Innovation and skills networks theme

Research and innovation activities play a crucial role in the growth of productivity and the economy, the renewal of business life and the creation of well-being. The innovation and skills networks theme creates better capabilities for regional RDI actors to build extensive and effective project packages and cooperation networks that can also utilise the EU's much-competed funding instruments, such as the Horizon Europe and Digital Europe programmes. The theme promotes RD investments, especially those encouraging the green and digital transitions. The theme supplements the ecosystem agreements concluded by university cities and the regions' own smart specialisation strategies to achieve competence and innovation-driven growth.

The theme encourages regional RDI actors - especially research organisations and companies - to engage in closer cooperation across regional boundaries. The aim is to support the creation of competence-intensive, new innovation and business ecosystems and business life-oriented competence renewal. The results of research should be utilised more efficiently and at a faster pace in the development of companies' business operations and training. Broad-based cooperation and competence transfer support the adoption of new technology and the utilisation of the opportunities it offers in companies.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has selected the ELY Centre for South Savo, which is responsible for areas such as the implementation of project applications, the activation of applicants, the selection of projects and monitoring, and communications related to the theme, as the intermediary authority for the theme. The indicative amount of public funding for the theme will be EUR 27 million in 2021–2027. A separate coordination project will be put out to tender to support this task.

Separate application rounds will be organised for the theme, which will allow project applications to be submitted through the EURA2021 system. The theme is in line with the objectives for the programme’s following priorities: 1. An Innovative Finland and 2. A Carbon Neutral Finland objectives The strategy of the national Innovation and Competence Networks theme is guided by a steering group: Boost from EU funding from urban innovation agreements and area innovation networks


Tiina Arpola, business specialist, ELY Centre for South Savo, tel. +358 295 026 131, firstname.lastname(at)
Sari Pikkarainen, business specialist, ELY Centre for South Savo, tel. +358 295 026 089, firstname.lastname(at)
Kalevi Pölönen, head of unit, ELY Centre for South Savo, tel. +358 295 026 091, firstname.lastname(at)