Centria University of Applied Sciences is one of the brightest shining stars in the field of Finnish R&D. It is one of the most active establishments in research, development, and innovation.
“In research and development, we are in the top five in Finland”, R&D Manager Jennie Elfving explains.
Centria is located in Kokkola, Ylivieska, and Pietarsaari, and their operations reach out through the entire Ostrobothnian area.
The three fundamental pillars of R&D activities at Centria are project activities, product development services, and training services. They focus on four areas: chemistry and bio-economy, digitalisation, entrepreneurship and wellbeing, as well as production technologies.
“We always aim to stay ahead of the game by trying to predict changes instead of having to react to them”, Elfving says. Centria’s compact size means that their R&D services are very agile and can respond to the changing needs of the area’s industries on short notice. Their close cooperation with the companies is an additional asset.
The activities are not limited to research work, and increasing numbers of companies benefit from the educational and development services Centria offers.
Centria recently signed a partnership agreement with Medirex, a company that specialises in rehabilitation and physical therapy. Their Marketing Manager Erica Roiko says that Medirex has developed their services and products together with Centria.
“Entrepreneurs are often alone in their endeavours. We feel that Centria is a good partner for us”, Roiko asserts. Working together with the University of Applied Sciences has allowed the company to develop its services in a new way.
“We are working on a smartphone application that would make physical therapy more easily available”, she explains.
Jennie Elfving says that R&D activities not only benefit companies but also students on a broader scale.
“We provide a testing ground to companies: we can test new ideas through applied research before taking them into actual working life, meaning that companies will avoid costly mistakes”, she says.
Students may take part in Centria’s R&D projects during their studies, collaborating side-by-side with actual companies. They enjoy working with concrete issues and eventually seeing their efforts making a tangible difference. The R&D activities provide students with an excellent real-life learning environment.