The purest and safest food in the world from East and North Finland!

The purest and safest food in the world from East and North Finland!

The East and North Finland in Industrial Transition working group together with Food Valley organized an EU Green Week  side event on 26 May 2021 with the headline “Purest and safest food in the world! – Sustainable food production in East and North Finland”. The recording and presentations of the event can be found on ELMO-website. Here is a brief summary of the content of the event:

Emeritus Atte von Wright opened the event by telling about the challenges of the northern location. Although the northern location does not allow large volumes of food production, it offers significant qualitative advantages. Long and challenging winters reduce the need to use pesticides and plant protection products. Because the environment is clean, there are few contaminants or heavy metals found in the food we produce globally. New challenges are constantly emerging in food production, but Finland has the know-how and tools to meet current and future challenges.

Sari Iivonen, from the The Finnish Organic Research Institute, told that organic production has been a pioneer in sustainable food production. Increasingly, sustainable measures such as organic production are also being used in conventional production. Especially in Eastern Finland, there are a relatively large number of agricultural areas covered by organic production. The European average for the share of organic production in total agriculture is 3%.

Ardita Hoxha-Jahja from Savonia University of Applied Sciences mentioned that Finland consumes the most milk per capita in the world. Pohjois-Savo is one of the leading milk-producing municipalities and Kuopio is the largest milk-producing municipality. On global scale milk production facilities are small,, but milk is produced in large quantities per cow. Animals are not treated in vain and GMO feed is not a problem as cows are fed on grass. The value chain of milk has been digitalised from the farm to the store shelf. This allows for individual monitoring and follow-up and early intervention of potential problems.

Jenni Korhonen spoke about new technologies being researched at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) to increase food safety. Forest-derived antimicrobials, such as compounds isolated from the pine biomass by-product, may find new ways to inhibit the growth of pathogenic food bacteria. In connection with high pressure processing (HPP) technology, UEF is cooperating with a company that owns the HPP equipment, Toripiha. The effect of HPP treatment has been studied e.g. norovirus growth inhibition in berries. In addition, the use of LED technology is being explored as an opportunity to reduce the use and processing of additives to improve food preservation.

Jouni Ponnikas from the Regional Council of Kainuu spoke about the Berry + partnership under the EU’s Smart Specialization Platform, which has been built between eight European regions under the leadership of Kainuu. From Finland also Uusimaa region is currently involved in the Berry + partnership. The nterregional partnership and it’s complementary cooperation opportunities have been built through value chain analysis. The aim of the Berry + partnership is to increase the efficiency of the processing of renewable natural products and their by-products into value-added products.

Finally, Susanna Luostarinen from Nordic Koivu Ltd explained how the birch sap they produce can be traced all the way from the store to the forest area from which it was originally collected.  Nordic Koivu is able to collect hygienically high-quality birch sap from a clean environment with the help of innovative technology. The quality remains good also because the birch sap is not being frozen, but at the same time its shelf life is excellent.

– Jenni Lappi, Project Manager, Savonia University of Applied Sciences

For more information

Jenni Lappi
Project Manager
Savonia University of Applied Sciences

Food Valley network
Recording and materials on the event website

A new search engine combines almost 50 innovation platforms in East and North Finland

A new search engine combines almost 50 innovation platforms in East and North Finland

Regions of East and North Finland (ENF) collaborate to develop new approaches based on smart specialisation. One of the goals is to develop new practices that support companies in utilising the expertise and versatile network of innovation platforms in the ENF area.

The innovation platforms in East and North Finland have been collected to the East and North Finland Industrial Transition website. The website contains almost 50 service providers, or the so-called innovation platforms. The purpose of the site is to provide information of the different services offered to companies across the seven regions of East and North Finland, and to encourage interregional and international collaboration.

“Our aim is to make the services of innovation platforms more accessible for companies. We believe that through the website also the service providers can find each other and benefit from mutual interaction”, says Paula Heikkilä, the project manager of The East and North Finland Industrial Transition – From Strategy to Practise (ELMO) –project.

The innovation platforms listed in the website are services that support the development of companies’ products and services. They also provide environments for conducting various experiments and tests, as well as for developing prototypes. For example, laboratories, learning environments, studios, simulation environments, expert services, and combinations of these are included. Most platforms are physically located in educational institutions or research institutes.

The services published on the website were selected based on the joint Smart Specialisation Strategy of East and North Finland, which is focusing on the regions’ shared excellences. The innovation platforms in the East and North Finland have been systematically financed with the regional development funds for more than ten years. The platforms and development environments are established to support business creation and innovation among SMEs.

