Finland Futures Research Centre identifies, analyses, and researches future emerging technologies, and the impact of technological transformations on humans, society and nature. We promote responsible innovation, and the responsible development and uptake of technology in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner. 

Finland Futures Research Centre participates in national and international technology foresight research. We develop methods of identifying radical emerging technologies and tools for evaluating them. We research possible futures of novel innovations, as well as their potential future impacts within a variety of contexts. Recent FFRC's research projects have for example considered futures of and with privacy, Big Data, robotics, 3D-printing, and new circular economy opportunities. We also study new business models, regional development and smart specialisation connected to changing innovation and start-up ecosystems patterns.

Ongoing Research and Development Projects:

Bounce Forward

New operation models to face uncertainty in work and to strengthen work communities' and experts’ resilience are developed in this project.

The global COVID-19 virus has made it more concrete how unpredictable the future is. In working life unpredictability and uncertainty weaken the sense of control and depending on the individual, decrease well-being at work. At the same time, the climate crisis should be considered also in workplaces. Due to constant changes, there is a growing need for the ability to act in times of uncertainty and to understand the complex nature of society. Especially in knowledge work, complex nature is one characteristic of the work. Furthermore, the superiors of experts are in challenging situations from many angles. Self-managing and team-managing skills are necessary. At the organizational level, new ways to co-operate are needed to characterize the bigger picture at times of continuous changes and to find different approaches and solutions for interaction.

The project's aim is to strengthen organizations' renewability and knowledge workers’ resilience and adaptability in working life change situations by assimilating new trust-building, interactive and futures-oriented ways of operating. In addition, actions against climate change are discussed. The target groups of the project are independent knowledge workers (entrepreneurs and employees) and SMEs and supporting organizations in the several fields of knowledge work. In the project, the resilience of companies is strengthened and new ways to interact are supported by forming a Living lab for development and testing and using user-oriented and experimental learning and developing methods.

The project is carried out in co-operation between Turku University of Applied Sciences (co-ordinator), Humak University of Applied Sciences and the FFRC.

The project is funded by the European Social Fund during 1.9.2021-31.8.2023 via Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Central Finland)

Contact: Hanna-Kaisa Aalto, Finland Futures Research Centre


Climate Innovation Through Interactive Ecosystem Summits (Cities 4.0)

 Cities 4.0 logo

In CITIES 4.0, four innovation ecosystems from different European cities are preparing a joint multi-annual action plan with the aim of strengthening their efficiency, capacities and interconnection and jointly tackle the challenges, while maximising the impact of their contribution to the European Green Deal and to their cities’ efforts towards carbon-neutrality.

Project partners: Brainport Eindhoven, Leuven MindGate, Fondazione Innovazione Urbana, Turku Science Park Oy and Ecosystem Thinking Institute.

FFRC is a subcontractor in the work package co-ordinated by Turku Science Park during 1.9.2022–28.2.2023. The whole project is carried out by the end of April 2024.

Further information: Jarmo Vehmas

EU Funded logo

Database for Radically Enhancing Additive Manufacturing and Standardization (DREAMS)

The DREAMS (Database for Radically Enhancing Additive Manufacturing and Standardization) project pushes the Finnish 3D printing to the international top level by year 2024. The project creates an open material database containing information collected from thousands of 3D printed metallic test pieces.

Additive manufacturing (AM) is used more and more in Finland every year, but its utilization can still be significantly increased. The young sector suffers from lack of standardization and material-technical differences when compared to traditional manufacturing methods.

The DREAMS project will create a comprehensive and open material database by researching about 10 000 metal test rods that will be manufactured from different metals with different 3D printers and using different methods. The data bank will compensate for the lack of industry standards and facilitate the utilization of 3D printing of metals in the most demanding applications, which will also be studied in the project.

The consortium includes Citec, Elomatic, Etteplan, Lillbacka Powerco, Patria, Raute, Vilpe, Wärtsilä, the University of Oulu, LUT University and the University of Turku. DREAMS is led by DIMECC Ltd. The 6 Million EUR project is funded by Business Finland and the participating companies. The project is carried out during 1.9.2021 – 28.2.2024.

Further information: Keijo Koskinen, Finland Futures Research Centre

InnoScope – Success in Changed Circumstances through Entrepreneurs’ Sustainable Innovations

The special situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced new challenges for enterprises. Prognoses for example in the fields of hotel and restaurant trade, tourism and event production are dramatically bleak. With innovation and developing products and services, productivity and result-orientation can be influenced. This, in turn, has an effect on the improvement of well-being.

