According to ETLA, the region could also develop into a gateway between Russia and the EU in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The University of Eastern Finland and Savonia University of Applied Sciences offer an excellent base for research and training, with specialist R&D units in pharmaceutical product development, biotechnology, diagnostics and imaging. The city of Kuopio also hosts the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea. ETLA also sees great potential in increasing overall trade and cooperation with Russia, as well as tourism.
ETLA is the leading private non-profit economic research organisation in Finland and its report was commissioned by the Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo and the region's Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.