Research and Innovation System

Strong commitment to research and innovation has made Finland one of the leading knowledge-based economies in the world. Higher education institutions together with public and private research sector make up a system of networks and collaboration that foster efficiency in the society and provide a stable environment for research.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture ensures the overall functioning of higher education and science in Finland. The Ministry is responsible for the planning and implementation of higher education and science policy, and it prepares the related statutes, national budget proposals and government decisions. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for preparing and implementing Finland’s innovation policy. The Research and Innovation Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, coordinates the development of Finland’s innovation system.

The Finnish higher education system consists of 13 universities and 22 universities of applied sciences (UAS) that operate under the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Additionally, 12 public research institutes work under related ministries. Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is a key cooperation partner for companies, research institutes, higher education institutions and policy makers both nationally and internationally. Other public research institutes are more mission-oriented, with a broad range of research objectives. Their mandate can vary from research (both basic and applied) to additional responsibilities, such as monitoring, data collection and management, certification and inspection.

Companies are key research partners for higher education institutions and research institutions. Increased private sector cooperation is one of the priority areas in the National Roadmap for Research, Development and Innovation, released 2020. The new partnership model responds to the wishes by the private sector for a radical renewal in the use of public funding for the development of ecosystems (research, development and growth) as well as creating new operating models for testing, piloting and scaling innovations. The new model will also better group national programme financing with EU and other international funding. Partnerships target key growth areas and identified ecosystems and the selections for funding are made on a competitive basis.