Miljöö Innovation Grant awarded for the first time—Funded projects share a clear idea of building a better shared future
A total of 60 applicants from around Finland applied for the Miljöö Innovation Grant awarded by Oulun Energia in its first application round. Decisions on the recipients of the grant were made in early 2023.
“We selected a good range of projects from the applications whose journey and impact we will now be following with interest,” celebrates Quality and Environment Director Tarja Väyrynen.
Interest in the grant, the application period of which closed in October 2022, was abundant. All in all, the quality of the applications was high and the themes promoted sustainable development and innovation. Applications came from businesses, educational institutions, and researchers.
The Miljöö Innovation Grant panel of judges finally awarded funding to nine applicants. The grants totalled EUR 80,000. The grant decisions were based on a number of considerations.
Tarja Väyrynen, quality and environment director at Oulun Energia.
“It was interesting to learn about so many great projects. We assessed the projects’ creativity, impact, novelty value, and their ability to be duplicated—in addition to meeting the actual criteria, of course,” Väyrynen happily shares.
Circular economy solutions, consumption modes of operation
The sum of each individual grant varies from about a thousand euros to tens of thousands of euros. With the funding, Oulun Energia wants to support eco-friendly solutions that guide us to a more sustainable way of producing, processing, and using our natural resources and products and services.
Of the applications, projects related to sustainable development involved, for example, textile recycling, access services, and the circular economy. Product development projects sought funding for projects involving biochar, information security, air conditioning, reducing electricity consumption, eco-friendly agriculture, and electric vehicles.
New energy solutions, hydropower and solar power, and development projects related to heating services were strongly represented as themes for research and thesis projects.
The panel was positively surprised by the results of the first application period
The panel of judges evaluating the projects is composed of a wide range of experts from different sectors. Väyrynen regrets that it also had to exclude many potential projects from the funding.
“Some of them lacked a clear central theme or plausibility if the projects were still at their drawing boards. The objectives and social impact of some of the projects were also unclear to us at times: For example, the substance of a project might be described in too much detail and not from enough distance, instead of describing the broader impact,” Väyrynen muses.
“We are also clarifying our own application guidelines for the Miljöö Innovation Grant application period that starts in August 2023. We hope to receive more interesting applications at that time,” Väyrynen adds.
Applications open once a year
The next application period for the Miljöö Innovation Grant is 1 August to 30 September 2023. The grant can be awarded for various projects, research work, thesis work, product development, product commercialisation, marketing, and self-financing portions of separate projects. The applications are processed confidentially.
“We hope that this low-threshold funding will enable us to take small steps to improve our living conditions. The aim of the Miljöö Innovation Grant is to take concrete action against climate change and to promote the circular economy and biodiversity,” concludes Väyrynen.
Learn more about the Miljöö Innovation Grant and its application criteria here.