Exploring collaboration: Basque Country delegation’s visit to EFI

On 31 August 2023, a delegation from the Basque Country, Spain, visited the European Forest Institute (EFI) headquarters and the Bioregions Facility in Joensuu, Finland. The visit was part of a trip the delegation made to Helsinki and Joensuu to strengthen their relations and seek collaboration opportunities with different institutions working on the bioeconomy.

Robert Mavsar, interim director of EFI, introduced EFI’s work and strategic role in research and innovation, followed by Diana Tuomasjukka, who highlighted the ongoing projects and activities done in the Bioeconomy Programme to Estibaliz Hernáez, vice-minister of Technology, Innovation and Digital Transformation, Bittor Oroz, vice-minister of Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Policy, Leire Barañano, general director of Neiker, and Imanol Goenaga, advisor for environment and sustainability.

The Basque government has an ambitious bioeconomy roadmap. It aims to make the region a reference in the bioeconomy, promoting the generation and consolidation of high-value economic activities based on the optimal exploitation of regional resources.

Research and support

The delegation visited Luke’s wood technology lab and Metla’s wooden building. Photo by: Ekonomiaren Garapena via Twitter.

Presentations were followed by vivid discussions on the challenges that developing a sustainable bioeconomy has in the Basque Country and the rest of Europe, such as including biodiversity and social responsibility in industries, the role that perceptions and beliefs play in forest planning and management, and the need of models and tools that analyse ecological, economic and social aspects.

“The Basque Country counts with a lot of research information; what we need to develop further are models that can make information useable in a practical way. Effectively communicating the findings is also crucial to move from a traditional mindset to a more science-based one,” said Leire Barañano.

The work of EFI in providing tools that link knowledge to action and in communicating science to the population and industries is crucial in this scenario.

The Basque delegation at Business Joensuu. Photo by: Andrea Arancibia.

Lauri Sikanen, principal scientist and group manager of Luke—an organisation expert in the sustainable use of renewable natural resources—presented Luke’s research programmes and how they foster the forest-based bioeconomy in Finland.

Basque Country moving forward

The Basque delegation was received by Seppo Tossavainen, Business Specialist, and Kirsi Svard, Business Coach, at Business Joensuu, where they had the opportunity to learn more about the organisation’s development services and Forest Joensuu Innovation Ecosystems.

Companies supported by Business Joensuu—Hiil and WoodSense from Mielikki Nordic—pitched their solutions. They discussed the favourable conditions that Business Joensuu and the bioeconomy ecosystem in North Karelia provide for the development of forest-based companies.

Basque Country delegation at Arbonaut
The Basque Country at Arbonaut with Tuomo Kauranne. Photo by: Ekonomiaren Garapena via Twitter.

During the afternoon, they met Pekka Äänismaa, director and stakeholder relations at Metsäkeskus – Finnish Forest Centre, who presented the Centre’s work. Tuomo Kauranne, president of Arbonaut, gave a presentation on Living with fire: How to mitigate forest fires with digital twins of the forest.

Bittor Oroz, vice-minister of Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Policy, expressed his gratitude for the satisfactory relations that the Basque Country has with EFI as well as the membership of the region in the Bioregions Facility.

Featured image: Minna Korhonen by EFI

Nest Hackathon: develop innovative solutions for sustainable housing

Did you know that buildings and construction are responsible for 39% of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions? In Finland, more than one million detached houses account for a quarter of total household emissions, making the carbon footprint of housing a major challenge for combatting climate change and promoting sustainability. 

Nest Hackathon is here to change the narrative. No matter if you are a student, in the early stages of your career or further along, this is the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself to develop concrete solutions for sustainable homes.

The hackathon is a weekend challenge competition that brings together professionals from various disciplines to develop innovative solutions for sustainable housing.

Nest hackathon timeline

Hackathon weekend happens from 15 to 17 September 2023.

Application period ends on 31 August 2023.


There’s also 2000€ in cash prizes for the top three teams:

  • 1st place: 1000 €
  • 2nd place: 500 €
  • 3rd place: 500 €

Featured image by Nest Hackathon.

WOOD 2023

WOOD 2023

The Wood fair brings together companies and professionals from the entire industry in Jyväskylä, Finland, again from 6 to 8 September 2023. The event, which has been a flag bearer in the wood industry for more than 30 years, focuses on woodworking technology, the carpentry industry and woodworking technology. Efficient subcontracting chain and future innovations in the entire wood industry are strongly present at the fair.

Register now

Perceptions on the bioeconomy in North Karelia

The Bioregions Facility launched the Perceptions on the bioeconomy survey in North Karelia, Finland, from September to November 2021. 

The survey targeted different groups within government and industry to understand how they perceive the bioeconomy, its benefits, and its challenges.

Learn more about the Government and industry bioeconomy perceptions survey and ways to implement the survey in your region.