The Regional Strategy for Southwest Finland encourages for growth entrepreneurship and innovations, and for partnerships and bold experiments to promote a dynamic culture of cooperation. The Regional Programme of Southwest Finland encourages a close, strategic partnership between enterprises and education providers. According to the regional coping strategy of Southwest Finland, the region’s small and micro entrepreneurs and their staff in the fields of tourism, trade, services, the hotel and restaurant sector, and in culture and event production have suffered for the pandemic the most. Recovery funds are targeted at companies’ opportunities to improve their competitiveness and create new business and growth, and further, new jobs. The work against climate change plays a central part.

The project aims to respond to the Regional Strategy and Regional Programme of Southwest Finland and the regional coping strategy of Southwest Finland. The main objective of the project is to help the enterprises to cope with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic by helping and supporting established entrepreneurs and their staff to develop environmentally friendly new business with innovation. The project focuses on assisting the fields which have suffered for the pandemic the most in Southwest Finland. This aim will be achieved with a versatile, future-oriented innovation process which is based on sustainable development and experiments, the help of experts and networking.

The project is carried out by Turku University of Applied Sciences (co-ordinator), HUMAK University of Applied Sciences and Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku, which have extensive networks and create a strong combination by their cooperation and also in their cooperation with entrepreneurs.

The project is funded by the European Social Fund during 1.9.2021-31.8.2023 via Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Central Finland)

Contact: Hanna-Kaisa Aalto, Finland Futures Research Centre


Lounapuisto - a circular economy park

The aim of the project is to create a circular economy operational entity that supports the circular economy-related business of existing companies in the City of Salo area, helps to create new circular economy companies and thus new jobs.

The project activities consist of (1) collecting and analysing existing data and (2) using data as background and discussion materials for workshops. The workshops produce new meeting places for companies and other needed organizations, create business ideas, and create the commitment and trust needed for collaborative networks. The project will provide companies in operation with the means to start or further export their circular economy activities, and start-up companies will support the development of their business.

The project is funded by the European Union Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and will be implemented between 1 December 2021 and 31 August 2023. The project is coordinated by Yrityssalo Oy and involves Lounavoima Oy, Turku University of Applied Sciences and the University of Turku (Finland Futures Research Centre).

The project is divided into three work packages: A common vision for circular economy cooperation in Southwest Finland (TP1), Building the Lounapuisto circular economy ecosystem, assessing and managing its activities (TP2), and Communications (TP3). The tasks of the Finland Futures Research Centre are mainly related to the development of Lounapuisto vision (TP1). It creates a phenomenon map related to the circular economy, organises visioning workshops and, based on the phenomenon map and workshops, produces Lounapuisto vision for 2035.

Further information: Jarmo Vehmas

Lounapuisto logos

Manufacturing 4.0 – strategies for technological, economic, educational, and social-policy adoption

MFG4.0 is a multi-disciplinary research project funded by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council for 3+3 years (2018–2023). The consortium includes five working groups across four Finnish universities. 

Manufacturing is becoming automated and service-driven by digital platforms. This can cause drastic changes to the structure of industry and society. MFG4.0 explores these changes from multiple lenses in order to design ‘responses’ which prepares Finland for the transformation and enables Finland to thrive in this change.

In WP1, FFRC explores trends and drivers of futures of automated manufacturing and Industry 4.0. Together with our consortium partners, we seek to develop tools for identifying emerging fields of technology in which new products can be created and also tools for evaluating which fields are most suitable for Finland. 

Consortium and work package-leaders:

  • Futures Research (WP1): Jari Kaivo-oja, Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku 
  • Automated and distributed manufacturing (WP2): Heikki Handroos, Antti Salminen, Kari Ullakko (consortium coordinator), Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT)
  • Decision-making, potential, and business models (WP3): Mikael Collan, LUT
  • Education (WP4): Juhani Rautopuro, University of Jyväskylä (JYU)
  • Reshaping Social Policies (WP5): Heikki Hiilamo, University of Helsinki (HEL)

MFG4.0 is supported by Strategic Research Council’s program for Adaptation and Resilience for Sustainable Growth [grant no. 313395]. The first phase of project is funded 2018–2020.

