There are two large universities in Upper Norrland, Luleå University of Technology, with campi in Luleå, Skellefteå, Piteå and Kiruna, and Umeå University. In Umeå, there is also a university hospital and a division of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Akademi Norr is a joint initiative between 12 rural municipalities in order to coordinate and combine the need for higher education with innovative growth. In connection to this, distance education is provided in cooperation with 13 Swedish universities, including Luleå, Umeå and Mid Sweden universities. The average annual business expenditure on research and development (R&D) as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in Upper Norrland was 2.3% during the period of 2003-2013, which is below the national average of 3.3%, but above the EU average of 1.9% (Eurostat, 2020). In 2017, €540.32m have been invested in R&D in Upper Norrland, which corresponds to 2.3% of the regional GDP, higher than the EU average (2.08%). 22.92% of these investments have been assured by private companies (Eurostat, 2020). There are a limited number of large companies, and many have their headquarters in the metropolitan areas of Sweden. Key sectors of the region are forestry, mining, ICT and biotechnology. Other competence areas have been identified in the region, e.g. winter test driving, safety and security, creative industries/tourism, environmental technology and e-health. The services sector is still less developed. There is an innovation support structure consisting of a variety of organisations and measures to support the development of innovations and business ideas from the conceptual stage through to market launch. Many of the organisations cooperate closely with higher education. As a result of a national initiative, Innovation Office North has been established at Umeå University to support commercialisation. The office is run in collaboration with Luleå University and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). An initiative has also been taken to support innovation from the health care sector: Innovation sluice Västerbotten. Regarding patent registration, the region has submitted 59 patent applications in 2019 (EPO, 2020). The population aged 30-34 in the region with tertiary education has been decreasing since 2014 (when it was at 48.4%), being at 42.5% in 2019 (Eurostat, 2020). This stays below the national average (52.5%) but above the EU average (41.6%). The employment in the high-tech sector in Upper Norrland has been fluctuating over the years. In 2019 (Eurostat, 2020), the 4.8 thousand employees working in this sector represented 7.3% of the national employment in the area and 2% of the total employment in Upper Norrland (the EU average is at 3.6%). In Upper Norrland, 97% of the households had internet access at home in 2019, over the national average (96%) (Eurostat, 2020).