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Oulu innovation alliance

Co-creating innovations for a sustainable future

Oulu Innovation Alliance is a strategic coalition of organisations and an active roundtable of leaders who aim to promote innovations and sustainable growth both locally and globally.

Our four ecosystems – Digitalisation in the changing urban environment, OuluHealth – Digital well-being and health solutions, Sustainable circular economy & cleantech solutions, and a horizontal cross-cutting ecosystem: Continuous learning, entrepreneurship and startups – are the pinnacle of know-how in Oulu. We offer these platforms – our ecosystems – to you.

Whether you are looking to invest in Oulu’s talent or have an innovation to get out to the world, Oulu Innovation Alliance is here to help you achieve your goals. You can come to Oulu with an idea and leave with a finished product in hand – we have all the know-how you will ever need to productise, fund, test, and commercialise your innovation. You can digitalise everything in Oulu, and you do not have to do it alone.

Oulu Innovation Alliance’s key partners are the City of Oulu, the University of Oulu, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Oulu University Hospital, Educational Consortium OSAO, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Technopolis Plc., and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. Our doors are open to those who wish to come and co-create innovations for a sustainable future in Oulu.

OIA ecosystems 2021–2027

To further strengthen innovation activities, the City of Oulu and the State (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment) have entered into an ecosystem agreement for the new EU funding period 2021–2027. The agreement is aligned with the new strategy of Oulu Innovation Alliance and its four ecosystems. The vision of Oulu Innovation Alliance is

  • to be the best European ecosystem to generate added global value with digitalisation 

and the main goals for the OIA ecosystem network are

  • Company clusters and ecosystems create new business and growth for companies
  • Spearheads to connect, develop and regenerate the expertise in the clusters
  • Increased investments to the region
  • Increased funding for research, development, and innovation
  • Strong commitment of network parties on a practical level, plus an appealing and agile network for promising leads

Video: Oulu Innovation Alliance – Co-creating innovations for a sustainable future

Who we are

Strategic Steering Group

Seppo Määttä, City of Oulu, Mayor
Jouko Niinimäki, University of Oulu, Rector
Marko Lind, Technopolis Plc, Director of Oulu operations
Ilkka Luoma, Pohde - The Wellbeing Services County of North Ostrobothnia, Director
Tua Huomo, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Executive Vice President
Heidi Fagerlund, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Rector
Jarmo Paloniemi, Educational Consortium OSAO, Managing Director and Principal
Topi Hanhela, Luke Natural Resources Institute Finland, Vice President, Digitalization

Asiantuntijajäsenet/ Expert members

Juha Ala-Mursula, BusinessOulu, director
Jussi Rämet, Pohjois-Pohjanmaan liitto, region mayor (from 1.9.2023)
Petri Keränen, Pohjois-Pohjanmaan Ely-keskus, director
Arto Maaninen, Oulun yliopisto, vice rector
Jari Tuovinen, Oulun kauppakamari, CEO

Kutsuttuina asiantuntijoina / Invited experts

Karri Oikarinen, Oulun kaupunki, advisor
Maria Vuorensola, BusinessOulu, program manager


Aarne Kultalahti, BusinessOulu, Innovation manager

In addition, expert representatives and ecosystem leaders form operational executive group.


City of Oulu

City of Oulu has earned the brand Capital of Northern Scandinavia by growth and being an innovative and competitive business and research environment since decades. The Oulu Region has over 200,000 inhabitants and it is the fastest growing region in Finland. It is also one of the youngest cities in Europe – the average age of the population of Oulu is 36.6 years. In OIA, City of Oulu’s role is to implement business and innovation policy, including start-ups, growth, relocation, conferences, and operating environment development services.

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

Natural Resources Institute Finland promotes bioeconomy and sustainable use of natural resources. Researchers and specialists working at Luke provide new solutions towards the sustainable development of the Finnish bioeconomy and the promotion of new bio-based businesses. Together with its partners Luke will build a society based on bioeconomy.

Oulu University of Applied Sciences

Oulu University of Applied Science, UAS, educates professionals for the needs of working life. The University has approximately 9,000 students and 800 staff. In OIA, Oulu University of Applied Sciences focuses on applying, transferring and developing professional expert knowledge.

