Smart cities and regions

We conduct research, R&D projects and take actively part in national and international networks in smart cities and regions.

Economic activity is always located in places with specific characteristics and draws on the resources of the regional context. The regions also work as a platform for the related micro-level activities of individuals, organizations and their local-scale interactions – including the use of it as a platform to make connections elsewhere. The relationship between regions (e.g. urban and rural), is undergoing transformations. The ability of a regional economy to succeed in and trigger changes in the broader economic system depends on the innovation ability and successful market strategies of its economic agents.

Interesting question to ask is that in what ways do digitalization and smart technologies (e.g. IoT and AI) have an effect on city culture, the usage of public spaces and urban development?
Tommi Inkinen
Well planned, together discussed, half done – that attitude helps to get far in evaluating and advancing local level vitality.

Sami Tantarimäki

Development projects


New business opportunities from satellite data

In the last 30 years, substantial R&D efforts in the field of Earth observation (EO) have been made globally. At EU level, EO activities are coordinated with the Copernicus programme, which is one of the leading providers of open EO data. However, technical barriers currently prevent users from fully exploiting the data and information that Copernicus delivers. The combination of space data with other data sources and technologies open up many business opportunities for all EU member states. Stronger links with the commercial downstream sector are essential to develop tailor-made applications, reach out to new users and connect the space sector with other sectors.

BalticSatApps strives to speed up the market uptake of EO satellite data in the Baltic Sea Region by utilising societal challenges and needs along with the developer community as innovation drivers. The project will increase awareness about the data provided by the Copernicus programme, improve access to the data, and stimulate demand and innovation through co-creation and iterative development methodologies. Regional science and technology parks will also be provided with training on how to support SMEs in the emerging EO market by running specialised acceleration programmes.

Tasks in brief

  • examine the needs of end users for Earth observation (EO) data
  • stimulate EO demand and related innovation activities through co-creation methodologies and iterative development (e.g. a series of hackathons will be organised in order to discover new solutions utilising open EO data)
  • organise training for regional science and technology parks, so that they are able to provide EO-utilising businesses with support in the form of tailor-made acceleration programmes
  • support the activities of ESA BIC business incubation centres
  • promote the revolution in space business where phenomena such open satellite data, mini-satellites and asteroid mining are gaining wide interest
  • support aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups, as well as established companies to leverage open EO data.

Tartu Observatory (EE), Tartu Science Park Foundation, (EE), Finnish Meteorological Institute (FI), Turku Science Park Ltd (FI), University of Turku (Lead partner, FI), Cracow University of Technology – Technology Transfer Centre, Institute of Geodesy and Cartography (PL), Krakow Technology Park (PL), Non-commercial Partnership – European-Russian InnoPartnership (RU), St. Petersburg State Unitary Enterprise – St. Petersburg Information and Analytical Centre (RU), and Swedish National Space Board (SE). 

The project is coordinated by the Brahea Centre at the University of Turku, and involves as well the Department of Future Technologies and the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Turku.

Imlementation time

Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014–2020, Russian Federation; European Neighbourhood Instrument, Regional Council of Southwest Finland, and University of Turku

More information: Tuomas Ranti / Johanna Aaltonen /

BSA logot


CAROTS in short

The objective of CAROTS is to establish a new type of SME – Commercial Analytical Research Organisations (CAROs) – providing services in various fields. CAROs will help enterprises to benefit from knowledge and potential of scientists and research facilities in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). They will facilitate access of companies to advanced research infrastructures (ARI) and to scientific expertise needed to solve analytical tasks in areas like e.g. New Materials, NanoTech or Life Sciences and thus significantly expedite innovation.

The goal of CAROTS is to initiate a test bed in the BSR for a new type of intermediaries between industry and ARIs. CAROTS aims at involving private capital – by investing in CAROs – in the collaboration between industries and publicly owned analytical facilities.

Although a few CAROs already exist in Europe, we see a high potential for additional enterprises of this type. CAROTS wants to improve conditions for this type of industrial research start-ups along with greater visibility, better knowledge transfer and by attracting entrepreneurs and venture capitalists for support.

Logo of CAROTS project.Interreg and EU Regional Development Fund logos

Previous projects

Baltic TRAM

Baltic TRAM (Transnational Research Access in the Macroregion) was an international project which seeked to strengthen the relationship between analytical research institutions and business, and linked expertise to concrete industrial needs. The project operated in the Baltic Sea Region during 3/2016-2/2019.

Baltic Tram Project page

Closing of the Baltic TRAM project and lessons learnt