As in other industrialized countries, research is organized in different types of institutions. The most important are universities and colleges, public institutes and laboratories in business enterprises. The total research and development expenditure accounted for 3.5% of the gross domestic product in 2002, which is significantly more than for Norway in relation to the population. The Finnish investment in research and development has grown strongly. The total research expenditure is distributed by 40% in the public sector and 55% in the business sector.
The top research policy body is the Swedish Science Council, which is the prime minister. The Council prepares, inter alia, three-year plans of a relatively binding nature. Within these limits, the ministries have considerable sector responsibility. Finland has three major funding bodies for research and technology development. Academy of Finland is an umbrella organization for four research councils for science and technology, culture and society, life sciences and environment, health; also the Technology Development Center (Tekes) under the Ministry of Industry and the Research and Development Fund (Sitra) linked to the Riksdag.
Research is carried out at 20 institutions with university status, of which the University of Helsinki is the largest and oldest. The State Technical Research Center ( Valtion technillinen tutkimuskeskus, VTT ) with its headquarters in Espoo is a large institute of applied research in technology that serves the business sector in particular. In the business sector, extensive research and development work is conducted in several areas. Among the high-tech companies, Nokia electronics company has an advanced place.