork(at)tekes.fi
  • Academy Communications, Communications Manager Riitta Tirronen, tel. +358 29 533 5118, riitta.tirronen(at)aka.fi

The final evaluation report on the Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation is available on the website of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy at www.tem.fi/publications.

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