Content: survey report on government and industry perceptions on the bioeconomy in North Karelia, Finland

Author(s): Siebe Briers, Inazio Martinez de Arano, Venla Wallius, Milla Suomalainen

Year: 2022

Learn more

International Forest Symposium

The International Forest Symposium at Joensuu Science Park will occur on 6 September 2023 in Joensuu, Finland. Join to meet and collaborate with forest sector experts from Malaysia, Indonesia and Chile.
Date: Wednesday, 6 September 2023
Time: 08:30–14:00 GMT+3
Place: Joensuu Science Park, auditorium Temple of Challenge (building 3A, 4th floor). Address: Länsikatu 15, 80100 Joensuu.
Registration: Please register for the event by completing the registration form below by August 28, 2023! 
Organizations and companies engaged in the forest industry in the Joensuu region and wider in Finland: 
Once you are interested in forest-related collaboration and business opportunities in Malaysia, Indonesia and Chile, the International Forest Symposium on September 6th, 2023, held at Joensuu Science Park, will be a must-attend event to join! The event offers a unique opportunity to meet and network with forest sector experts from these countries!
The Symposium is focused on interactive discussions between forest experts in the industry to meet and find innovative collaboration opportunities in sustainable Smart Forestry:
  • Challenges to be presented by international and Finnish forest experts.
  • Solutions are to be facilitated and discussed with the audience.
Sessions will cover many topics, e.g., the following forest solutions practices based on the wishes of the international delegations: 
  • Business and other collaboration opportunities
  • Sustainable Practices in forest management and sustainability needs in Forestry
  • Smart machinery for forest management and operations
  • Digital forest inventory and remote sensing
  • Forest fire prevention and solutions.

Visit the website to see the preliminary programme.

Image: International Forest Symposium Joensuu.

International Forest Joensuu Week

The City of Joensuu, the Forest Capital of Europe, welcomes all international delegations to Joensuu! Participate in the activities for the week and explore the leading forest and wood expertise to develop the forest industry and management and join the Silva Forest Exhibition.

International Forest Joensuu Week Programme
The daily schedule for forest expert delegations abroad and companies operating in the industry in Finland can be found below.

The program is exemplary and can be refined according to the wishes of international delegations.

Learn more

Photo bLev Karavanov – stock.adobe.com

Nordic Climate Forum for Construction 2023

Join researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders from construction at the Nordic Climate Forum for Construction in Helsinki and online for a discussion of the present current movements in sustainable construction.


Preliminary programme

10:00 EEST – Official opening

10:15 EEST – Session 1: Policies for low-carbon construction

  • Experiences from Nordic policies: What are the first lessons learnt from the climate declarations and limit values? Where are the countries proceeding?
  • Where will the revisions of the European legislation lead? Update on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and Construction Products Regulation

12:00 EEST – Lunch 

12:45 EEST – Session 2: Carbon budgets for buildings

  • Alternative approaches to setting carbon budgets for buildings: what does the science say?
  • How can the built environment support carbon neutrality?
  • Can digitalisation help for keeping track of life cycle emissions?

14:45 EEST – Coffee break 

15:00 – Session 3: The business of carbon-neutral construction

  • What requirements does the changing legislation set for companies?
  • Business cases from the Nordic countries

17:00 EEST – End of forum

Register here.

Photo by Tapio Haaja on Unsplash.

Bioeconomy perceptions in North Karelia

The Bioregions Facility launched its Bioeconomy Perceptions Regional Survey in North Karelia in the period September-November 2021 in the local language, Finnish. The Survey was targeted at different groups within government and industry, to understand how they perceive the bioeconomy, its benefits, and its challenges. More specifically, the Survey aims at achieving six target outcomes: i) understand how business and policy actors perceive the bioeconomy; ii) revisit value chain priorities and related communication efforts; iii) identify barriers & supporting conditions; iv) assess “willingness to engage” with the bioeconomy; v) get insights on how to improve collaboration with government & industry and; vi) find key leverage points for bioeconomy development by identifying overlaps with other policy areas. Here we present six key highlights, one per target outcome, of the Survey in North Karelia.

  • Respondents generally perceived bioeconomy as promising, and specifically to address environmental challenges. Respondents see the contribution to energy transition, and to a low-carbon economy, as the most relevant positive impact of the bioeconomy.
  • North Karelia business and policy actors suggest that nature-based tourism, bioenergy and wood construction are the bioeconomy sectors with highest potential for growth in North Karelia.
  • Limited co-operation among different stakeholders (policy, business, etc.) is perceived as the most important barrier for bioeconomy development. Several supporting conditions were rated in between important and extremely important, namely investment in innovation, availability of scientific information, public procurement programmes and adequate regulation.
  • Both government and industry respondents indicated that their sector or department is willing to develop the bioeconomy.
  • Government and industry respondents felt very similar about who is responsible for different tasks in moving the bioeconomy in North Karelia forward. Both groups indicated that they are equally responsible for investments in research, development, and innovation and for ensuring positive environmental and social impacts. In addition, both groups emphasised that the government is more responsible in communicating and promoting the bioeconomy among the general public.
  • According to respondents, bioeconomy has strong goal alignment with environment related policy areas, especially climate change mitigation and clean energy. Other policy areas with very high overlap with bioeconomy are biodiversity conservation, circular economy, and rural development. Bioeconomy was considered to have less goal alignment with social and economic policy areas.