In Oulu, innovations and their development have always been based on co-creation and collaboration between different operatives. The ecosystems and clusters of different industries all have diverse representation from education, research, business, and the public sector. In 2009, a network of networks called Oulu Innovation Alliance was established to support this collaboration.
In February 2021, the City of Oulu and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland signed an ecosystem agreement for 2021–2027, with the objective of strengthening the innovative operations of globally competitive ecosystems.
The content of Oulu’s ecosystem agreement is based on the strategic goals of the long-standing local partnership network, Oulu Innovation Alliance (abbreviated OIA).
Oulu Innovation Alliance offers the breeding ground for the most innovative ideas
The network collaborates to make Oulu the best European ecosystem to produce added global value with digitalisation, in order to solve world-wide ecological, economical, and social sustainability problems.
To achieve this objective, the parties will target their resources to three strategic areas in the coming years:
1. Digitalisation in the changing urban environment,
2. Digital solutions for well-being and health – OuluHealth,
3. Sustainable circular economy and clean solutions
Common themes that cut across all the above areas include entrepreneurship, expertise and continuous learning, the city as a platform for developing smart city solutions, and the entity and support of business ecosystems.
The chosen target areas are based on the existing, profound expertise of research, development, and innovation operatives; the strategic choices and profiling of OIA partners; concrete, long-term work; existing national and international networks; and recognised, strong and rising business ecosystems.
The partners of the innovation alliance include the City of Oulu, the University of Oulu, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, OSAO Educational Consortium, Natural Resources Institute Finland, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, and Technopolis Holding Plc.
The Oulu Innovation Alliance was established in 2009 to support the collaboration between education, research, business, and the public sector – the unique cooperation that has brought Oulu to international attention as a significant hub for innovation.
As the result of persistent work, the Oulu region is clearly number one in Finland when it comes to research and development expenditure per capita, and total investments in research and development are the second biggest right after the capital city area. The goal of the strategic general agreement made between the OIA partners for 2021–2027 is to maintain the strong status as a region that creates business based on expertise, as well as employment.