Promising progress in the BRIDGES project focusing on by-products of forest bioeconomy

The Regional Council of Kainuu has participated the BRIDGES project, funded by the Interreg Europe programme, since year 2016.  During the project we have endorsed a regional action plan related to by-products of forest bio-economy in Kainuu. All three sectors defined in the action plan are proceeding as planned. Read more from the latest poject newsletter!

The Interreg Europe 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. Kainuu Etu Oy is coordinating the “Bridges” project funded via Interreg Europe programme, that the Regional Council of Kainuu is participating as a partner. Other partners include Lubelskie Voivodeship (PL), Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council Regional Development (FI), Regional Development Agency of Western Macedonia ANKO (EL), Soča Valley Development Centre (SI), Pannon Business Network Association (HU), European Business and Innovation Centre of Burgos (ES) and Centre for Research & Technology-Hellas/Institute for Research & Technology-Thessaly (EL).

For developing of the Smart specialisation sectors, an action plan has been drawn up for each of the regions involved, then evaluated together, and now the action plans are put to practise. In Kainuu, the action plan related to by-products of forest bio-economy has been endorsed and published in August 2019.

The plan focuses on promoting the circular economy by supporting the launch of new product lines, especially those based on forestry by-products. The aim is to commercialize research results from the Kainuu region in cooperation between research organizations and business and to promote the modernization of Kainuu’s natural products industry.

The project is proceeding well in Kainuu and all aspects of the Kainuu Action Plan are being implemented as planned.

Implementation of Action 1 of the Kainuu action plan;

University of Oulu is preparing a research section in cooperation with partners, and later on, market testing and measures related to commercialization will be implemented.

Implementation of Action 2 of the Kainuu action plan;

Reform of the berry industry.

Kainuu has expressed its interest in establishing the BERRY + industrial modernization S3 partnership, and has received the green light for its application. The search for and engagement of partners is ongoing and the work is progressing in a promising way. The BERRY + approach has been presented to the JRC (Joint Research Center) and has been well received.

In practice, the BERRY + partnership covers the value chains of natural resources and their exploitation more broadly than just for berries, and includes both processed and unprocessed products with by-products, related research and value-added industrial solutions. Products may include, for example, functional foods, plant proteins, medical applications, and regenerative cosmetics and related technologies.

The BERRY + platform / partnership is targeted at areas with existing or growing innovation potential, interest, regional policy and commitment to the above themes. In addition, it is suitable for areas with significant market segments and distribution networks in the fields of medicine, nutrition and regenerative cosmetics.

Implementation of Action 3 of the Kainuu action plan;

Revision of the Kainuu action plan.

In Kainuu, the goals of Kainuu’s smart specialization (RIS3) strategy are currently being renewed. Here, the pilot actions of the BRIDGES project, which promote joint international initiatives in research and business, serve as practical test cases. Four cases presented from Kainuu region have received very positive feedback from project partners.

Publicity in an international virtual seminar

In June 2020 the BRIDGES project participated in an international triple helix cooperation Conference, that was organized virtually in Tampere due to the pandemic situation. BRIDGES project published an article “Transregional access to innovation on demand” in cooperation between three project partners. The article, for which also Jouni Ponnikas of the Regional Council of Kainuu was interviewed, won the first prize at the event, which was announced in the closing speech of the event.

Additional Information

You’ll find the BRIDGES Project website at and the latest news at
BRIDGES is on Facebook by name @bridgesinterreg and in Twitter by name @Bridgesinterreg