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Smart Specialisation Strategy in Helsinki-Uusimaa Region

In order to reach the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy (smart, sustainable and inclusive growth), the EU expects every region to create a study based on the regional development perspective and to formulate a Smart Specialisation Strategy.

It is also 'RIS3', which is an abbreviation of 'Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation'. This is a continuous process with the goal of strengthening the region's economy. According to the instructions, the process mainly consists of the following interwoven parts:

  • Analysing the future of the region, creating different scenarios

  • Shared commitment by the region's various actors

  • Utilizing the best information available globally

  • Direct connections to the Europe 2020 strategy and the promotion of European partnership activities

  • Systemic co-operation policy and operational programs

  • Mobilisation of the actors for implementation and effective feedback mechanisms

The main focus of the implementation of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region's RIS3 strategy is on improving our strengths, effectively combining our skills and quickly creating applications for the discovered solutions. We should utilize the international networks of the actors in the region. Let's use the information that is available and work in synergy. Digitalisation, new technology and expertise support the growth and successful development of all the spearhead industries.

The goal of the Smart Specialisation strategy is to promote economic growth and employment by strengthening the region's research and innovation activities. This will be done by focusing on the region's success factors and the development of structures and methods that will improve the effectiveness of innovation activities. Carrying out the RIS3 strategy is a process that continues throughout the strategy period. The emphasis is on the active participation of innovators, continuous development of spearhead industries and better utilization of policies and financial instruments.

In practice, in Helsinki-Uusimaa the RIS3 strategy will be implemented through five main priorities and related priority portfolios. The priorities are multi-disciplinary thematic entities with strong innovation and value creation potential. These will be expanded on and developed throughout the RIS3 period.


Universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutes are key actors. Co-operation, especially with companies and municipalities, is vital.


Synergetic co-operation between the different actors is the key to the RIS3 strategy. For the priority portfolios, general priorities and an operating method aiming at increased impact will be defined and then later applied to projects. Each priority will be implemented in the form of one or more portfolios that contain several projects linked to each other.  The projects are formed by combining the normal activities of the various actors or as new projects specifically created for this purpose. Mutual synergy in the operations is a crucial parameter - together the projects carry out RIS3 objectives while also supporting each other. Each project has its management, but at the same time they are all orchestrated using synergistic cooperation methods.

Urban Cleantech - The Cleantech metropolis platform

This priority focuses on combining the planned and existing development and pilot projects located in Helsinki-Uusimaa and fitting the Urban Cleantech theme into an entity that will produce a viable and compatible model for solving environmental challenges in cities. The goal is to make the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region the leading European platform for the development of Cleantech solutions, including the testing, development and commercialization of environmental technologies, energy solutions, biomass utilization, key infrastructure and service models. 
The framework defines Cleantech loosely, so that it includes e.g. the energy efficiency of technologies, processes and services, solutions relating to raw materials, emission reduction carbon footprint reduction.


Human Health Tech - Human-centred health and well-being solutions

The priority is focused on Finnish medicine, biotechnology and health care technology and innovative care process expertise combinations. Co-development processes support a user-oriented perspective, where the well-being technologies are seen as a part of human-oriented health care and welfare services and processes. 
The aim is to bring together clinical medicine and nursing science expertise, the entire health care sector's modern technology solutions (e.g. software, sensors, robotics, databases, automation), multi-talent team operating models, seamless care chains as well as nursing and care environment process know-how. At the same time, new solutions will be sought for preventive health care and the active promotion of well-being. In the development of information services, attention should be paid to the accessibility and plain language of the services from the perspective of older people and people with disabilities.


Welfare City - Everyday wellbeing in the city

This priority combines the development of the urban metropolitan area and service solutions enabled by new technologies. The project complexes are used to design and implement new, value-creating solutions for functional everyday urban life. 

Many city development projects that are about to be implemented deal with the development and implementation of systems linked to cities and urban environments and see the city as an ecosystem and operating platform of different systems.  These can include e.g. innovation, information, service and traffic systems, which combine technological, organizational and human-centred processes into complementary entities and make the citizens' lives simpler, more efficient and livelier. Cities can participate in the creation of these solutions themselves or as a part of the service network or act as a platform for the suppliers and implementers of the various service solutions. The metropolitan area's large development projects offer an opportunity to both utilize new technologies and create forerunner markets.

Digitalising Industry - The digital renewal of industries

This priority supports industry renewal by utilizing the opportunities provided by digitalization. The key development areas are the industrial internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), the data produced by production processes and installed equipment and the analysis and utilization of this data in order to optimize processes and increase the service business.

The goal is to recognize and make use of the opportunities offered by information and communication technologies and to improve the industry's competitiveness in the internet economy. Digital technology is widely seen as an integral part of all evolving business activities, a company's processes and social services, renewal-enabling tools and value-added solutions.

Smart Citizen - Citizens of the internet era.

The strength of innovation in Helsinki-Uusimaa springs from a user-oriented, open, real-life based operating model that supports modern-day digital service systems and projects. 

The utilization of Big Data and linked open data is relevant for nearly every industry. As data collection and analysis methods develop, operations and decision-making will change. The utilization of information will become increasingly important. The use and application of large data sets requires comprehensive design and taking different perspectives into account. The goal is extensive and advanced use of data sets in a way that promotes economic growth and open society.

The priority framework supports regional, national and international projects that aim to develop data and customer oriented service systems or to develop public administration e.g. in the areas of transport, infrastructure, consumer data, environmental data, learning and research, as well as decision-making areas.

Implementing the strategy

In order to implement the strategy, three complementary development projects are suggested:

  1. The development of an innovation ecosystem based on openness and facilitated co-operation from a regional point of view. For this purpose, the strategy describes, on a general level, the RIS3 operating model and especially the required innovation platforms and new innovation culture.

  2. Supporting business activities that aim at sustainability and growth and developing business services from a regional point of view. Here, the strategy refers to the metropolitan area's business service development model, created in 2013, and other services.

  3. Practical implementation of the aforementioned themes and operation models in the five RIS3 priorities. The strategy presents a suggestion on the priority themes that relate to the region's strengths and growth opportunities and make it possible to utilize RIS3 funding and collaboration in the region's research and innovation activities.


Implementing the strategy is currently in the beginning and the works has been started by building cooperation networks for different actors. More information can be found here.

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