An introduction for the S3 Platform:

The Regional Council of Southwest Finland and the Smart Specialisation network in Southwest Finland

The Regional Council of Southwest Finland is a regional authority at the level of NUTS3, representing 28 municipalities in Southwest Finland. The total population in our region is 467 000.

Tasks of the Regional Council of Southwest Finland

The main tasks of the Council include regional development and regional planning as well as promoting regional interests. It creates cooperation over municipal and sector borders and is responsible for administering the EU programmes implemented in the region. Also the Regional Council is responsible on a regional level for land use planning and is responsible for formulating a 20-year Regional Plan and Regional Programme that is reviewed every four years. The whole procedure is based on national legislation.

Smart Specialisation as an approach in the regional planning for the future

The Regional Plan and Regional Programme form the Regional Strategy of Southwest Finland "Heading into the Future". The whole regional strategy for the upcoming Programme period 2014 -2017 including the long term Regional Plan will not only be updated but will be mostly redrafted by utilizing the 5 Disciplines of Innovation –method and specifically the NABC approach (Needs, Approach, Benefits, Competition) provided by the Stanford Research institute SRI ( In other words, innovative and smart approach is taking place already in the planning process.

The practical work on strategy will be carried out by four (4) working teams on the following subjects: Economy, Competence, Environment, Values and Social Atmosphere. These four teams interactively iterate their ongoing work first within each individual team and secondly with each other according to this highly interactive NABC method in sessions taking the form of Value creation forums on any given regional development theme produced.

The whole approach is strongly focused on customer needs and values therefore trying to serve those who genuinely benefit from the regional development work. One of the key ideas is the interactive teamwork approach bringing together and mixing various expertise across their traditional line of participation with the focus only on important topics. The final aim is a competitive development strategy that will contribute to the success of the whole region by giving a clear advantage over other competitive regions. Including smart specialisation into this whole process is seen very crucial to the region.

As a part of its tasks the Council also grants Regional Development funds for projects that put the goals of the Regional Programme and Plan into action.

In regional strategy the main strengths and the competence of the region have been identified to better target the development acts and to better support the relevant fields. The visions for the region include

• to maintain and to strengthen the high education level

• the high level of research and the position in international markets amongst others in the fields of food/bio industry, ICT, energy and environmental technology and maritime industries. 

The versatile economic life in the region gives good possibilities to new innovations and experiments. A huge potential has been identified in the internalisation of both the SM enterprises and the R&D institutions. Clustering the different actors in the region as well as with the actors outside Southwest Finland has been identified to be a crucial task in order to enhance the competitiveness of the region.

A new strategic direction taken by Turku, the central city of the region, focuses on the utilization of the city as development partner and an innovation platform for companies. This includes creation of innovative public procurement procedures, making selected public services available as a living lab for new products and services and exploit the urban planning as a platform for new innovations.  

To strengthen the economic life and well-being in the region the Council is very committed to design the innovation strategies for smart specialisation even further. To succeed in that the region is applying to be a part of the Smart Specialisation Platform established by the European Commission.

Together with the Turku Science Park Ltd it has been agreed to jointly organize the S3 Platform action in the region. Turku Science Park Ltd is an institution promoting the utilization of university-based expertise and competitiveness of enterprises as well as generating new business in the fields of biotechnology and information and communication technology. Turku Science Park will be in charge of the webpage on smart specialisation and is together with other actors providing experts that will be responsible for the work with the platform (see also chart attached). The Regional Council is committed to use its financial resources in order to participate to the works of the S3 Platform (see also the letter of intent).


Smart Specialisation contacts in Southwest Finland

Turku Science Park

Erik Lehtonen, Director, Services for startup companies –,  +358 40 5460563

Tero Piispanen, Director, Internationalisation services and BioTurku®, +358 400 781683

Marko Puhtila, Director, Growth and development services –, +358 40 5509560

Niko Kyynäräinen, CEO –, +358 50 5590 538


The Regional Council of Southwest Finland

Esa Högblom, special planner –, +358 40 7760310

Veli-Matti Kauppinen, special planner – veli-matti.kauppinen@varsinais-suomi, +358 400 715786


Regional Universities

Kalle-Antti Suominen, Vice Rector, University of Turku –, +358 2 333 5782

Mikko Hupa, Vice Rector, Åbo Akademi University –, +358 2 215 4454

Ursula Hyrkkänen, Director of Research and Development, Turku University of Applied Scienses –, +358 50 598 5467


Machine Technology Center of Turku

Erkki Virkki, Managing Director –, +358 400 290 477


Other Sub-Regions of Southwest Finland

Pauli Salminen, Managing Director, Loimaa Regional Development Center –, +358 50 053 6087

Raimo Rantanen, Development Director, Ukipolis Ltd –, +358 40 546 4100

Jyrki Sjöholm, Managing Director, Yrityssalo Oy Ltd –, +358 400 533 854


ELY-center of Southwest Finland

Pauli Saarenketo, Finance Manager –, +358 295 022 657