Water expertise has been identified as one of the common strengths of Eastern and Northern Finland. The AWE - Arctic Water Excellence project aims to contribute to strengthening the coordinated regional specialization implemented in the water sector and profiled cooperation in the IP area. The project implements the choices of the common smart specialization strategy of Eastern and Northern Finland (clean technologies and low-carbon solutions, ICT and digitization, innovative technologies and production processes), where it has been identified to have versatile competence in the IP area. The choices of the joint strategy create the basis for a new cross-regional cooperation, which the AWE project concretice.


Project period:

Project funding:
The European Regional Development Fund,
South Savo Regional Council


The goal of the AWE project is to contribute to the development of new technologies and their piloting and implementation, especially in water-intensive industry and the water works in cooperation with research institutes, SMEs and industry. The activity aims to promote the formation of new innovations and business in the sector, thus supporting growth and competitiveness of SMEs operating in the sector.

The project focuses on solving generic, water-related challenges identified from the business world by means of co-development, applying new and/or alternative technologies in practice. The targets of the project's development are e.g. the utilization of digitalization for the development of environmental monitoring and water balance management of large industrial areas, such as mining areas, and the development of advanced recovery processes and separation technologies as part of water purification, e.g. in order to utilize the metals and nutrients contained in wastewater as raw materials. These development measures also contribute to the development of the circular economy in the form of applications based on water expertise.

During the project, suitable business groups and developer ecosystems will be gathered around the new technologies and solutions/methods identified as the most promising for their further development and commercialization after the end of the project in the applicable parts, e.g. as separate Business Finland-funded spin-off projects. These actions are including the development of joint offering, the creation of value for the ecosystem and individual members, and the promotion of international competitiveness.

The AWE project concretizes the realization of the goals of the regional programs of the provinces of Eastern and Northern Finland and the strategies of smart specialization into practice. The project's measures are implemented in wide-ranging interregional cooperation by a total of eight research organizations, at the same time significantly strengthening the national networking of the water sector and the further development of regional centers of expertise and their centers of expertise in accordance with the goals of smart specialization. The AWE project also supports the implementation of the national urban strategy with regard to the emphasis on Kuopio, Mikkeli, Oulu and Kajaani, in accordance with the guidelines of ecosystem agreements.

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