Oulu region (synonymous to Northern Ostrobothnia) extends across Finland from the Gulf of Bothnia coast to the Russian border. The region has an area of 44,000 km² of which around 6700 km² are sea areas and 1900 km² inland waters. Regarding surface Oulu region is the second biggest region in Finland. It is a growing and developing region that has a population of about 410,000 inhabitants (8 % of the Finnish population) and thus being the fourth biggest region in Finland. The population is well educated and has the lowest average age of any region in the country. Oulu region is a gateway and a capital area of Northern Scandinavia.
The Smart Specialization Priorities of Oulu Region
- Oulu´s ICT concentration is a significant cluster that affects the entire country and still has a strong role in international ICT development. The focus of the region´s ICT has been on data communications and cell phone systems, which continue to be developing areas. The energy and process industries and mining, among others, could benefit from ICT service business even more.
- The Oulu Region is also a traditional mining region with three currently operational metal mines in Pyhäsalmi, Raahe and Nivala. Reopening of the Mustavaara mine is under preparation. The University of Oulu has Finland´s key competence in mining and metallurgy education as well as a multidisciplinary research environment needed for research in the field.
- The Nivala-Haapajärvi, Oulu, Raahe and Ylivieska sub-regions are home to about 380 SMEs in the metal industry; their total annual turnover comes to nearly a billion euros. Many companies in the metal industry have also become internationalised either directly or through their parent company. The Oulu Region has special expertise in new special steels. Special steels are expected to bring significant growth potential to Finland´s entire metal and machine shop industry.
- The Oulu Region has strong know-how and long traditions in utilising timber raw material in the forest and timber product industry and also as bioenergy. The region has good possibilities to develop new ideas in the high-added-value bio-economy.
- In the area of clean technologies the Oulu Region has expertise particularly related to water and air purification. Water-related know-how is specialised in water purification processes and monitoring of water quantity and quality.
- The Oulu Region has an abundance of healthcare and wellness technology companies, which have their sights on the international market. The region´s strong know-how in wireless data transfer, Internet, cloud and mobile technology offers possibilities to build wellness innovations for the future on a completely new basis.
More information on Smart Specialization in Oulu Region here (pdf).