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Promoting innovation in the Helsinki Region

The Helsinki Region is home to Finland’s most important body of expertise and know-how, and forms the strategic core of the country’s competitiveness. Culminatum is among those working to build in even more innovation and networking.

In many respects, Helsinki’s position is a natural outcome of the region’s role as Finland’s largest population centre by far, and the fact that Helsinki is the country’s capital and the location for the headquarters of many leading companies and numerous institutions of higher education and research. It is also the outcome of an innovation strategy that has brought the cities and towns in the region closer together and encouraged them to forge new forms of cooperation.

The universities, polytechnics, and colleges of vocational education in the region, for example, are working much closer together today than before – as the idea of creating an Innovation University, bringing together the resources of the University of Art and Design, the Helsinki School of Economics, and the Helsinki University of Technology, shows.

A pilot project to get this idea off the ground, the Helsinki School of Creative Entrepreneurship (HSCE), has been launched, and will offer degree-level education in English, as well as take part in multidisciplinary research projects. The idea has fired the imagination of industry and business in Greater Helsinki, and private-sector funding has already been committed to the project.

Technopolis Innopoli is part of the Otaniemi Science Park, the largest technology campus in the Nordic region.

Innovation is our life-blood

Innovation is also being increasingly prioritised in town planning and in zoning strategies. Competence-oriented zoning is expected to play a growing role in attracting companies and businesses that can benefit from the expertise already in place in the region, and contribute to building it further.

The importance of networking expertise potential is central to the Helsinki Region Science Park, a concept designed to bring together the business and academic worlds to create a ‘creative campus network’ for promoting dynamic new growth and further adding to the region’s international ‘muscle’.

Innovative digital content and services have been selected as the focus of the Forum Virium Helsinki project, which is being planned as a private sector-driven project to bring new national and international resources to Helsinki.

The Helsinki Metropolitan Region

  • Population: 1,240,482 (2005)
  • Number of businesses: 61,479 (2003)
  • Number of research personnel: 31,491 (2003). 15,934 in the private sector; 6,759 in the public sector; and 8,798 in universities and polytechnics
  • Number of universities: 8
  • Number of polytechnics: 8
  • Students enrolled at universities: 63,671 (2004); at polytechnics: 28,918 (2003)
  • University graduates as a % of the population: 32.4% (2003)
  • Ranked top of the Regional European Competitiveness Index in 2004.
> Pasi Mäkinen
(Published in High Technology Finland )