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Established in 1983, Tekes is the most important publicly funded expert organisation for financing research, development and innovation in Finland. The mission statement of Tekes is to boosts the development of Finnish industry and the service sector by technological means and through innovation. This will renew the economy, increase added-value and exports, enhance productivity and the quality of working life, and create employment and wellbeing. Tekes also promotes a broad-based view on innovation: besides funding technological breakthroughs, Tekes emphasises the significance of service-related, design, business, and social innovations. Research, development and innovation funding is targeted to projects that create in the long-term the greatest benefits for the economy and society. Tekes does not derive any financial profit from its activities, nor claim any intellectual proprietary rights.
Tekes works with the top innovative companies and research units in Finland. Every year, Tekes finances some 1,500 business research and development projects, and almost 600 public research projects at universities, research institutes and polytechnics. Tekes funding and services are designed for promoting challenging and innovative research and development projects in companies, universities, other university-level institutions and research institutes. Tekes assists businesses in their search for new ideas, the finalisation of business plans and their quest to carry out meaningful and valuable research and development initiatives. Companies are encouraged to contact Tekes's experts in the initial stages of planning to allow them to formulate their research proposals with the help of a dedicated Tekes expert. Completed project proposals are reviewed internally by Tekes's business and technology experts, and each project is designated a Tekes expert to assist with the project and to monitor its progress. By sharing the risks associated with challenging research and development projects, Tekes encourages businesses to take greater leaps in innovation development than would be possible without public R&D funding. Tekes offers businesses a low-interest loan or a grant, depending on the distance to the market and on the nature of the proposed project. Funding can also be awarded to foreign-owned enterprises registered in Finland. Foreign companies with R&D activities in Finland do not need to have a Finnish partner to be eligible for funding. The projects may also involve international cooperation and researcher mobility.