Regions could also develop into a gateway between Russia and the EU in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
The North Savo region in eastern Finland is well placed to benefit from turning its strong forest industry towards the production of biofuels and increasing the use of wood construction, according to new report by ETLA, the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
The region has already seen a promising start to biofuel production with relatively small investments. There is also good potential to create a cluster of companies involved in the construction of wood apartment buildings.
In addition to the forest cluster, ETLA's report identifies the region's other major competitive strengths in the production of machinery, equipment and metal products, where embedded electronics are increasingly used. North Savo is also known for its food, mining, textiles, clothing, leather and shoe industries. The region's well established food sector can benefit from new business opportunities offered by the growing trend for organic and local food.
According to ETLA, the region could also develop into a gateway between Russia and the EU in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The University of Eastern Finland and Savonia University of Applied Sciences offer an excellent base for research and training, with specialist R&D units in pharmaceutical product development, biotechnology, diagnostics and imaging. The city of Kuopio also hosts the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea. ETLA also sees great potential in increasing overall trade and cooperation with Russia, as well as tourism.
ETLA is the leading private non-profit economic research organisation in Finland and its report was commissioned by the Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo and the region's Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.