Oulu Innovation Alliance is a cooperative community uniting science, research, and business that helps form business and jobs out of research and innovations.
Problem addressed:
Oulu has a long tradition in co-operation between education and research institutes, companies, and the public sector and Oulu’s high-tech profile was built on this co-operation in the 1980s. As a collaborative continuation, the city of Oulu established a task force to work on suggestions for the renewal of Oulu’s innovation environment in 2007. The ultimate strategic focus and target of the Oulu Innovation Alliance agreement was to keep Oulu as an internationally acknowledged center for innovation.

How objectives are reached:
Main goals:
‒ High-quality research and ideas in addition to potential new products and services must be commercialized, meaning that they are marketed, sold and capitalized in a way that
they will reach Finnish and global customers.
‒ Innovation should lead to the birth and growth of new businesses and services, whether they are start-ups, new endeavors of existing SME’s or opportunities created by big,
leading companies
‒ Customers and residents should be substantially more active as proponents in the Oulu Innovation Alliance network as testers, product developers, and service creators and makers.

The main stakeholders are:
Oulu Innovation Alliance is formed between the City of Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and Technopolis limited company. However, it is an ecosystem of Academia, Industry Leaders, Government and mid-caps, and SMEs.

Resources needed

The most important resource is shared will and long-term commitment of all parties and flexibility of yearly changes in numbers (up to 200) of involved professionals in collaborating projects. All partners allocate 20.000 Euros for coordinating activities in addition to own funding to project.

Evidence of success

As a result of the Oulu Triple Helix report, a strategic innovation alliance agreement was signed in February 2009 and since the first contract period (2009-2015) was seen as beneficial, the second (2016-2020) and third (2021-2027) agreement has signed.
Concrete outcomes include:
• Collaboration has led to strong research and business ecosystem of more than 100 university sites and well over 50 companies.
• Large amount of research projects and programs.

Potential for learning or transfer

This good practice was indicated as highly valuable since it has concrete results on how incubation, prioritization, and facilitation collaboration have led to strong research and business ecosystem of more than 100 university sites and well over 50 companies. Research, development, and innovation funding has been increased and the commitment of all actors (Academia, Industry Leaders, Government and mid-caps and SMEs) has been strengthened each contract period. The Oulu region as an attractive living and company environment has increased.

The Oulu Innovation Alliance is transferable as:
• Supporting collaboration between different Quadruple Helix actors is beneficial to all taking part in it.
• It is beneficial to regional resource management when roles and responsibilities have clearly agreed on.
• RDI project portfolio is based on common strategic innovation agenda
• It suits all regions since the model is based on supporting the region’s own expertise

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Main institution
University of Oulu
Pohjois- ja Itä-Suomi, Finland (Suomi)
Start Date
February 2009
End Date


Katariina Ala-Rämi Please login to contact the author.