The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending 45 million euro to Finland for the expansion of the three science parks. The loan is provided under the EIB's innovation initiative (i2i) and will be used to construct and refurbish laboratory and research premises, located in three science parks in Oulu and the Helsinki area. '[T]he projects are consistent with the criteria for investments under the EIB's Innovation Initiative, i2i, where the bank recently extended its initial support beyond 2003 and made it a priority for its lending until 2010,'explained Sauli Niinistö, EIB Vice-President. All three parks are qualified as national centres of expertise and are currently being leased by a private firm, Technopolis, to research intensive companies, as well as research institutes such as the VTT technical research centre of Finland, and higher education institutes such as Espoo-Vantaa Polytechnic. It is hoped that their refurbishment will further strengthen Finland's position as one of the EU's leading strongholds for research and development. 'In the [...] case of the science parks, the EIB is pleased to support a project that will enhance long-term cooperation among public and private actors,' said Mr Niinistö.