Oulu University Hospital (OYS)

Oulu University Hospital is the northernmost of five university central hospitals in Finland. The hospital currently provides treatment for the people in the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District and northern Finland in general. It also offers medical services to Scandinavia and other parts of the world. Oulu University Hospital is also used for teaching purposes by the Faculty of Medicine, the professors acting as senior physicians in their specialized clinical fields.

Technopolis Plc

Technopolis Plc is a listed real estate company that specializes in leasing space and providing services. It combines business support services with modern, flexible, multi-user business environments. There are approximately 26,000 people and almost 1,400 companies and organizations in Technopolis premises in Finland, Russia, Estonia and Lithuania. In OIA Technopolis Plc operates environments and services for companies and organizations.

Educational Consortium OSAO

Educational Consortium OSAO, responds to the competence needs of students and work life in Northern Finland. OSAO provides education services rooted in practical work life, anticipating the challenges of the future. The core principle of education activities is to serve the region's business community by providing a competent and trained labour force. OSAO continuously anticipates changes taking place in the business world, and its course selection is designed according to the region's needs.

University of Oulu

The University of Oulu is an international science university. Founded in 1958, the University’s research and education community is 16,000 students and 3,000 employees strong, and one of the biggest and the most multidisciplinary universities in Finland. In OIA, University of Oulu promotes free international level research and education, development and maintenance of research infrastructures, and develops utilization paths of research results.


VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is the biggest multitechnological applied research organization in Northern Europe. VTT provides high-end technology solutions and innovation services. In OIA VTT produces new ideas, technology and innovations, develops new applications and knowledge for business, and infrastructure that support research and business activities.


OIA offers versatile services for investors, students companies, and researchers. Whether you have an innovation idea you want to develop, you need help with your startup or you are looking for investors, we may be able to help you. Whether your idea relates to industry, health, business, ICT, or city development - please contact us. We’d be happy to help!


OIA creates connections between business expertise and top research and organizes R&D&I (Research & Development & Innovation) projects. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a research idea or you already have a project you would like to implement! Through us you will have fast access to the right research partners for your company.

When we do R&D&I projects, we help companies to apply financing using national and international financial instruments as well as contacting investors. Even though OIA is located in Oulu we also cooperate with research organizations globally – what matters most is the best possible knowhow.

Key services:

  • Doing research projects together
  • Finding research partners
  • Help in getting financing


OIA organizes R&D&I (Research & Development & Innovation) projects and through us you will have fast access to the right development partners for your company. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have an idea or you already have a project you would like to implement!

When we do R&D&I projects, we help companies to apply financing using national and international financial instruments as well as contacting investors.

In the Living Lab concept companies and organizations can test products and services in an authentic environment with real users. In Oulu there are 500 people ready to test anything from service concepts to applications. Product testing in a real healthcare environment is also possible.

Key services:

  • Doing development projects together
  • Finding development partners
  • Help in getting financing
  • Living labs
  • Pilot Factory for Printed Intelligence

Innovation activities

OIA can help you to find the right business contacts in Oulu. When we do R&D&I projects, we also help companies to apply financing using national and international financial instruments as well as contacting investors.

Key services

  • Finding business partners
  • Help in getting financing
  • Start-up services


We are always interested in cooperation with students. Send us your ideas or a project plan and we will be in touch! We are interested in thesis cooperation in the following fields:

  • Cleantech, environment, and energy
  • Health technology and health services
  • Business, leadership, commercialization and economics
  • ICT & Digitalization, FinTech
  • City planning, development, tourism attraction factors


Oulu plays host to tens of international congresses and countless organizational meetings and events. You can find Oulu’s, including OIA’s, events from congress calendar.


OIA presentations


OIA Logos

PNG (Eng)

PNG (Fi)

Vector-PDF (Eng)

Vector-PDF (Fi)

OIA Partners


Arto Maaninen

Arto Maaninen

Chair, operational executive group, Vice Rector - Cooperation, University of Oulu

+358 29 448 4084

Maria Vuorensola

Maria Vuorensola

Specialist, Program Manager

+358 40 760 1288