In the recent years, bio- and circular economy have become strategic focus areas of national and regional development. The Tampere Region offers diverse business operations that cross sector boundaries and strengthen circular economy as well as wide-ranging research expertise. The Tampere Region fosters strong competence-based and financially significant development activities in the fields of bio- and circular economy. The area also offers a wide user potential for different bio- and circular economy solutions.
Bio- and circular economy clusters like the Nokia-based ECO3 have formed in the Tampere Region, offering space and opportunities to different circular economy actors and activities. In addition, there are several ongoing development projects that offer more possibilities for the development of the field in the Tampere Region (incl. the Tarastejärvi Industrial Park). The Hiedanranta residential area being planned according to circular economy principles is also under construction near the centre of Tampere.
In spring 2017, an extensive report on the current status of circular economy innovation activities in the Tampere Region was completed as part of the Horizon 2020-funded SCREEN project. According to the report, the starting points for the development of circular economy are good in the Tampere Region. The regions show equal potential in the development of both biological and technical circulations. The area’s profiling shows four clear spearhead themes of circular economy: circular economy in manufacturing and machinery products, circular economy in construction and built environment, smart bio-based products, and smart waste and water management and energy. In the Tampere Region, the RDI field of circular economy is multi-technical, multidisciplinary and the selection of training courses is extensive. It is of vital importance to actively develop both the biological circulations and technical material circulations identified in circular economy.
The current status of bio- and circular economy was examined from the perspective of innovation operations and competitiveness in a workshop attended by circular economy experts of different fields. Based on expert assessments, of the value network capability elements assessed, high knowledge and an innovative, brave and entrepreneurial spirit seem to already be at a high level. On the other hand, the status of, for example, strategic funding and its utilisation in the Tampere Region was difficult to assess, according to the experts.
The focus was on contemplating development targets and needs with regard to high value added and productivity, scaling to the global market and connection to ecosystems. In addition, several observations linked to strategically directed funding were recorded. Generally speaking, along with an encouraging operating environment high-level expertise was considered the basis of bio- and circular economy competitiveness in the Tampere Region. It was considered important that new openings and new operating cultures and environments be regionally supported now and in the future. Circular economy centres, for example, were seen as ideal opportunities to link development and business operations to wider networks and entities.
The competence available in the Tampere Region could be further emphasised, for example, by highlighting local model enterprises and pioneers. Profiling the area’s good practices and technologies and their packaging into clearer and larger entities was also seen as important in terms of promoting business development. The significance of matchmaking was also highlighted. The more concrete development suggestions and measures presented in the workshop included the identification and datafication of material flows in the Tampere Region, as well as benchmarking with other areas and cities.