"RDI activities are mutually supportive and parallel"

III Innovative public sector

Promoting RDI is a common task for all branches and levels of government. Strengthening Finland’s competitiveness requires that measures promoting RDI activities in different sectors or levels of government are mutually supportive and parallel. Linking RDI activities to the development challenges of the public sector and different policy sectors, their methods and resources must be strengthened. Similarly, by using steering instruments of the public sector, such as regulation, innovative public procurement and effectiveness investments, we can develop an operating environment that encourages RDI activities and can support the renewal of public sector services. Research‑based knowledge is utilised in decision‑making concerning RDI activities.

Management and coordination of RDI policy

24. Cooperation in the preparation and implementation of RDI policy is strengthened by inviting Finland’s most important RDI investors and RDI actors, i.e. companies, the ministries, financiers and other key RDI actors, to joint dialogue. The dialogue between private and public RDI investors will be intensified and made regular. National and international foresight information will be utilised more systematically in the preparation of RDI policy. Sustainability challenges of the public sector will be examined as part of the implementation of RDI policy.

25. In cooperation by the ministries, a review of the main title of expenditure of the budget will be carried out, the aim of which is to utilise the existing budget resources for RDI activities supporting renewal of the public sector and the business community.

26. Regular dialogue between the ministries and regional actors will ensure that regional and national RDI activities are complementary and supportive. EU cohesion policy and its financial instruments support the implementation of smart specialisation strategies and strengthen the possibilities of regions and cities to act as development platforms for RDI activities. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the regional councils and the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment promote linking of the regions to the best national and international clusters and networks and, through their funding, also support cross‑regional RDI cooperation.

27. The State’s ownership policy will give more emphasis than previously to the amount and quality of RDI activities. State‑owned companies will participate in partnership models and other innovation activities from their own starting points.

Renewal of the public sector

28. In cooperation between the ministries and municipalities, a public sector innovation programme is being prepared to support the renewal of the public sector and the strengthening of innovation capacity. This link to the public administration strategy will be ensured. The aim is to solve public sector development challenges (including health and social services, transport, education) by utilising RDI activities. The programme will also support correction of the long‑term effects brought on by the pandemic. At the same time, this will open up new business opportunities for companies. Cooperation between the public, private and third sectors is central in implementing the programme. (Business Finland, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, the Ministry of Finance, the other ministries). In addition to the measures below, other measures will be defined during the preparation of the programme:

28.1. The central government and municipalities will target innovative and impact‑based public procurement on tackling societal challenges such as climate change and the sustainability challenges caused by demographic change. Development will be coordinated by the Competence Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Procurement KEINO.

28.2. Regulation favourable to research and innovation will be utilised to promote the market access of innovations and new business models. The effects of regulation on research and innovation will be evaluated more systematically and the competence of legislation drafters in foresight, innovations and markets will be increased. In promising growth sectors (the growth portfolio project to be completed in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment in the spring), experimentation concerning regulation favourable to research and innovation (so‑called sandboxes, business interface services) will be launched to support market access for new business models.

29. The Ministry of Education and Culture will conduct a study on the combined effect of regulations on research with regard to the freedom of research and RDI activities.

Assessment of and research on RDI activities

30. The Ministry of Education and Culture is launching an international assessment of the Academy of Finland. The evaluation will be carried out in 2020–2021.