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Research provides a strong basis for the ECO3 concept

In addition to the anchor companies in the ECO3 area, Tampere University has been involved from the outset. When the ECO3 concept was under development in 2014, the operators shared a vision of the importance of the city of Nokia’s coordinating role. If the city had not made strategic choices to support the circular economy, the ecosystem might not have seen as much success.

– From the outset, our activities in the ECO3 area were guided by the view that this is not an individual project or a pie-in-the-sky vision but a systemic operating platform. The key factor was to get operations implemented permanently and profitably in the area, says Professor Marko Seppänen from Tampere University.

Tampere University’s role was evident in concept development, as well as in other subjects in which the university possesses top-class expertise. Various technologies have been developed on two research projects in the ECO3 area: water purification technology has been researched in cooperation with Nokian Vesi Ltd., and the decomposition of biogas has been studied with Tampere Regional Solid Waste Management Ltd.

Development without limits

The ECO3 area is a permanent form of collaboration for the university, so development should continue after companies have started operating in the area. From the perspective of research collaboration, the area in its current form is “ECO3 1.0” – the first version, which will be developed and remodelled in the future. The development of businesses and the platform will also offer new opportunities for students. When companies ramp up their processes in full, opportunities such as master’s thesis topics will begin to present themselves.

So far, most of the work in the ECO3 area has been in the field of technological research with a focus on circular economy materials and mechanisms. Future research may also make use of the university’s societal expertise, such as the social impacts of the area.

Tampere University, Tampere University of Technology and Tampere University of Applied Sciences merged in 2019. The new university brings together technology and social sciences in a unique way, and its units conduct world-class, multidisciplinary research.