Clusters meet Regions East and North Finland - Kittilä 25. - 27.4.2023
CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVES
The European Cluster Collaboration Platform, on behalf of the European Commission and in partnership with East and North Finland, MINE.THE.GAP H2020 InnoSup are jointly organising the Cluster meet Regions workshop and matchmaking on 25-27 April 2023 in Kittilä, Lapland, Finland. The event is dedicated to a sustainable approach to raw materials, focusing on industrial circular economy and digitalisation.
Today, more than ever, there is an urgent need to strengthen the European Union´s strategic autonomy and reduce our dependence on imported critical and strategic raw materials. EU needs to increase domestic raw material production. Solid and integrated industrial ecosystems must be developed to boost the green transition and strong EU economy. That all depends on the success of guaranteeing the supply of the needed strategic and critical raw materials.
The Circular Economy has become one of the main concepts in the EU industrial development as most of the EU industrial value chains depend on natural resources. Closing to loop in the different stages of industrial value chains is the core while developing resource efficiency. Focus on the industrial circular economy is crucial for the regions rich with raw materials. The pumping of resources back into use has to begin in the early stages of the production value chain. The industrial circular economy is accompanied not only by the promotion of environmental issues but also providing tremendous emerging business opportunities for the specialised industrial service sector. Industrial modernisation, digitalisation and Industry 4.0 give the foundation and tools for developing industrial circular economy solutions. The industry wants to use the best available technologies and digital solutions, enabling the most efficient industrial circular economy.
EAST AND NORTH FINLAND IS THE TREASURY OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE EUROPEAN UNION
East and North Finland is the EU’s most prosperous territory with strategic and critical raw materials crucial to reach for the decarbonisation pathway. The balanced combination of industry expertise and commitment to sustainable development is the core of refining the natural resources in East and North Finland (ENF).
The natural environment plays a far more important role in the ENF regions than in other parts of Finland and the European Union. The ENF regions have a mixture of abundant natural resources. Vast deposits of natural resources provide business opportunities and generate investments and employment. At the same time, there is a pressing need to create and nurture a sustainable balance between these industries, other sectors and the vulnerable northern ecosystems. Sustainable refining of natural resources and strong technical expertise have built the foundation for economic development in the regions.
Maintaining the preconditions for sustainable development is challenging under northern conditions of harsh climate and fragile nature. The long distances and declining population in ENF regions require the development of next-generation innovation platforms, living labs, distance-spanning clusters and Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH), better connected to the public Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) resources. Complementary competencies, such as ICT, and other digital, chemical and technological expertise, support the traditional industries and are also growing business sectors themselves.
ENF regions participated in DG Regio’s Pilot action for Regions in Industrial Transition. ENF regions sought to strengthen the regional industry’s ability to continuously adapt, innovate, facilitate investment in new technologies and implement changes supporting the transition to a low-carbon and circular economy. In ENF regions the collaboration is referred to as ELMO (Itä- ja Pohjois-Suomen elinkeinot murroksessa – pilotti).
The ELMO cooperation launched a new phase in developing ENF inter-regional collaboration. The recognition of common strengths and complementary competencies reinforces collaboration across regional borders. ELMO work will continue to lay the foundation for stronger collaboration. The process is built on a strategic analysis carried out with external experts. The analysis has also served as the basis for the East and North Finland industrial transition – a smart specialisation strategy.
The event aims to demonstrate how the East and North Finland clusters contribute to responsible raw materials production and refining by developing inspiring circular economy solutions and digitalisation. East and North Finland invite European cluster actors and regional policymakers to learn about local good practices, exchange ideas and meet new partners. In addition, the event will provide a platform to continue the dialogue between the region rich with raw -materials and EU policymakers to find the best available solutions supporting the regions to develop the operational ecosystems for responsible raw material production.
Interregional collaboration is strengthening the capacity of regional ecosystems and creating a more integrated approach to connecting upstream and downstream industrial value chains.
EVENT TARGET GROUP
Industrial and innovation clusters, Cluster Policy Makers, EU business community, Investors, Project coordinators, SME. It is expected around 150 representatives of European clusters, local, regional, national, and European public authorities, together with industry and civil society stakeholders, to join the event in person and share their experience and provide insights into the role of the clusters in increasing the responsible utilisation of the raw materials.
The objective of the matchmaking is to strengthen the capacity of the regional ecosystems and clusters to support sustainable and responsible raw material exploration and refining by increasing the industrial collaboration in the EU by bringing together the circular industrial economy and digitalisation-related technology providers and businesses to support the cross-sectorial partnership, creation of new and improved value chains.
“Welcome to learn, experience, observe, adapt, network, and match-make.”
Information on event agenda, registration and practical aspects will be available soon. Stay tuned.
Photo credit: Visit Levi