BSR Stars S3 – Smart specialisation through cross-sectoral Bio-, Circular- and Digital ecosystems

BSR Stars S3 (2016-2019)

BSR Stars S3 project explored methods and tools that support cooperation between innovation actors (companies, researchers and the public sector) within bio- and circular economy. The project gained knowledge and a unique perspective into regional and transnational smart specialisation in the Baltic Sea Region.

The final output of the BSR Stars S3 is an analysis report of the BSR Stars S3 pilot activities with possible scope to upscale and / or transfer learning and methods to other BSR geographies or economic sectors. These are:

o Matchmaking events
o Transnational business coaching
o Transnational Innovation Voucher pilot
o S3 Accelerator Camp
o Digital Innovation Ecosystem Management Tool

Furthermore, the report  provides a vision of the “BSR S3 ecosystem” – a new strategic framework at the macro-regional level to support capacity building for Smart Specialisation across the BSR capitalising on the learning and results of S3 Interreg projects across the macro-region: “BSR Stars S3 – Learning and conclusions for the BSR S3 Ecosystem

Other key outputs are the following policy briefs written in cooperation with Nordregio:

Smart specialisation in the Baltic Sea Region – Good practices from the BSR Stars S3 project
Authors: Johanna Leino, Jukka Teräs & John Moodie

Industrial symbiosis in the Baltic Sea Region
Authors:  John Moodie, Viktor Salenius & johanna Leino

Developing and managing innovation ecosystems in the circular economy – outline of a digital monitoring tool
Authors: John Moodie, Tuulia Rinne, Johanna Alakerttula, Henrika Ruokonen & Johanna Leino


BSR Stars S3 final seminar “Specializing in bio- and circular economy in the Baltic Sea Region” was organised in March 2019

The seminar was organised on 26 March 2019 in Tampere Hall with more than 100 participants. It provided an actual overview on bio- and circular economy opportunities and prospects for future cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. Being the final seminar of BSR Stars S3 project, the event had a special focus on the project outcomes and the following topics:

  • ways to promote and involve business in bio- and circular economy
  • next steps to BSR macro-regional smart specialization. 


Presentations of the seminar:

Welcoming words Petri Räsänen, Director, Innovation and Foresight, Council of Tampere Region
Bio & Circular Finland program and examples of international opportunities Ilmari Absetz, Director of Programs, Business Finland
Practices and international prospects in textile circulation Pirjo Heikkilä, Senior Scientist, VTT Finland

STING Bioeconomy incubator Victor Isaksen, CEO, Sting Bioeconomy, Sweden
Trøndelag circular economy Per Erik Sørås, Senior Advisor, County of Trøndelag, Norway
Bioeconomy regional profiles Hannu Koponen, Development Manager, Regional Council of Central Finland

Industrial symbiosis platforms ECO3 (Finland) Jukka Teräs, Nordregio
Industrial symbiosis platforms Paper Province (Sweden) Paul Nemes, Paper Province
What accelerates the circular economy transition – CICAT2025 Project Valtteri Ranta, Researcher, Tampere University
Added value of transnational business coaching Mantas Vilys, Lithuanian Innovation Centre & Linus Arnold, RISE Sweden
Experiences from transnational innovation voucher pilot Torfi Johannesson, Nordic Council of Ministers

BSR S3 Ecosystem Programme – next steps for macro-regional smart specialization Alison Hunter, Economic and Public Policy Consultancy

Business from Bioeconomy -matchmaking and business coaching event in Karlstad, Sweden, 4-5 Dec. 2018

“Business from bioeconomy” -matchmaking event was organised in Karlstad, Sweden including company cases, good practices from the Baltic Sea Region and two thematic workshops focusing on biobased materials and biofuels, The event discussed concrete challenges and enhanced new cooperation and partnerships. Also business coaching by Swedish and Danish coaches for bioeconomy companies was offered.


Biobased materials and sustainable plastic solutions -event in Tampere Hall, 29 May 2018

The Baltic Institute of Finland and Council of Tampere Region organized in cooperation with Business Tampere a networking event with a focus on biobased materials and new plastic solutions.  The programme included company cases and presentations from VTT, Tampere University of Technology and RISE Bioeconomy, Sweden.


Tampere bio- and circular economy matchmaking event “From Waste to Valuables” was a success


See video from the event

Photos from the event

The Baltic Institute of Finland and Council of Tampere Region organised together with Tampere University of Technology, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Natural Resource Centre Finland and Business Tampere a major circular economy matchmaking event #WastetoValuables with around 150 participants. The event was organised as part of BSR Stars S3 project at Sokos Hotel Torni Tampere on 23-24 November. The second day was devoted to parallel site visits to Hiedanranta – the future smart and circular urban district of Tampere, ECO3 industrial symbiosis park on the border of Tampere and Nokia as well as related VTT and TUT laboratories.

The event included several interesting company cases as circular business models and digitalisation was one of the key themes. Other themes were how to make business from nutrient cycles and circular economy in construction. The event included also “business clinics” with researchers providing advises to companies on how to make better use of circular in their business.

According to key note speaker Professor Nancy Bocken from Lund University, there are several issues that companies need to think about when turning business into circular and closing the loops. These include product re-design, partnering strategy, financial model, product life cycle impacts and long-term impacts. Business experimentations are needed to learn and improve business model innovation activities with limited risks through continuous and collective learning with stakeholders. Companies need to consider people and planet in addition to profit, but in the long term it usually pays off.

