The Interreg Europe funded project “Bridges” focuses on the development of bio-economy through cooperation between research and business and the effectiveness of the intelligent specialization strategies of the regions involved. In Kainuu, the project focuses on the development of forest bio economy. For the development of the sectors, an action plan is drawn up, evaluated and implemented.

Originally, the project was coordinated by Kainuu Etu Ltd and the Regional Council of Kainuu was participating as a partner. The project was scheduled for five years during 1.4.2016- 31.03.2021. The total budget of the project was over two million, of which slightly over € 500,000 was targeted to Kainuu. As the operations of Kainuun Etu Ltd were run down, the Regional Council of Kainuu became the Lead Partner of this project. BRIDGES project also participated the fifth call of Interreg Europe, targeted for proposals of additional activities linked to the COVID-19 recovery. The project was then granted an extension period for 01.10.2021-31.03.2023.

The project focuses on developing bio-economy through cooperation between research and enterprises, and strengthening the results of smart specialization strategies of the participating regions. In Kainuu, the project focuses on the development of forestry related bio economics. The project already has mapped the innovation activities on the regions involved. Based on the survey, chemical and mechanical wood processing, natural products and biofuels were selected as special targets to be appointed in Kainuu.

To develop these industries, an action plan will be drawn up defining the targets and goals for development. The action plan is evaluated and implemented during the five-year lifecycle of the project.

BRIDGES (Bridging Competence Infrastructure Gaps and Speeding Up Growth and Jobs Delivery in Regions) is a project involving nine organizations from seven European regions, each with their own objectives that support the overall project goal. In Finland, the project includes Kainuu and Uusimaa regions. The strategies for smart specialization of all the areas involved in the project have mentioned bio-economics as one of the development targets.

The practical work of the project is guided by regional stakeholder teams. The Kainuu stakeholder team has been built around the Kainuu forest cluster group and there also are four subgroups focusing on the development of forest bio economy.

The BRIDGES Innovation Maps Capitalization Report has been completed in June. The report provides a versatile database and methods to support project action plans. The report in English can be read in its entirety on the project web site.

Partner Budgets

Kainuun Etu Ltd, FI
Regional Council of Kainuu, FI
Lubelskie Voivodeship, PL
Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, Regional Development, FI
Regional Development Agency ANKO  (EL)
Soča Valley Development Centre (SI)
Pannon Business Network Association (HU)
European Business and Innovation Centre of Burgos (ES)
Centre for Research & Technology-Hellas/Institute for Research & Technology-Thessaly (EL)

249 469 €
254 268 €
122 659 €
328 834€
218 525 €
219 757 €
178 193 €
226 760 €
223 990 €

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