Regional innovation systems and company engagement in the Arctic context

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Linnanmaa, auditorium L10. Remote connection:

Topic of the dissertation

Regional innovation systems and company engagement in the Arctic context

Doctoral candidate

Master of Science Henna Longi

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management Research Unit

Subject of study

Industrial Engineering and Management


Docent Mika Kautonen, University of Tampere


Professor Harri Haapasalo, University of Oulu

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Regional innovation systems – What elements to consider in the North?

Innovations have a growing significance in the competitive environment, and they can be created in the interfaces between the different actors. The role of the networking of different actors has a central role to help regional economies to gain competitive strength and for companies to use external knowledge in their activities.

Innovation systems consisting of various network actors have been studied at both national and regional levels, and collaboration between companies and the public sector has aroused increasing interest in these studies. However, the earlier regional research has mainly examined innovation systems in large cities, which means that there is a research gap concerning more remote regions.

This dissertation focuses on regional innovation systems in an Arctic context. The main aim of the research is to identify elements that are part of a public-driven innovation system in this context. Recognizing the importance of company engagement is a particular perspective included in this research.

Research especially focuses on the Scandinavian Arctic and Oulu region. The study consists of four individual original peer-reviewed publications, that describe the Arctic context, identify the different elements of regional innovation systems and examine different models and experiments of a company engagement in innovation systems.

The results indicate that a regional innovation system encompasses general and regional components and inter-regional collaboration, which are the basis of the innovation aims and activities in the system. There is no single element rising above all, indicating that all should be included in any consideration of innovation system development. However, in practical innovation activity, especially in the Arctic, it ought to be considered how to overcome different regional barriers and ensure the competence development and supply of skilled labor through innovation activities in the future.

The knowledge provided in this research can be applied in the regional innovation system literature especially on how to incorporate regional factors and company engagement-related literature in developing this approach. Practical contribution includes notes on how innovation policy and activity could be developed by paying attention for example to the changing roles of the different actors, regional factors and company engagement.
Last updated: 1.3.2023