Our partners

Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia

The Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia is a statutory federation of municipalities consisting of 17 municipalities, working hard to achieve the goals set forth by the Regional Strategy. The Regional Council is an expert development organisation that acts as an active and cooperation-orientated initiator in regionally important development projects. The experts at the Regional Council work on topics concerning regional development and planning, promotion of culture, the internationalisation of the region, regional co-operation and advocacy as well as versatile project activities.

The region is well known for its entrepreneurship and an exceptionally large number of small and medium size enterprises. South Ostrobothnia has an internationally attractive Seinäjoki city area, comfortable small towns and municipal centres as well as a rural environment close to nature.


Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia
Etelä-Pohjanmaan liitto
Kampusranta 9 C
60101 Seinäjoki

Sanna Inkeri, Project Coordinator
E-mail: sanna.inkeri@etela-pohjanmaa.fi
Web: www.epliitto.fi

Information about the RIS3 of the partner region:

Regional level document: “South Ostrobothnia – Smart & Outstanding, Strategy for Smart Specialisation”
Legal Owner: Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia
Web: www.epliitto.fi/strategy_of_smart_specialisation 

Key challenges for innovation policy

  • Low number of companies with strong R&D operations
  • Low level of internationalization of companies
  • Companies are smaller than average and amount of growing companies is low

Smart Specialisation areas in South-Ostrobothnia

The main smart specialisation areas of the RIS3 for the Region of South Ostrobothnia are: 
  • Sustainable food systems and new solutions for the bioeconomy
    South Ostrobothnia wants to be actively involved in solutions for the food sector which address global bioeconomy challenges
  • Smart and energy efficient systems
    South Ostrobothnia is committed to a smart and more resource efficient regeneration of the industry, construction and service sectors.
  • Regeneration of service and experience production
    South Ostrobothnia fully utilises possibilities for growth in service and experience production.

Main objectives of the RIS3

The goal of smart specialisation is to promote the regeneration of business life and to answer future challenges in selected thematic business sectors in which South Ostrobothnia has indisputable strengths. There are recognisable focus sectors within these broad thematic business sectors, which are distinguished by narrow specialisation, particularly high skills and substantial growth potential. Through these strengths, actors in South Ostrobothnia create answers to national, European and global challenges. The strategy for smart specialisation encourages companies and other actors to look internationally for growth. The goal is to build a high level ecosystem in selected specialisation sectors, which especially supports the creation of new companies, growth and internationalisation. South Ostrobothnia is committed to developing its own trade and industry through interaction with existing service and skill entities, so that the region’s business life, innovation activities and internationalisation will develop as a synergic entity.


Food systems and the bio-economy development can utilize the EU Framework for Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020. One of its emphases is the challenges within the bioeconomy. Themes are, amongst others, foodstuff safety and sustainable agricultural themes, which excellently suit the profile of the province. Also, The EU European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and Structural Funds are suitable as financing instruments for the development of food systems and the bio-economy.
Smart growth and energy efficiency are themes that cut across many EU international programmes, leading to a number of financing possibilities for the development of this focus area. EU cross-border programmes offer financing possibilities for traffic and logistic energy efficiency, which can include sustainable transport themes of the Baltic Sea Region Programme and the Botnia Atlantic programme. Financial possibilities for promoting energy efficiency are also found under environmental protection and resource efficiency programmes, as well as low carbon themes of the Baltic Sea programme and the Interreg Europe programme. The Connecting Europe tool finances projects which construct missing connections in Europe’s energy, transport and digital core network. The Horizon 2020 programme also finances the development of safe, clean and efficient energy and the creation of smart and environmentally friendly transport. In addition to the programmes mentioned above, smart growth and energy efficiency can be promoted with regional and national financing instruments.

International financing possibilities for service and experience production development can be found from many sources. Health, population changes and welfare are financing targets of the Horizon 2020 programme. The Health for Growth programme is an EU health sector operation programme, which consolidates connections between economic growth and population health. Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation) also participates in the financing of social and health service innovation. An applicable instrument for experience production is the EU Creative Europe programme, which supports European operations and co-operation in the audiovisual, culture and creative sectors.