The Kajaani city region – Kajaani and Sotkamo – is included among the sixteen Finnish InnoCities. The state has concluded agreements with university and university consortium cities on the allocation of funding to strengthen RDI activities in the regions. The aim of InnoCities is to strengthen the expertise and collaboration of urban areas, to create international-level innovation and experimentation environments, and to create new business ecosystems. The current agreement is in force until the end of 2027.


In the agreement concluded with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the priority areas in the development of the Kajaani region are (1) measurement technology and measurements, and (2) high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, and data centres.

The development of measurement technology and the data industry are central to Kajaani’s city strategy and vitality programme, and the city puts special effort in them. Both are part of Kainuu’s smart specialisation strategy and regional programme. A central objective in the development of innovation activities and environment in the Kajaani region is to create new business opportunities and business. Partners and customers are sought more extensively both nationally and internationally.

Key topics under the theme of measurement technology and measurements are analytics of industrial measurements with artificial intelligence, and training in IoT expertise and cybersecurity. The overall goal is to develop the economic and ecological efficiency of Kainuu-based companies through the utilisation of measurement technology and data analytics. In addition, the utilisation of circular economy and, in particular, industrial side streams are promoted. The aim of IoT and cybersecurity training is to provide open offerings independent of time and place for the development of companies’ operations.

Under the themes of high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and data centres, the aim is to strengthen Kajaani as an international location for data centres and a centre of excellence in high-performance computing. Cooperation between operators in the area to attract data centres to Kajaani has been successful and, for example, the Iceland-based data centre operator Borealis Data Center is settling in Kajaani. The development of Kajaani’s data centre ecosystem is a broad field that covers not only new data centre operators, but also suitable areas and/or properties, utilisation of waste heat, reliable electricity network, strengthening of a centre of excellence in high-performance computing and artificial intelligence, and creation of new business opportunities.

In addition to data centres, the region’s data expertise will be strengthened by building a unique centre of excellence in sports and well-being in Kajaani and Sotkamo that offers top expertise in sports and well-being, from measurements to data analysis and applications in areas such as coaching, research, and education. Kajaani also has significant expertise in the development of digital sports games (exergaming).

The ecosystem agreement is linked to sustainable urban development funding, with which part of the development measures are carried out. In addition, the subject of the agreement has been and will be developed through many different forms of financing and activities.


The members of the CEMIS Research and Training Centre – the Measurement Technology Unit (MITY) of the University of Oulu, the Sports Technology Unit of the University of Jyväskylä in Vuokatti (JyU Vuokatti), Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KAMK), CSC – IT Center for Science, and VTT MIKES – form a diverse centre of excellence in measurement technology and data expertise in the Kajaani region.

In the Kainuu region, KAMK is a strong education provider in the fields of data centre operations, mechanical engineering, game industry, utilisation of artificial intelligence, and physical activity. The Vuokatti unit of the University of Jyväskylä educates masters and doctors of sports technology. Kainuu Vocational College offers a diverse range of vocational qualifications, further vocational and specialist vocational qualifications as well as short education courses. CSC offers training courses in data management and scientific calculations and VTT MIKES in measurement uncertainty.

The spearhead industry sectors in Kainuu are bioeconomy, mining industry, ICT and metal industries, and tourism. There are several companies in spearhead industries operating in Kainuu that develop or utilise solutions based on measurement technology and data. Data centres and the business created around them is a growing field in Kajaani.

Those who enable RDI activities through funding and other actions are an important part of the network: Kajaani, Sotkamo and other municipalities, the Regional Council of Kainuu, and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.

The strengths of the Kajaani region include long experience in cooperation between RDI operators, business life and municipalities, as well as the diverse expertise of RDI and education operators in the region’s spearhead industries. Further development of cooperation is of paramount importance so that funding opportunities and RDI activities in the region would generate even more value for the companies’ business operations and for the creation of new business.

Examples of the projects of the CEMIS Research and Training Centre can be found on this website under the Projects section.


Niina Ahtonen

The author is the Director of the CEMIS Research and Training Centre.

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