NPA 2020 Annual Event - Innovation for smart and resilient communities

Date Location Organiser
23 Sep 2020 Online + Oulu, Finland Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme

With a completely new format, this year's annual conference will explore different regional innovation systems and how they contribute to greener and smarter solutions for more resilient communities in the Northern Periphery and Arctic regions.

The 2020 annual event will be held on 23rd September 2020, from 11:30 until 17:00 CET, in the city of Oulu Finland. The format of the event will be mixed: online and physical for local participants only, due to the restrictions in place in most European countries in response to the Covid-19 crisis.


Register here to the online event.
Registration will close on 11th September.


Taking stock of 7 years of cooperation in innovation

NPA regions are characterized by the presence of innovative clusters and good private-public-research cooperation experiences, with universities strongly integrated in the regional innovation system. In addition, some regions have a specific Arctic expertise in connection to cold climate and threats coming from climate change . Over the past 7 years, the NPA programme has supported nearly 60 projects of which 8 dedicated to “increasing innovation and transfer of new technology to SMEs”. This conference will be an occasion to showcase the Programme’s achievements in this topic, with a particular focus on the theme of innovation transfer for smarter and greener communities.


Leading by example: Oulu and the NPA projects

The conference will explore the successful experiences of Oulu; see first hand why Oulu has claimed the third place in Europe for venture capital per capita invested in local companies. Stories from the NPA projects will add a transnational perspective, demonstrating how cooperation reinforces the regional innovation potential by creating networks that increase and expand access to an international pool of knowledge and expertise.

Invited speakers: Mr Arto Maaninen, Vice-Rector for Cooperation at the University of Oulu; Mr Matti Muhos, Oulu Innovation Alliance (OIA)/ Kerttu Saalasti Institute; Mr Juha Ala-Mursula, Director Business Oulu; Ms Margaret Quinn, NPA project EMERGREEN; Ms Egidija Rainosalo, NPA project SYMBIOMA.


Towards smart, green and resilient communities

Ultimately, innovation contributes to building greener and stronger communities, making them less vulnerable to economic fluctuations or natural hazards, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference will also provide an opportunity to exchange lessons learned from the past that can be useful in response to this pandemic; especially in remote and rural areas.

Looking ahead to the NPA 2021-2027, progress towards the new programme will be also presented at the conference.

Invited speakers: Kirsti Mijnhijmer, Head of Secretariat of the NPA; Nordregio, tbc.


  1. Towards resilient communities: how can communities become more aware and better prepared to react to shocks such as those coming from climate change, economic or health crisis? Lessons from the NOKIA case and the current COVID-19 health crisis.

  2. Smart specialisation strategies: implementing smart specialisation across the NPA, from the Atlantic to the Arctic.

  3. Innovation in the bio-based industry: NPA projects innovating in the use of biological resources, the cases of sea weed, barley and…food wastes.

  4. A greener NPA: what can transnational cooperation do for a greener NPA? Where can NPA projects impact the most and how? 


Practical information

The event will take place online and physically in Oulu from 11:30 until 17:00 CET. The registration to the physical event in Oulu is handled separately, in connection with the national partners' meeting.

The NPA Annual Conference will be broadcast live on a dedicated webpage of the NPA website - the link will be published here. It will also be possible to follow it on YouTube live.

 Follow the hashtag: #NPA2020Oulu