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The project explores the impact of subsidized collaboration on spatial innovation capacity in four working packages:

WP 1: Subsidized RDI activity, regional knowledge spillovers and innovation capacity

This WP compares regional patterns of subsidized RDI and its effects on knowledge spillovers and innovation capacity in different regions in Finland to answer the question: Does RDI funding create knowledge spillovers and increase local innovation capacity? The task combines four different types of (time-series) data sources into a novel dataset: 1) firm-level financial data, 2) firm-level innovation data, 3) firm-level RDI funding data and 4) regional and sectoral data. This data allows the WP to assess the moderating impacts of, for example, regional economic development levels, diversity and relatedness of regional industrial sectors as well as the complexity of localized knowledge for regional RDI activity. The data will be collected per different regional units, namely municipalities, sub-regions (seutukunnat) and provinces (maakunnat). The results of WP 1 feed into suggestions for policy recommendations on issues such as: which types of regions and sectors are the most successful ones in terms of drawing in RDI funding; whether RDI funding has an impact on regional innovation capacity; which types of regions and sectors benefit the most from RDI funding in terms of knowledge spillovers and improved innovation capacity; which regions seem to be resilient and which might need assistance the most for recovering from the negative impacts of the contemporary Covid-19 outbreak.

The WP is led by prof. Teemu Makkonen, UEF

WP 2: RDI subsidies, inter-firm collaboration and learning via informal knowledge linkages

This WP uses the integrated data developed in WP 1 and combines it with new survey data, to create a set of descriptives and to perform a series of  inferential analyses focusing on the relationship between public RDI funding and knowledge spillovers. It particularly will identify the content and type of knowledge diffusing between companies and between the public and private research spheres. While in WP 1, knowledge spillovers are approached as being ‘outbound’ resulting partially from publicly supported RDI activities in regions, this WP takes a complementary company-level perspective by examining external knowledge linkages (‘inbound spillovers’) of publicly supported and non-supported companies that engage in RDI activity. The empirical works are both descriptive and inferential. The analyses provide new knowledge on do publicly supported companies engage in wider or different set of collaboration than non-supported ones; does public funding enable companies to access spatially and/or technologically more distant knowledge; does it help companies to upgrade their RDI activities to higher levels of complexity; what is the relationship –if any– between receiving RDI funding, the complexity of externally accessed knowledge, and the type of source (company, university) of this external knowledge; what roles does geographic distance and the general regional surrounding play in this context; and From an ‘outbound’ perspective, company-level analyses the work package will also create new knowledge on what are characteristics of supported companies that serve as crucial sources of regional spillovers.

The WP is led by Research Scientist Robert van der Have, VTT

WP 3: Demand-side innovation, regional knowledge spillovers and societal challenges

This WP explores the impacts of public supported PPI processes on demand-side innovation, regional knowledge spillovers and societal challenges. The WP investigates in depth 20 cases of public procurement for innovation processes in Finland. Each case includes 5-7 interviewees and the interviews will be either individual or group interviews resulting in approximately 60-70 interviews all together. The selection of the cases is based on preliminary document analyses and expert interviews to gather a versatile case study group to represent spatial aspects of the PPI processes, outcomes and impacts. The case study selection acknowledges different types of innovations (product, service, process) and sectors (transport, healthcare, education, etc.), as well as phases of the PPI processes (part of the cases are still ongoing whereas others are already accomplished at the time of the project implementation). We select the cases from two different but complementary sources: 1) from a list of PPI processes supported by Business Finland’s development funding for innovative public procurement, and 2) SFINNO dataset on Finnish innovations, compiled and maintained by VTT, enabling us to identify PPI processes that have resulted in commercialised innovations on market. The WP provides insights and policy recommendations on how to support public procurement agencies and companies to develop demand-side innovation and to develop useful networks and collaboration; how to scale PPI-driven solutions from local or regional level to national and international levels; how public procurement for innovation can be used to increase societal common good and address grand societal challenges in Finland and abroad; and how regional collaboration networks can better be prepared for future external shocks such (COVID-19) enabling sudden changes in the operational environment of demand-side innovation.

The WP is led by Senior Scientist Maria Merisalo, VTT

WP 4: Utilization roadmap and project management

This WP conducts the practical work for the outreach and dissemination of the project results and project management.

The WP is led by Senior Scientist Maria Merisalo, VTT