NPA project experiences by University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute

Being a partner of INNOCAP, MINDSET and EMERGREEN projects, Ruralia shares reflections on EU cooperation during the last NPA Committee Meeting.


INNOCAP, MINDSET and EMERGREEN projects partner, Senior Researcher at Ruralia Institute - University of Helsinki Toni Ryynänen, presented three EU cooperation projects during the last NPA Committee Meeting, held on the 29th of May 2024 in Mikkeli (Finland). 

Toni shared Ruralia's experience with NPA projects. He presented the 'Human in Digital and Sustainable Economies' research group that aims to "combine people with emerging technologies and novel economies" and emphasized the importance of people’s experiences and perceptions in regional and technology development.

EMERGREEN - Emerging technologies for greener communities (2018-2022)
Toni focused on how emerging technologies and end-user engagement were used to create innovative, sustainable public services. He mentioned the development and testing of  'Omaidea' digital participation platform and several participatory citizen campaigns that considered sustainable actions.

INNOCAP - Building public sector innovation capacity towards digital-driven NPA communities (2023-2025)
The project examines how to provide sustainable public services by enabling public sector organisations to lead the adoption of disruptive innovations and digital technologies. Toni explained that they are mapping where does the digital and green (or twin) transition take place in South-Savo region. He also shared preliminary insights from the work-in-progress: 'Sustainable mobility in South-Savo' story map that showcases available digital and green transition indicators on an interactive map.

MINDSET - Mission-oriented innovation towards digital and green transitions in the NPA communities (2023-2024)
Through MINDSET, Toni shared preliminary ideas on how mission-oriented innovation (MOI) approaches can support addressing societal challenges in NPA regions. The development of a "regional MOI approach" is needed as the current national and EU-level missions neglect regional and local contexts. Stakeholder engagement in defining missions and implementation of potential regional missions would add a novel approach to extant regional development toolkit.

Among his concluding reflections, he commented that transnational cooperation brings "fruitful collaboration and experiences". Thanks to these projects, partnerships have developed different solutions although the NPA regions face similar challenges. In addition, Toni highlighted mutual learning and support, and pondered universities' potential role in NPA projects. Finally, he called for long-term sustainability of the end-products or services and the idea of "NPA regions as test beds or development platforms for ambitious ideas".

NPA project experiences by University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute


INNOCAP progresses its Capacity Building Programme