Investments in and funding for research and development have followed a downward trend in recent years. Research and development expenses in the Tampere Region have gone down each year after reaching a peak in 2010.
R&D expenses in both the private and public sector dropped to well below 2013 levels, while the higher education sector used slightly more money for R&D than in the previous year. In all, regional R&D expenses fell 10.2 per cent year-on-year, totalling EUR 0.8325 billion in 2014. On a national level, R&D expenses also decreased, but at a much lower rate (-2.6%). The Tampere Region's share of total national R&D expenses also fell slightly (2013: 13.9% 2014: 12.8%).
In 2015, companies sought development funding from Tekes as actively as in the previous year, but the value of funding applications was significantly lower (-22.7%). The amount of Tekes funding granted to companies shrank considerably (-16.5%). A total of EUR 30.1 million in funding was granted to companies. This is the lowest amount of Tekes funding granted to the Tampere Region in the 2010s. The amount of Tekes funding granted to research organisations saw a drastic drop (-41.0%), but this may be largely the result of changes in funding policy, which have primarily affected funding granted to higher education institutions.
Conversely, the amount of Tekes funding granted to municipalities and joint municipal authorities doubled. Much of this growth can be explained by the absorption of INKA funding into Tekes funding. Funding aimed at the municipal sector experiences some major fluctuations on an annual level, due to, for example, the small number of projects. Also, the amount of Tekes funding (in euros) aimed at the municipal sector is low. In 2015, a total of EUR 695,935 in funding was granted. Approximately 60 per cent of this went to the City of Tampere (participates the INKA programme), with the remainder being divided quite evenly among the Pirkanmaa Hospital District and the cities of Nokia and Ikaalinen.
The amount of funding received by higher education institutes, however, has shrunk. The amount of private funding decreased 12.3 per cent and international funding 31.9 per cent. This drop can be partly explained by, for example, the transition between EU funding periods. The decrease in funding for single research facilities has a significant impact on the decrease in the indicator of private funding.
In 2015, EUR 7.5 million in company venture investments was made in the Tampere Region. This amount was divided among 15 companies. Compared to 2014, considerably more risk funding was allocated to the Tampere Region.***
An effort has been made to accelerate the innovation and development activities of Tampere Region enterprises beginning at the end of 2016, when the Tampere City Region will be the first to adopt the innovation voucher in Finland. The trial is being conducted in an effort to lower the threshold for enterprises to use innovation, internationalisation and growth services. The service being acquired for a user company with an innovation voucher must be a significant initiative or step taken toward modernization, and it must promote the company's digitalisation. The first innovation vouchers will be distributed in November 2016. The company using the innovation voucher may choose from among the service providers registered with the voucher system. Co-ordinated by the Tampere Region Economic Development Agency (Tredea), the innovation voucher pilot project is ERDF funded and will run in mid-2018. Further information abou the innovation voucher
***Source: PEREP Analytics