Increasing awareness of the innovation platforms and supporting networking between them are one of the key ways for East and North Finland to succeed in the global competition. Innovation platforms enable the development of new types of innovation partnerships and links, for example between public and private actors or different industries as well as European partners.

For more information

Paula Heikkilä
Project manager

East and North Finland Industrial Transition (ELMO) collaboration has been funded from the European Regional Development Fund. For more information on the project, see HERE.

First in Lapland: Arctic Development Environments Cluster gains Digital Innovation Hub status

First in Lapland: Arctic Development Environments Cluster gains Digital Innovation Hub status

The European Commission has approved the Arctic Development Environments Cluster as the first official digital innovation hub in Lapland.

Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) are multi-stakeholder consortia that aim to accelerate the digitalisation of SMEs and the public sector in their area. DIHs offer services that support digitalisation, such as training, testing and trial services, financial advice and support for networking.

Digital innovation hubs are part of the EU’s digital strategy to promote the competitiveness of European industry and the continent’s carbon neutrality goals. The strategy aims to support the uptake of digital technology opportunities, new business opportunities and services, and sustainable growth and prosperity.

The Finnish Government Programme outlines the opportunities of the development and introduction of digitalisation, especially in the public sector. One of the goals of the program is to support digitalisation throughout the country and to develop it to serve business as well.

The services of the Arctic Development Environments cluster support Lapland’s companies and public sector actors in the digital transition. With the national and international networking of digital innovation hubs, an even wider range of different services related to digitalisation are available to businesses and the public sector in the region.

– The status of a digital innovation hub is an important recognition of our development work. It opens up new opportunities for businesses’ development and efficiency, as well as for improving the accessibility and quality of products and services. We should now utilise the opportunities brought by the status in Lapland, says Mr. Raimo Pyyny, manager of the Arctic Development Environments Cluster.

This article was originally published in ECCP website.

For more information

Raimo Pyyny
Manager, Arctic Development Environments Cluster
Development Manager, Lapland University of Applied Sciences
raimo.pyyny (at)
tel. +358 40 555 8065

Arctic Development Environments Cluster on the DIH Catalogue

Arctic Development Environments Cluster service portal – ARDICO


Reinforcing cluster collaboration in East and North Finland

Reinforcing cluster collaboration in East and North Finland

The regions of East and North Finland (ENF) have long traditions in cooperation. The area as a whole is one of EU´s Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA) which have also been viewed as a special target area of territorial cohesion in the regional and structural policies of the EU. A new phase in the ENF collaboration was launched in early 2018 when the area was chosen as one of European Commission´s pilot areas to develop new approaches based on smart specialisation. The pilot was called Regions in Industrial Transition or as we like to call it, ELMO

The first phase of the ELMO collaboration produced the East and North Finland in industrial transition -smart specialisation strategy 2019-2023 that leads the way to identifying regional strengths and competences. The cross-cutting competencies that ENF regions possess specialised expertise and technologies in are, clean technologies and low-carbon solutions, industrial circular economy, ICT and digitalisation and innovative technologies and production processes.

The industries of the ENF area are strongly focused on the utilisation of natural resources and conditions. For this reason, sustainable development is of vital importance for the future of the industries in East and North Finland. The utilisation of industrial side-flows promotes the resource-efficient and sustainable use of natural resources. The ENF area is already a pioneer in the development of solutions for an industrial circular economy, which is one of the most significant growth sectors in the area.

East and North Finland smart specialisation priorities.

Developing joint cluster activities

The development of joint cluster activities was identified as a fourth development priority during the strategy process. A cluster mapping was carried out in the ENF area during 2019 in the priority areas of the strategy in order to identify the existing competencies and networks in the regions. As a result of the mapping, five thematic areas for clusters were identified in the process that East and North Finland has existing clusters and extensive knowledge in.

5 thematic area for clusters in East and North Finland

A series of networking events and training were designed and implemented during 2020 to facilitate cluster development but also to enable cross-regional cluster networking. Enhancing better utilisation of the RDI services offered by innovation platforms in the regions was also set as a common goal. In East and North Finland, the construction of innovation platforms has been systematically financed in recent years. The basis has been to create new businesses and to support SMEs in producing new or improved products, processes and services. To support innovation activities and to increase the awareness of the platform in East and North Finland, a search engine was established in 2020 that includes almost 50 innovation platforms from the area in the priority areas of the joint smart specialisation strategy. Boosting the visibility of innovation platforms as well as improving the collaboration between the service providers will ensure that the regions can better meet with the development needs of the business sector in the regions.

Article was originally published at ECA website.

For more information

Riikka Tanskanen
Project Manager
+358 40 532 3670