Further information: ​
Research Director Jari Kaivo-oja, WP leader, jari.kaivo-oja(a)
Project Researcher Mikkel Stein Knudsen, Mikkel.knudsen(a)

Project website:



  • Aho, S. & Kaivo-oja, J. (2019). Suomen väestöllisen ja taloudellisen huoltosuhteen kehitys suuralueilla ja maakunnissa vuosina 1990–2017. Kansantaloudellinen aikakauskirja, 115 (2): 270-288.
  • Kaivo-oja, J., Kuusi, O., Knudsen, M.-S. & Laureaus, T. (2019.) Digital Twins Approach and Future Knowledge Management Challenges: Where We Shall Need System Integration, Synergy Analyses and Synergy Measurements? In Uden, Lorna, Ting, I-Hsien, Corchado, Juan Manuel (Eds.) 14th International Conference, KMO 2019, Zamora, Spain, July 15–18, 2019, Proceedings, Communications in Computer and Information Science, 1027, Springer Nature, Switzerland AG.
  • Knudsen, M.-S., Kaivo-oja, J. & Lauraeus, T. (2019). Enabling Technologies of Industry 4.0 and Their Global Forerunners: An Empirical Study of the Web of Science Database. In Uden, Lorna, Ting, I-Hsien, Corchado, Juan Manuel (Eds.) 14th International Conference, KMO 2019, Zamora, Spain, July 15–18, 2019, Proceedings, Communications in Computer and Information Science, 1027, Springer Nature, Switzerland AG, pp. 3-13.
  • Roth, S., Leydesdorff, L., Kaivo-oja, J. & Sales, A. (in press). Open Coopetition: When multiple players and rivals team up. Journal of Business Strategy, (Open access)
  • Roth, S., Schwede, P., Valentinov, V., Pérez-Valls M., & Kaivo-oja, J. (in press) Harnessing big data for a multifunctional theory of firm. European Management Journal, (Open access)
  • Bzhalava, L., Kaivo-oja, J. & Hassan, S.H. (2018), Data-based Startup Profile Analysis in the European Smart Specialization Strategy: A Text Mining Approach, European Integration Studies, (Open access)
  • Haukioja, T., Kaivo-oja, K., Karppinen, A. & Vähänsantanen (2018). Identification of Smart Regions with Resilience, Specialisation and Labour Intensity of Globally Competitive Sectors – The Examination of LAU-1 Regions in Finland. European Integration Studies, (Open access)
  • Kaivo-Oja, J., Knudsen, M., & Lauraéus, T. (2018). Reimagining Finland as a manufacturing base: the nearshoring potential of Finland in an industry 4.0 perspective. Business, Management and Education, 16(1), 65-80. (Open access)
  • Kaivo-oja, J. & Lauraeus, T. (2018). The European Mind-set, European Opinion and Economic Developments in 2007-2017: Major Changes of Public Opinion and the European Mind-set in Years 2004-2018, European Integration Studies, (Open access)
  • Roth, S., Melkonyan, A., Kaivo-oja,J., Manke, B., and Dana, L-P. (2018). Multifunctional organisation models. A systems-theoretical framework for new venture discovery and creation. Journal of Organizational Change Management. 31(7): 1383-1400. (Open access)
  • Roth S., Melkonyan A., Kaivo-oja J., Manke B., and Dana L.-P. (2018). Interfunctional business models. Map to an uncharted quadrant of the blue ocean. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing. 10 (5): 581–595.

RURALIZATION is a 4 years EU-funded project under the Horizon 2020 programme, focused on the study of problems related to rural regeneration and access to land, and the implementation of policies and activities that facilitate the entry of new generations and newcomers to the farming sector.

The consortium is composed of 18 partners from 12 different countries. This diversity will guarantee a wide range of perspectives and situations, creating a wealth of knowledge positive for the participants and the interested third parties.

The main challenges that the projects must deal are:

  1. The unequal development of urban and rural areas. The unbalanced development of growing urban areas and declining rural areas is one threat for the cohesion of the European territory. Data is clearly demonstrating this trend: population growth is expected for urban areas (12% between 2014 and 2050) whereas a decline of 7% is expected for rural areas for the same period.
  2. The difference in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. The 2014 figures show that in urban regions the GDP/P was € 34,179, in intermediate regions was € 23,726 GDP/P and in rural regions was € 19,104 GDP/P.
  3. The concentration of landownership. The issue of access of new generations and newcomers to the farming sector is caused by a landownership highly concentrated. In 2013, 52,2% of EU agricultural land was controlled by only 3,1% of the farms and, the 76,2% smallest farms cultivate only 11,2% of the EU land.
  4. The aging of the rural population. Most farmers are above 55 years of age and only few farmers are below 35 years of age. If it isn't corrected, this trend may pose a problem in the future as there will isn't enough workforce in rural areas that will work in agriculture.
  5. The insufficient opportunities for new generations in rural areas. The EU has allocated € 9.6 billion between 2007 and 2020 as specific aid to young farmers to improve competitiveness and generational renewal. But these funds lack of scope for application and the farming population continues ageing.

