Tekes and VINNOVA seek new drivers for renewing manufacturing industries


At Tekes we are working together with our Swedish sister organisation VINNOVA to create a Nordic axis for renewing manufacturing. As a first step in this collaboration we are funding projects that produce new comparative points of view on the opportunities and challenges facing the renewal of the manufacturing industries.

How can we, through innovation and industrial policy, create the best possible operational environment to make ideas for commercialisation flourish? How can we nurture renewal and at the same time ensure the economic benefits from upgraded business activities spill over to benefit all of society?

Innovation research funded by Tekes seeks answers to these questions. Innovation research helps us understand how our innovation environment and manufacturing industries should be developed in an increasingly competitive global economy. We hope that our cooperation with VINNOVA will be a step towards new and stronger Nordic business ecosystems.

We want to understand the differences, similarities, and possibilities for cooperation between Finland and Sweden, focusing especially on upgrading the manufacturing industries. The Swedish economy is currently developing in a more positive direction than that of Finland. VINNOVA has recently launched several new and interesting programmes which would be worth following in Finland as well. We also hope to increase cooperation in impact assessment and to promote our shared themes in the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme.

In innovation research our cooperation with VINNOVA has taken concrete form in five projects with shared funding. We are creating a shared Finnish-Swedish reference group for the project, for whose meetings we hope to get more extensive participation from Finland and Sweden. We have high expectations for our shared portfolio of five projects and hope that they can generate new and policy-relevant insights.

A research project of the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) and Lund University compares the effectiveness of Finnish and Swedish innovation activities. The project is based on large databases that contain information on commercialized innovations both in Finland and Sweden. By analysing innovation activities in companies and the effectiveness of our policy on these innovations, we hope to identify new avenues for strengthening our innovative capacity and operational environment.

The RAID project of four Finnish-Swedish research groups is closely examining unutilised possibilities for cooperation from the point of view of radical innovations and the conditions that spur such innovations. "Intangibles and International Sourcing", a joint project of the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA) and the Royal Institute of Technology KTH is analysing insourcing activities, distribution of wages and profits of multinational companies. The question is how we can ensure that the fruits of global business also are captured in Finland and Sweden?

The Roaming project run by the Tampere University of Technology analyses trends and drivers for offshoring and reshoring from a Finnish and Swedish perspective. It is important to reveal the factors affecting both offshoring and reshoring of production as we develop our operational environments.

The RECIBI project, initiated by the Finnish Environment Institute is based on one highly topical opportunity: bioeconomy and industrial symbiosis in particular. One companie's waste can be another person's gold. The project is set up to consider what kinds of policy action should be taken for the establishment of a competitive bioeconomy in Finland and Sweden, and how legislation can become more supportive. The Swedish part of the project is undertaken by the Institute for Industrial Environmental Economy at Lund university.

In addition to these five joint projects, Tekes funds seven other projects. These include, for example, the AdMani project which analysis Finnish opportunities in the area 3D printing, a project partly funded by our Danish sister organisation DASTI, examining the structures and significance of intangible assets in the renewal of Finnish and Danish manufacturing industries, and the RETACH project, which analyses if large companies can improve their innovation activities by reducing control and by encouraging internal entrepreneurship within companies.
We challenge the readers of this blog to engage in dialogue for the promotion of renewal in Finland.

Christopher Palmberg and Jussi Kajala
The writers work at Tekes as experts in innovation research and impact assessment.

Anne Palkamo
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