Developing the Bioeconomy Ecosystem in Central Finland
The JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyvaskyla has four fields of specialisations which are aligned with the local and global needs and build on the regional and institutional assets of central Finland. JAMK’s regional specialisations are bioeconomy, applied cyber security, automation and robotics, and education expertise and business. Notably these specialisations are aligned with Central Finland’s identified strategic spearhead fields: bioeconomy, digital economy, knowledge and well-being economy, tourism and accessibility.
The JAMK University of Applied Sciences has a long experience in bioeconomy ecosystem and cluster development and it is increasingly focusing its efforts on promoting bioeconomy-based business and export activities. JAMK focuses on the creation of new material economy and circular economy by finding solutions to saving natural resources. The efforts are underpinned by JAMK’s education provision and research and development activities in several areas of expertise which are closely connected to bioeconomy, such as forestry, agriculture, industrial management, energy production, business economics and tourism. The JAMK bioeconomy activities have a strong focus on the food chain, on the forest industry and its byproducts and on energy production.
An important part of the JAMK bioeconomy work is carried out in collaboration with regional stakeholders, including the key cities and municipalities in Central Finland, business and industry, including small and medium-sized enterprises and educational institutions, notably the University of Jyvaskyla and the vocational education institutes. For instance JAMK is generating new resource-smart solutions for the newly developed city district of Kangas in Jyvaskyla. It is also promoting the business activities created by the biofactory investment in the city of Äänekoski. Significant efforts are being made in order to strengthen the JAMK Bioeconomy Campus, which is a satellite campus in the City of Saarijärvi, and to position the Bioeconomy Institute as a Regional Centre of Excellence through structured collaboration with local businesses, the Vocational Education Institute of Northern Central Finland, and the City of Saarijärvi. These efforts began ten years ago through the establishment of a dedicated bioenergy development centre (est. 2009) which was designed to develop R&D and training, projects and testing with focus on: solid biomass and fuel production, quality management and logistics; small scale heating technology and emission control, and bioenergy entrepreneurship, business development and training.
JAMK’s long term work on bioeconomy builds on its leadership in cluster development activities in renewable energies in line with the shared regional vision that Central Finland would be independent from fossile fuels in heat and power production by 2020. Thanks to its dedicated staff in bioenergy-related activities (20-30) JAMK took the role of leading the cluster development among the regional actors which include two other leading knowledge organisations, namely the University of Jyvaskyla which focuses on basic research (20-40 staff in bioenergy) and the State Technological Research Institute VTT which develops applied research (125 staff). In addition to cluster development, JAMK develops applied research and relevant skills through undergraduate, graduate and adult education. JAMK also coordinates international activities in bioenergy. An example of these efforts include participation in in relevant international projects in the European Union Framework Programmes. For example in the 7th Framework Programme it coordinated the BIOCLUS project which developed an RDI environment in five EU regions in sustainable use of biomass resources.