Helsinki-Tallinn cross-border innovation policy mix

The most significant joint initiatives under the cross-border partnership between Helsinki-Tallinn concern transport and infrastructure development, with a few in the field of innovation. Such innovation activities include a number of temporary initiatives aimed at mutual exchanges in entrepreneurial activities. There are currently no joint policies. Most projects are temporary and funded by the European Territorial Co-operation programme (Interreg) to develop mutual knowledge and joint actions in the area of entrepreneurship, particularly related to the ICT sector. Some projects (twin-city of science launched in 2004 and the Knowledge Arena programme since 2006) have also promoted contacts between academics for common scientific projects.

Life sciences, ICT and new materials are areas which have been identified as having potential for joint knowledge-based activities. Helsinki and Tallinn are test bed medium-sized cities for advanced smart city applications. Bilateral co-operation agreements exist between universities in the Helsinki-Tallinn area. Joint university participation in multilateral R&D projects is probably more intense than bilateral co-operation. Several types of joint academic activities in education and research could be further explored, with innovation goals in mind.

Table 6.7. Cross-border policy instruments: Helsinki-Tallinn



Strategy and policy development

Benchmarking and policy learning

Analytical exercise (mapping of clusters or value chains, technology foresight exercises)

Several reports and research, although not always with the cross-border innovation aspect as the central theme of research

Joint branding of cross-border area

R&D support

Joint public research programmes

Cross-use of experts for projects evaluation

Joint research infrastructure, shared access to research facilities

Mainly in the framework of ESFRI or larger consortia (e.g. Sweden Max IV)

Joint discussion in the two research councils

Cross-border private R&D funding programmes (generic and thematic)

Technology transfer and innovation support

Cross-border innovation advisory services (vouchers, intermediaries)

Finnish-Estonian Chamber of Commerce Finnish-Estonian Trade Association

Advisory to spin-off and knowledge-intensive start-ups


Other technology transfer centres and extension programmes

S&T parks and innovation networks

Cross-border science, technology parks and incubators

Mutual contact points in science parks and incubators; Office of Helsinki School of Economics in Tallinn Technology Park Tehnopol; joint mentoring programme under development, networks between southern Finnish and Estonian business incubators

Cluster or networks initiatives

Human capital

Scholarships/student exchanges

Joint university or other higher education programmes

Joint doctoral schools

Talent attraction, retention or mobility scheme; cross-border labour market assistance

EURES (EU cross-border mobility services)

Other instruments

Financing (venture capital funds or angel networks)

Business angels working cross-border (not a specific policy per se)

Public procurement


Finnish implementation of data exchange layer infrastructure akin to the Estonian X-Road (facilitating cross-border secure data exchange to support public services and firms)

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