West Coast Cooperation

Finland thrives of the West Coast

Vaasa University of Applied Sciences, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Centria University of Applied Sciences, and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences have, since the beginning of 2023, committed to close West Coast cooperation facilitated by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Vaasa University of Applied Sciences coordinates the West Coast cooperation. The universities of applied sciences on the West Coast form a clear center of expertise, focusing on industry, energy, logistics, health and well-being, and security of supply. In the initial phase of cooperation, the focus is particularly on collaboration revolving around digital manufacturing technology and robotics, as well as clean energy solutions.

The thematic priorities have emerged from the regions’ smart specialisation strategies, the needs of the regions and their industries, and the strategic priorities of the universities of applied sciences. The strengths and expertise of the West Coast universities complement each other. The needs of industry and the labor market are strategically shared in the region. Thematic collaboration aims to take a proactive approach and promote multidisciplinary cooperation to address systemic challenges.

The universities of applied sciences on the West Coast collectively aim to ensure new workforce for the regions’ companies and labor market, maintain the skills and employability of the current workforce, provide R&D capacity for pilots, experiments, and development, as well as innovation and validation for future investments.

The universities of applied sciences participating in the West Coast program aim to collectively ensure that companies and the labor market in the regions continue to find skilled experts for their needs and thus contribute to increasing international competitiveness. Deepening research and education cooperation enhances the attractiveness of the entire region and facilitates attracting international investments and talent to the area.

Meeting the needs of industry and the workforce

Within the framework of West Coast cooperation, collaboration is deepened in the following areas: digital manufacturing technology, robotics, clean energy solutions, well-being, logistics, and security of supply. The aim is to be pioneers in these fields and support future technological development.

Ensuring a skilled workforce

The universities of applied sciences on the West Coast play a central role as producers of skilled workforce. Through collaboration, it is ensured that companies and the labor market in the regions continue to find skilled experts for their needs and can thus invest in increasing international competitiveness.

Intensifying research and education cooperation

Universities of applied sciences are excellent partners for companies in research, development, and innovation projects, and they provide for example support for companies’ investment decisions. Deepening cooperation enables more impactful RDI projects, a diverse range of educational offerings, and the shared use of research infrastructures.

Digital manufacturing technology and robotics

In the West Coast region, strong expertise in digital manufacturing technology and robotics has profoundly transformed the industry.

The region’s high-tech export companies are pioneers, focusing on new innovations and production technologies. Additionally, a cluster called RoboCoast, which brings together around a hundred companies, is a significant asset in the region’s development. This cluster supports the West Coast’s position as an international center of expertise in the fields of robotics, IoT, artificial intelligence, and automation. Thanks to these technologies, the region can achieve more efficient production, more precise quality control, and free up workforce from routine tasks.

Clean energy solutions

Clean energy solutions are a key part of the global effort to move towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy production.

In the West Coast region, there is a strong focus on clean energy solutions, and the area has a strong position in both battery and process chemistry as well as low-carbon energy storage. The region is home to Finland’s most significant cluster of metals and metal chemicals needed for electrification and battery manufacturing. In the GigaVaasa area, several projects crucial for the future are planned, such as cathode and anode material factories, which support the growth of the battery industry.