Of the seven different work packages of the project, the FFRC is responsible for the foresight study on the topic. The project will run from 1.5.2019 to 30.4.2023.

Further information: Tuomas Kuhmonen & Pertti Ruuska


Scenarios, risks and opportunities of digital solutions in transition towards green and sustainable marine logistics (GYROSCOPE)

GYROSCOPE project investigates opportunities provided by and risks associated with smart digital solutions in the context of green transition of the maritime sector. Applying stakeholder-participatory processes and modern risk analytics, and considering alternative implementation pathways, the project produces a multidimensional picture of the sustainable digital transition to low-carbon maritime logistics.

The project is carried out in co-operation between Finland Futures Research Centre in University of Turku (coordinator), Kotka Maritime Research Association, Department of Mechanical Engineering in Aalto University & Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science in University of Helsinki.

This project has received funding from the European Union – NextGenerationEU instrument and is funded by the Academy of Finland under grant number 353056.

Further information: Toni Ahlqvist and Mikkel Stein Knudsen

Project website:

Smart City Digital Twin (SCDT)

Digital Twin technologies are in a promising development phase. The potential for Smart City development with Digital Twin technologies and solutions is broad with benefits to society, economy, business and environment. The Smart City Digital Twins project focuses on making better use of public sector open data and thereby promoting sustainable economic growth in urban areas in Finland. The project explores the potential of the digital twins to promote the green transition, support equal working life and improve the well-being of citizens, and facilitates adoption of advanced technologies in the subsequent larger project.

The project supports the improvement of research and innovation capabilities and the introduction of advanced technologies in terms of R&D activities as follows:

  • by strengthening know-how, foresight and innovation activities by promoting development related to digital twins, piloting capabilities, the introduction and utilization of possible commercial applications based on the development model of the Public-Private cooperation model,
  • by supporting the implementation process of introducing new innovative and smart solutions in the regional development context,
  • by supporting the development of piloting and development environments of cities and municipalities regarding the implementation of digital twins,
  • increasing know-how regarding innovative and sustainable public procurement and their utilization, and
  • promoting a green, socially just green transition to technological innovations, business innovations and social based on the planned introduction of innovations. The general goal is to increase the effectiveness of R&D activities.

The project in itself implements and develops the RDI cooperation model, because the project is implemented in cooperation with the University of Turku, Turku University of Applied Sciences and Turku Science Park. The project aims to increase and develop cooperation between business life and research in Finland. The applications processed within the scope of the project support working life-oriented applications related to the quality of working life, innovations that improve citizens’ well-being and work productivity, and nature-saving applications that are important for the green transition. The project has a clear connection to smart specialization strategies in Finland. The connection to the smart specialization strategy (S3) consists of identifying relative advantage factors, supporting resilience factors and taking into account the innovation investments made. These three strategic S3 variables to support the entrepreneurial new development process (Entrepreneurial Discovery Process, EDP) in regional economies. In this concrete way the project is supporting high-level innovation potential in Finland. The parties implementing the project have done a basic study of Finland’s smart specialization strategy in their previous studies, and these studies have also been taken into account elsewhere in Europe.

As an increasing proportion of work is related to data utilization and information work, there are many indirect effects, for example, on improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Utilizing open data is also related to improving the business and business opportunities of companies. In this sense, the project pays special attention to Public-Private-People cooperation and its potential. The value of data, including open data, is not realized if it is not utilized in value chains. The value of open data is based on the assumption of matching supply and demand. Identifying the matching problem and presenting clear solutions are part of the project’s objectives. The development of smart urban development models requires a better solution to this problem.

Duration: 1.4.–31.12.2023

Project partners: Coordinator University of Turku and partners Turku University of Applied Sciences and Turku Science Park Ltd.

Further information: Jari Kaivo-oja, Tero Villman and Laura Pouru-Mikkola

Project website

Sustainable and Innovative Creative Ecosystems: Ecological Approach to Policy Innovation for Creative Sectors in Finland (ECOCRIN)

A two-year ECOCRIN project (2023–2025), funded by Business Finland, has started at the Turku School of Business, combining the needs and the development tools of the creative industries into new ways of making innovation and cultural policy. ECOCRIN works with private, public and third sector actors at local, regional and national level.

