Business Finland has granted a total of EUR 40 million to two new projects through the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). These new leading companies, along with the three others funded in December, commit to increasing their research, development, and innovation (RDI) activities in Finland by a total of more than EUR 500 million. At the same time, hundreds of new RDI jobs will be created over the next few years.
The leading company projects are Business Finland’s largest single funding decisions. If successful, the projects will lead to outgrowths on a business level that will be worth several billion euros, industrial investments, significant impact on employment, growth in export earnings and tax revenue, and positive effects on the environment. Business Finland will not fund a leading company if increases in its RDI activities are not achieved. In addition, Business Finland plans to fund the partners of each leading company with EUR 50 million. A total of 11 leading projects are currently underway.
– With the challenge competition for leading companies, Business Finland can get private companies to increase their research and development investments in the interest of achieving the Finnish government’s goal of raising research and development investments to four percent of GDP by 2030. This is also in line with the proposals of the Parliamentary Working Group on Research, Development, and Innovation. Through the competition, we can ensure the allocation of funding to the projects that have the biggest impact, explains Nina Kopola, the Director General of Business Finland.
– It is important that we can provide incentives for renewal and simultaneously meet the demand for green transition and digital solutions. Achieving a pioneering position requires significant investments, and the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility allows us to continue leading projects in 2022, Kopola continues.
Borealis wants to be a forerunner in making the plastics industry sustainable. Change requires extensive development efforts throughout the value chain. As a leading company, Borealis is launching a wide-ranging research, development and innovation cooperation project, SPIRIT – Sustainable Plastics Industry Transformation, in Finland. This collaboration project together with existing and new partners aims to drive the change in the plastics industry towards a more sustainable future.
The project is divided into three sections:
– It is great to be involved in driving the Finnish plastics industry towards a more sustainable future in cooperation with existing and new partners. Plastic is a material of many possibilities and an important part of economic growth. Currently, the sustainable use of plastics is overshadowed by the use of fossil raw materials and excessive littering. We need innovations to change the raw material base of plastic from fossils to renewable materials, to develop carbon-neutral production processes, and to promote recycling, so that plastic no longer ends up burned or in the environment, says Salla Roni-Poranen, Managing Director, Borealis Finland.
Borealis Polymers aims to replace 33% of fossil raw materials by 2030 with renewable or recyclable raw materials and to make production carbon-neutral by 2045 at the latest.
Cruise ships play an important role in the tourism industry. Meyer Turku's share of the global cruise construction market is about 15%. Succeeding in the fiercely competitive environment of the maritime cluster requires a new way of operating and networking for Meyer Turku to receive climate-neutral cruise ship orders within the coming years.
The NEcOLEAP research and development project brings together representatives of companies, universities, and research institutes to develop innovative and responsible technology solutions on a global scale that aims to secure the competitiveness of the Finnish shipbuilding industry and high-level cruise ship expertise and know-how also in the future. The R&D topics of the project focus on four key areas: the ship itself, shipbuilding, smart technologies, and future drivers.
Meyer Turku is an industry leader in product and technology development in the marine industry. Through its multidisciplinary partnership network, the company is able to meet the challenges of the sector's energy, climate and digitalisation challenges. A billion-dollar cruise ship order will result in approximately 9.500 jobs for the shipyard and its ecosystem or partners. The direct employment impact will be approximately 12.000 person-years. The results of the NEcOLEAP project provide a direction for the shipbuilding industry in terms of long-term environmental responsibility actions.
The key objectives of the NEcOLEAP project are:
– The construction of a climate-neutral cruise ship will require extensive cooperation between companies, universities, and research institutes. In the NEcOLEAP project, we will explore new sustainable technologies that can be leveraged to develop energy and resource efficiency, automation, robotics and cybersecurity for ships and shipbuilding, says Executive Vice President of Meyer Turku Oy, Tapani Pulli, who continues:
– Meyer Turku has an existing good partnership network, but with the funding received by the project, we can now open-mindedly expand the ecosystem to discover the most inventive solutions for new ways of working. Only in this way can we stand out in the intensifying competition of the maritime industry. Achieving even one climate-neutral cruise ship order for Turku Shipyard has the potential to increase the company’s turnover by approximately a billion euros, which can have a direct impact on Finnish exports.