If you live in Dubai, you may have stepped on a little piece of Finland and not even realised it.
“Some floating structures in Dubai were developed here in the Turku region,” explains Tero Piispanen, senior executive at Turku Science Park Ltd. “The Turku region is known globally from its strong maritime industry.”
The Turku region is on the Finnish coast, almost in the heart of Northern Europe. The area is large enough to get things done but small enough to be agile and innovative. In particular, Turku is strong in high-tech and knowledge-based industries.
“The first university in Finland was founded here, and still today we are knowledge-driven,” Piispanen continues. “Southwest Finland has 7 higher education institutions. The city of Turku has about 200,000 inhabitants and more than 20 percent of Turku’s residents are higher education students.”
Top research for professional health
One of the keys to Turku’s popularity for R&D is how private companies, the public sector and academia collaborate to solve challenges. This multidisciplinary approach is built upon a foundation of stability, predictability and security in the operating environment.
Piispanen mentions machine learning, industrial technology, and healthtech as exciting industries in the region. There are a number of health technology companies in Turku, ranging from revolutionary startups to established multinational players. Although they have a wide variety of health specialties, Piispanen notes diagnostics, biomaterials and pharmaceuticals are some of the fastest growing sectors.
“Companies from the Turku Region participated in the Arab Health event for several years,” he says. “It is always great to talk about our innovative solutions and to find collaboration opportunities in Dubai.”
Another flourishing sector looking for talented workers and partners is cleantech. The city of Turku is serious about sustainability, aiming to be carbon neutral by 2029. Clean technology is one of the fastest growing industrial sectors in the world and the Turku region is becoming a global forerunner in future growth industries, such as electric transportation, bioeconomy and circular economy.
“One great example of an innovation from the Turku region is a startup company which developed a new technology to recover valuable metals from used batteries and industrial side streams. Today, this breakthrough technology is further developed by the Finnish company Fortum, with the target to reduce the environmental impact of recycling lithium in electric vehicle (EV) batteries,” says Linda Fröberg-Niemi, CEO to the new Green Industry Park in the region. “The founder of the company conducted research at a university here, so this is a success story from our regional science and innovation competencies.”
“There are many great business opportunities in Turku, but we can’t forget about the quality of life here,” Fröberg-Niemi says. “The city is clean, safe and well-functioning. People might come to Turku to work or invest, but they find so many other things to enjoy here.”
EDITOR: DAVID J. CORD