Ostrobothnia is a future pioneer as it continues to rely on collaboration and skilled professionals

Ostrobothnia is a future pioneer as it continues to rely on collaboration and skilled professionals

The importance of the higher education institutions in the Vaasa region cannot be overlooked as part of the success of the Vaasa region, as emphasized in several speeches at the Megatrend Day. Key megatrends highlighted in the experts’ speeches included population aging and intensifying competition for skilled professionals.

The themes of Vaasa University of Applied Sciences’ Megatrend Day were, as the name suggests, connected to significant and slowly changing phenomena that have a significant impact on both the national level and the development of the Vaasa region. Dr. Timo Aro, a political scientist and leading expert from the MDI consulting firm specializing in regional development, opened his speech by discussing the role of universities in the competition for skilled professionals. Aro cited data from Statistics Finland, which indicates that in Ostrobothnia, the proportion of highly educated individuals is 31.7 percent, compared to the national average of 28.0 percent:

The number of higher education students in Ostrobothnia is significant, as the region has the second highest proportion of higher education students in relation to the population base. This provides an excellent foundation for inter-regional competition among provinces,” stated Aro.

Vaasa sets an example for others with its diverse collaboration initiatives

According to Aro, the Vaasa region easily meets the so-called hard indicators and criteria of a successful region: it has sufficient population density, it is a growing area with knowledge, expertise, and production clusters, and it has good and smooth connections.

– In regional and population development, the holy trinity is emphasized: fast transport connections, location and know-how, which also includes strong research, development and innovation activities and informal cooperation between companies and universities. Especially in this area, Vaasa is ahead of others. The connection to Umeå is also a valuable thing and a huge opportunity regionally, Aro summed up.

Instead, in soft values, for example reputation, images and the attractiveness of the area, Aro still saw room for improvement: The Vaasa region is an international and tolerant place. The challenge may be to attract population who are not familiar with the area, but if people do move here, they are likely to stay, Aro concluded.

The event was held on Wednesday, May 18th, for the first time at Vaasa University of Applied Sciences, for its staff, student union board, and members of the RDI Advisory Board. The event was organized by the research, development, and innovation services of Vaasa University of Applied Sciences.