Sirpa Lätti-Hyvönen: Savilahti – Hub of competence
With its unique location and already buzzing with activity, Savilahti is poised for a great future. Today, Savilahti is an internationally recognized hub of competence with approximately 19 000 actors busy at work even as we speak. In the 2020s, the number of citizens living and working in the area is expected to exceed 35 000. The complex will also feature a unique mix of educational institutions at three levels, when the university is joined by the campuses of Savonia University of Applied Sciences and Savo Vocational College.
Cradle of Expertise and Research
Traditionally, healthcare, wellbeing and clean technologies have formed the core of the region’s knowhow. The cluster of Kuopio University Hospital KYS and high-tech companies in healthcare, bio, medical and environmental sectors have provided, and will continue to provide, a thriving ecosystem for start-ups and growth companies. Savilahti is already home for more than 200 competence-based companies – with cutting edge competence particularly on a sector with remarkable future growth potential, the neuroscience. That, and the entire Kuopio Health innovation ecosystem alike, is expected to boost scientific research and generate new business activities.
Several prominent research institutions are located in Savilahti: Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea, National Neuro Centre, Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, National Institute of Health and Welfare THL, Finnish Meteorological Institute and Geological Survey of Finland GTK. Synergy is created by successful collaboration and strong partnerships between these institutions and the city, the educational institutions and the businesses in Savilahti. Interaction of multiple disciplines provide a more collective approach to new innovations. Novel solutions and fresh business networks are spurred by professionals mingling in common physical spaces, the hubs.
Platform for Experimental Culture
Being developed as a sustainable smart city, Savilahti functions as a natural platform for testing and product development. The city itself with its partners also serves as an innovation platform: the new Living Lab Project allows collaboration between different sectors in developing collective integration of technical solutions and facilitates experimenting with novel applications in the fields of transport, housing, wellbeing and studying in city buses, schools or health care centres. The testing is, for its part, supported by the open data provided by the city to the pilot project. Using big data it is possible to target and develop customer-oriented services. With its 120 000 citizens Kuopio is just the right size in this sense: big enough, but small enough to facilitate testing.
Savilahti is envisioned to grow into a bustling complex with access to diverse activities and services round the clock throughout the year. All basic services from kindergartens to schools and commercial services for businesses and individuals, coupled with magnificent natural environment for outdoor recreation are within reach. Students will be delighted by the wide variety of restaurants and organized events in the heart of Kuopio.
Savilahti offers an ideal combination of the elements of a good life – a broad array of housing, studying, working and free time activities. Savilahti fuels new innovations, facilitates everyday life, presents low carbon energy solutions and eco-friendly life. Children born and raised in Savilahti get accustomed to creative environment. That, if anything, generates new innovativeness.
Strategy Manager, the City of Kuopio