Alongside teaching, research, development and innovation work (RDI work) is the second basic task of the university of applied sciences. The aim of the RDI work conducted at Oulu UAS is to support the development of the Oulu region and the whole of northern Finland by providing a new competent workforce, by supporting business activities, by developing innovation activities and by increasing international interaction. RDI work is steered by the focus areas and development targets defined in the Oulu UAS strategy 2015.
Oulu UAS is an active key innovation system actor in its area. In addition to the strategy, Oulu UAS's RDI work is steered by the strategic alliance, Oulu Innovation Alliance, formed in 2009 by the City of Oulu, the University of Oulu, the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and Technopolis Plc. The aim of the Innovation Alliance is to keep Oulu internationally recognised as an innovation cluster. Like the other founding members, Oulu UAS is committed to focusing its activities on the agreed upon areas of innovation, investing in agreed upon infrastructures and developing mechanisms for the joint use of the alliance. The focus areas are Internet research (CIE), printed electronics (PrintoCent) and international business (MAIGBE).