Presentations, Thursday 23 November

Nordic Industrial Symbiosis Network and BSR Stars S3 project:


Study Visit to Värmland, Sweden on 28-29 November 

The BSR Stars S3 project arranges a two-day Study Tour to Karlstad, Värmland focusing on bioeconomy and digitalization. The Study Tour is  open to all interested parties in the BSR. Nordregio, The Nordic Council of Ministers, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth – together with Region Värmland host the Study Tour. Read more.


Tampere Region pilots a new real-time innovation ecosystem tool for better innovation management within circular economy field

A prototype of an innovation ecosystem tool was implemented and piloted by the Council of Tampere Region within the BSR Stars S3 project. Ecosystem tool provides a new way to get real-time and diverse information on circular economy ecosystems. It will use open data from multiple sources to give information on circular economy actors in the region and their interconnections, ecosystem structure and essential nodes, key figures, emerging circular economy themes and new innovations.

Information provided by the tool enables the appropriate supportive measures by the public sector and the development of cooperation between different actors. Tool provides also new ways to monitor the development of the circular economy.

Nordregio made a policy brief based on the experiences on piloting the tool. Find the policy brief here.


Study visit on industrial symbiosis in Kalundborg and Helsingborg, 8-9 May 2017

A study visit on Industrial Symbiosis with business and municipal perspectives was organised to Kalundborg in Denmark and Helsingborg in Sweden. 30 circular economy experts from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Lithuania and Denmark took part in the visit. The event was organised by the Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordregio and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.

Industrial Symbiosis is about providing opportunities for companies to reduce costs of production inputs and/or increase value of outputs through exploitation of side streams. Kalundborg Industrial Symbiosis is a well-known example of sustained symbiosis development. in Kalundborg about 20 companies participate in the cycle of buying and selling waste products. The residual products circulated and traded include steam, dust, gases, heat, slurry or other waste products that can be physically transported from one enterprise to another.

The Helsingborg Industrial Symbiosis Network is built on waste synergies, heat and cooling synergies as well as biogas and biofertilizer synergies.

Symbiosis Center Denmark provides assistance for companies and public sector to develop symbiosis partnerships in Denmark.

Nordregio has made several publications on industrial symbiosis cases in Nordic Countries.



Tampere bio- and circular economy matchmaking event gathered 100 participants on 7 April 2017 – Presentations and groupwork results available

The event gathered around 100 bio- and circular researchers, companies and public sector representatives from Finland to facilitate new cooperation. The matchmaking event was based on concrete challenges that were selected through open call. The marketplace of the event included representation of  Eco3 circular economy industrial park, Hiedanranta urban district, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tampere University of Technology, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Turku Smart Chemistry Park, BSR Stars S3 and SCREEN projects.



Presentations of the matchmaking event (in Finnish): National Roadmap to Circular Economy: implementation, Mr Kari Herlevi, Project Director, Sitra BSR Stars S3 project, Ms Johanna Leino, Development Director, the Baltic Institute of Finland Business view, Mr Tero Joronen, Plant Solutions Manager, Valmet/TUT Industry Professor Research view, Ms Marika Kokko, Associated Professor (tenure track), Tampere University of Technology The matchmaking event was organized in cooperation by the Baltic Institute of Finland, Council of Tampere Region and Tampere University of Technology as part of the BSR Stars S3 project. Programme

Workshop: Sharing Test and Demonstration Infrastructures, Tampere, 6 April 2017

The workshop brought together policymakers, practitioners of testbeds and business representatives and discussed opportunities for sharing transnationally the testbed infrastructures for SMEs from different countries. Countries and regions in the Baltic Sea Region have complementary testbed excellence – and thus by networking these excellence areas there is opportunity for offering SMEs specialised testbed services that in the best way suit their innovation needs. Workshop programme. Nordic Council of Ministers mapping on bio- and circular economy test and demonstration infrastructures: Bioeconomy test and demonstration infrastructures in the BSR Stars S3 partner regions Report and conclusions from the 6th of April workshop: Report from Tampere workshop


Article: “Bio- and circular economy to boost sustainable economic growth of the Baltic Sea region”

Article was published in Centrum Balticum blog in Finnish and can be found here in English.

Smart specialization accelerator workshop on bio-and circular economy challenges in Vilnius, 28-29 March 2017

The workshop was targeted at the regional partners (Tampere, Skåne, Sor-Trondelag and Vilnius) of the BSR Stars S3 project. The workshop compared and exchanged experiences on smart specialization (S3) approaches in different regions. The workshop also demonstrated the methods to elaborate solutions to regional bio- and circular economy challenges. Concrete bio/circular challenges were used as a case in the workshop. Programme of the event

Bio- and circular workshop was organised at the Annual Forum of EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in Stockholm, 8 Nov. 2016

BSR Stars S3 project organised a workshop “Fostering innovation and growth in the bioeconomy through smart specialization” at the 7th Strategy Forum of the EUSBSR in Stockholm on 8-9 November 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden. The Forum was a major networking event with a thematic focus on the future and vision of the Baltic Sea region for 2030. Over 1000 participants from Baltic Sea Region countries have registered to the Forum. The bioeconomy workshop included a panel discussion on successful approaches in implementing bio- and circular economy efforts represented by cases from Finland, Sweden and Denmark: Paper Province (Sweden), Kalundborg Industial Symbiosis (Denmark) and Tampere Eco-Industrial Park Industrial Symbiosis (Finland). The workshop addressed opportunities for cooperation aimed at sharing knowledge and infrastructures for bio- and circular economy business.

Contact person at the Baltic Institute of Finland

Development Director Johanna Leino
Email: johanna.leino(at)
Mobile: +358 50 436 3233