The project's cooperation network includes Kings' College London, Latvian Academy of Culture, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, University of Coimbra, Utrecht University and, from Finland, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, City of Pori, Culture Campus Turku, Creative Finland, Cupore, Kuhmo Arts Centre (Kuhmotalo), the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and Tapahtumateollisuus.

At the University of Turku, the project is led by Professor Jarna Heinonen (Entrepreneurship) and consists of three teams. Her team includes Adjunct Professor, Senior Research Fellow Pekka Stenholm, Senior Research Fellow Kaisa Hytönen and Senior Research Fellow Tommi Pukkinen. The team at the Pori Campus consists of Adjunct Professor, Senior Research Fellow Arja Lemmetyinen.

In addition to theoretical expertise, the Finland Futures Research Centre will bring to the project the participatory methods of the Heritage Futures Workshops and the Futures Literacy Laboratory, which are based on co-creation and support futures thinking. The team is led by Adjunct Professor and University Lecturer Katriina Siivonen. She is joined by Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Fellow Pauliina Latvala-Harvilahti and Project Researcher Amos Taylor.

Project website:

More information: Pauliina Latvala-Harvilahti, Finland Futures Research Centre

Sustainable Shipbuilding Concepts (SusCon)

Sustainable Shipbuilding Concepts project focuses on creating sustainability based value in shipbuilding through designing more sustainable concepts for cruise ships and related systems in a way that the complete network can contribute into more sustainable business processes including material selection, design, manufacturing, social aspects and features. The goal is to generate new business processes that bring such sustainability benefits that can be quantified and which help actors to strengthen their foresight and adaptation abilities in the often-changing sustainability-framework. In addition, the goal is to stimulate the whole shipbuilding community’s understanding on how sustainable shipbuilding practices and effective communication of lean and sustainable solutions can increase the resilience and collaborativeness of the regional shipbuilding community.

The project focuses on research related supply network’s capabilities to utilize sustainability arguments for long-term strategic gains. Implementing collaborative foresight and early supplier integration practices promotes generation of new supplier-driven ideas for sustainability innovations. The participating companies have expressed the need to model and prove the environmental impacts of their products or systems for their communication. Development of new digital and virtual tools support more efficient business processes and illustration of sustainability benefits.

This project is a collaborative consortium project led by research organizations, University of Turku and VTT, including multiple parallel projects from industry stakeholders throughout the value chain. The project is funded by Business Finland during 6/2020–5/2022.

Research Partners: Department of Future Technologies (DFT), Centre for Collaborative Research (CCR), Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC) & VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.

Industry and Supporting Partners: Evac Oy, Lautex Oy, Meriteollisuus ry, Meyer Turku Oy, Oy NIT Naval Interior Team Ltd., Paattimaakarit Oy, Piikkio Works Oy & Royal Caribbean Group.

Further information at the FFRC: Katariina Heikkilä, Leena Jokinen & Nicolas Balcom Raleigh

> Project website.

Sustainability through Information Flows (SusFlow)

The SusFlow project applies a multidisciplinary approach for shared solutions within a network of enterprises representing a multitude of competence areas with an LCA-driven focus. The project promotes sustainability assessments based on real data, a seamless flow of information, and a possibility to discover innovations to benefit the incorporation of sustainability as a practice within the shipyard ecosystem.

The aforementioned assessments combined with our company partners’ expertise in value chain sustainability measurement and data generation increase overall sustainability. With strategic collaboration and good flow of information this will improve innovation stimulation, generation, and detection within the shipyard supplier network. The models by which these processes can be implemented are investigated in the wider network and utilized in communicating network sustainability to various interest groups.

The approach creates a multitude of business potential varying from clear savings, enhanced efficiency and innovation potential, social values, environmental values, and raw marketing value. The approach will have an effect and create demand on customer standards and purchasing behavior through a market shaping ideology, thus increasing sustainability transparency requirements in the market. At first the main beneficiaries are the shipyard, shipbuilding network, and shipping companies, internally. The solutions can be scaled, formalized, and incorporated to give the Finnish marine industry a competitive advantage in the cruise ship market.

This SusFlow project is a collaborative consortium project led by research organizations, University of Turku and VTT, including multiple parallel projects from industry stakeholders throughout the value chain. The project is carried our during 1 January 2023 – 28 February 2025 and is funded by Business Finland.

Further information: Leena Jokinen & Katariina Heikkilä.

Project website