Arctic Smartness RDI-Excellence (ASR)

The ASR project has ended on 31 October 2021. Many thanks to partners, stakeholders, and funders!

The Arctic Smartness RDI-Excellence (ASR) project establishes the Lapland Regional Research, Development and Innovation Centre of Excellence. The Centre serves businesses in the service/product development cycle, from helping to develop ideas into products to commercialising innovations. This is achieved by a boundary crossing RDI collaboration structure that brings together the research organisations, development environments and RDI actors in the region.

The Centre of Excellence uses joint research infrastructures, exceeds the traditional limits of sectoral research, promotes better access to international funding and generates strategic work for the benefit of region.

The Centre brings together the RDI actors in Lapland, arranges their dialogue and focuses their RDI activities. It integrates and consolidates different research groups and enterprises. The work is supported by means of networking with other European centres of expertise/excellence and thematic innovation development networks.

The project is implemented by the region’s strong research institutions:

Lapland Regional Research, Development and Innovation Centre of Excellence vision and objectives 20202030

Together with the Arctic development environments cluster, the project develops the Lapland Innovation Ecosystem, which empowers regional RDI actions across traditional organisational boundaries and supports and meets the needs of industry and commerce. This in turn is a starting point for more active and tangible cooperation between research organisations executing this project and the enterprises and industry operating in the region.

The key features of the Lapland Innovation Ecosystem are

  • an RDI-based innovation cycle management
  • a model for TRL (Technology Readiness Level) and IRL (Innovation Readiness Level; see image below) identification and acceleration that serves enterprises in the maturation of ideas, products, services and technologies towards the market
  • advancing need/challenge-based research and the identification of the commercial value of research results.

Based on Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), Innovation Readiness Levels (IRL) describe the stages of product or service innovation development. Evolving an idea into a viable market ready product is usually not a straight-forward process, but involves iterating the different levels.

IRL can also be used to characterise the level(s) a business operates on.

The above image shows the building blocks that form the Regional Ecosystem in Lapland and the EU funding connected to them.

Through the Arctic Development Environments cluster, the services of Lapland’s RDI organizations are available to companies and researchers on a one-stop-shop basis. The cluster offers companies support at different stages of the product development life cycle and in finding suitable RDI funding.

For funders, the cluster provides foresight-based information about the technologies in the region and a service point to which funders can direct their clients. With the help of the cluster, RDI organizations to able to respond to customer needs in a more comprehensive and agile way. service portal >

Arctic Smartness RDI-Excellence (ASR)

Start date: 1 September 2018
End date: 31 October 2021

Funding and budget

The total budget of the project is € 655 656. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund / Regional Council of Lapland. Total EU and State funding € 524 525.

Leverage from the EU 2014–2020, European Regional Development Fund
Project Partners

University of Lapland (coordinator)
Lapland University of Applied Sciences
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Geological Survey of Finland (GTK)


The Arctic Smartness RDI-Excellence project is based on the activities and results of two previous ERDF projects that were instrumental to the implementation of the Lapland Smart Specialisation Strategy into action:

The ASP and ASE projects boosted the operations in identified economic and emerging areas in Lapland and established five modern economic/industry driven clusters. The development impetus of the previous projects will continue in this project together with the Arctic Smart Growth (ASG) ERDF project.

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Project manager Paula Kassinen,
University of Lapland
paula.kassinen (at)

Project partners

University of Lapland

Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

Geological Survey of Finland