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Urheilijat satamassa. Image Touho Häkkinen

Jyväskylä has strong research and technology expertise and a good functional platform

Jyväskylä is one of the leading centers for expertise in sports in the Northern Europe and the most significant Finnish research organizations and academic education programs are concentrated in Jyväskylä.

Exercise and health science expertise is globally recognized and of a high standard. The exercise and sports related markets are growing fast and physical activity is increasingly linked to wellness and health technology solutions. Jyväskylä has a strong research and technology expertise and a good functional platform.

Situated in Jyväskylä:

  • Viveca, Jyväskylä University's Center for Exercise and Welfare Technology, creates new operating models and transfers the skills of sports and health sciences to companies and the public and third sectors.
  • LIKES (Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health) and KIHU (Finnish Institute of High Performance Sport) are major players in combining the fields of research, technology and business.
  • The School of Health and Social Studies by JAMK University of Applied Sciences is a respected health and well-being educator.
  • Businesses are formed at the interface of expertise. For example, Firstbeat provides a technology solution based on heartrate analytics to optimize performance. The company was both founded and developed in Jyväskylä.
  • A future concentration for exercise, wellbeing and sport is being built at the heart of the city in the Hippos2020-project. 250 million euros will be invested in the development of Hippos in the coming years.

Jyväskylä has internationally high-quality expertise particularly in the following areas related to the sports business industry:

  • Biology of Physical Activity research for neuromuscular function
  • Health sciences
  • Multidisciplinary brain research
  • Health effects of exercise, aging and health promotion
  • Family Research Center

Jyväskylä is the location of the only gerontology research unit in Finland and a university-level education unit for sport research professionals. The region's distinct strength is to produce learning, exercise and welfare services and solutions based on research.

Almost all Finnish sports companies engaged in significant export have utilized the expertise of the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences of the University of Jyväskylä or JAMK University of Applied Sciences. The University's Educational Sciences, Sport and Health Sciences, Information Technology, Humanities and Brain Research are constantly attracting the field’s top researchers to Jyväskylä. KIHU, Finnish Institute of High Performance Sport, and LIKES, Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health, are working together with the Olympic Committee’s Elite Sports Unit in Jyväskylä, which regularly attracts the industry’s top individuals to the city.

Jyväskylä is a competence center for sports business and research, which enables:

  • New business ideas based on co-development
  • New product, service and business concepts that utilize research data together with national and international partner network.
  • Competitive tools and networks for building and growing new businesses.

Hippos, an international-level center for exercise, sport and well-being creates a great framework and network for developing new innovations. Read more about the development of Hippos.

Examples of companies offering innovative concepts in Jyväskylä:

  • Firstbeat Oy: Offers individual wellbeing analysis’s based on heart rate measurements, accurate calculations of  energy consumption
  • Salivirta Oy / Salivirta & Partners: solutions for healthcare information systems
  • Humap Oy: developing well-being at work from a management perspective
  • Emfit Oy: Care safety devices for both elderly and memory patients (Electronic films for tracking movement and falls)
  • Smartum Oy: Means of payment focused for personnel wellbeing (the first company to introduce sports vouchers and sports and cultural vouchers), a major national actor and pioneer
  • Mobra Finland Oy: provides companies with planning, coordination and implementation of an exercise program to promote employee well-being. In addition to thematic courses, sports ensembles, sport orientations and group sports lessons, Mobra also offers nutrition advice and guidance, for example.
  • MinSim Oy: provides health care simulation trainings, which means replicating patient situations in learning for professionals and students. The trainings use patient or operation simulators or other training models.
  • Hidden Factor: provides comprehensive body and mind training to promote well-being. Individual and group training provided with dedicated expertise.
  • Iwello: An expert company based in Jyväskylä, which focuses on strategic management of well-being at work and welfare services for businesses and individuals.


GeroCenter is a research and development center focusing on the promotion of functional ability and well-being of the aging population. Gerocenter’s task is to develop procedure models based on new data and rehabilitation perspectives for rehabilitation, treatment and care work, and to prevent functional impairment.


  • Produces and products models of good activity for disability and disease prevention, work ability maintenance, rehabilitation and both treatment and care work.
  • Develop and productize multidisciplinary performance assessment and measurement methods and produce them for the aging and elderly people and for service organizations
  • Develops and evaluates welfare technology utilities
  • Plans recommendations and programs to promote the individual and participatory way of life and quality of life for the aging and elderly people.
  • Provides training and consultation in line with the foundation’s purpose
  • Cooperates with regional, national and international research and development units and service organizations

LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health

The purpose of the LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health is to promote physical activity and public health and to support research in these fields. To fulfill this purpose, the foundation maintains the LIKES Research Center. The mission of LIKES is that the Finns move sufficiently enough. LIKES 'core business is to conduct multidisciplinary, internationally respected research, coordinate national sports promotion programs (Schools on the Move and Fit for Life) and to provide expert services.

LIKES carries out multidisciplinary research on exercise, health and well-being. The researches strategic choices are children and young people. Particular attention is paid to people with low mobility.

KIHU – Finnish Institute of High Performance Sport

Finnish Institute of High Performance Sport (KIHU) is a unique unit even on international scale. KIHU acts as a leader in information, promoting the production, sharing and utilization of knowledge. KIHU leads the Finnish Olympic Committee's Competence Program. The aim of this program is to promote high-level expertise in Finnish sports. Administratively, KIHU is divided into Biosciences, Social Sciences, Behavioral Sciences and Healthcare units. In addition, KIHU is responsible for the operations of Sports Lab Jyväskylä, which specializes in test and control services. Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences and the University of Jyväskylä are the institutes partners.

KIHU has international top-expertise in combining research, development and expertise in sport. KIHU operates in various networks, leading and coordinating the operation of these networks. Participating expertise helps to create, develop, and distribute new knowledge and expertise for athletes, coaches, sports organizations and sports clubs. Promotion of expertise takes place on the entire length of the athlete's path.

In top-level sport, KIHU's experts support coaching processes, and in children's and youth's sports activities focus on studying different phenomena. An important task of KIHU is to acquire, edit and convey information on Finnish sports. KIHU has top expertise in acting as an information interpreter. There is also strong expertise in evaluation and monitoring. Among other things, various evaluations, surveys and systematic gathering of information, as well as international comparisons of sports systems are examples of activities in which KIHU has top expertise.

More information:

Hippos ecosystem and business development: 
Nina Rautiainen
Project manager, Hippos ecosystem development and communications
Tel. 050 413 7028, nina.rautiainen[at]