The Oulu Phenomenon

David Morris, Tom Donnelly, M. Hyry

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The article focuses on trying to explain why the City of Oulu in the Otrosbothnian Region of Northern Finland became a leading centre for High Tech industries between 1980 and 2000. Traditionally Oulu’s economy centred on the timber, tar, paper and pulp industries along with a little iron and steel making. Following the Second World War down to the 1960s the area fell into economic decline and experienced high levels of outward migration, low standards of living and an above average mortality rate. Ostrobothnia’s difficulties in essence mirrored those of Northern Finland in general and the National Government in Helsinki had little choice but to enact a positive regional policy to try to effect a turnaround. Instrumental in this was the establishment in 1956 of the University of Oulu and its attendant Medical School. The university was specifically charged to work towards revitalising the economy. Fundamental to this was the Department of Electrical Engineering which in conjunction with others saw that the way forward lay in the development of a knowledge economy, and in conjunction with the City Council a Technology Park (Technopolis) was established in 1980 alongside the University. The government played its part by opening branches of Tekes and VTT in the city to facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship. Indeed, this was a fine example of the Triple Helix at work. The outcome was that a number of small firms in electronics and ICT industries established themselves in the City, as did Nokia, and within a relatively short space of time, Oulu became the leading centre for High Tech industries in the Nordic Countries, gaining a world-wide reputation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTowards new Nordic regions: politics, administration and regional development
    EditorsOddbjørn Bukve, Henrik Halkier, Peter de Souza
    Place of PublicationAalborg
    PublisherAalborg University Press
    ISBN (Print)9788773079461
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Bibliographical note

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    • Oulu
    • Finland
    • regional development


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