Working at VTT means being ahead of the curve and building competitive ability by bringing new technologies and solutions from laboratories to product lines.
For VTT’s employees, it is a way of life and an opportunity for adventures in a creative, international research environment.
Research Scientist Lauri Reuter is a member of VTT’s plant biotechnology and metabolomics team.
“Right now, the hottest topic in my research area is synthetic biology. New genome editing tools, more advanced modelling methods and increased knowledge of genomes have dramatically changed the thinking in this area,” he says.
According to Reuter, up to now, bioinformatics and genetic engineering have largely been based on trial and error – and a lot of manual work. Today’s genetics are approaching engineering sciences.
“It is possible to use genetic building blocks in a modular way, and effective standards are currently being developed. Modelling and robotics enable the engineering of completely new qualities quickly and in a controlled way in existing organisms – and even the engineering of new-to-nature biological systems!”
VTT’s plant biotechnology and metabolomics team is currently wrapping up a four-year research project for the Academy of Finland on the production of hydrophobin-assisted protein production in plants and genetically modified plant cell cultures.
“VTT has done extensive research in hydrophobins, and for good reason. These small proteins have many intriguing properties that have a variety of applications in food industry, nano-particles and materials technologies. We have coupled these properties of hydrophobins to activities of other proteins with very exciting results.”
It is the sense of adventure that appeals to Lauri Reuter in his work. A new idea may strike in the laboratory, at a seminar or even during après-ski, and pursuing it may take the work to a completely new direction.
“VTT provides an excellent framework for creative academic adventures. VTT Young Professionals is a great network for finding contacts and making plans for the future; at best, new ideas are driven by a multi-disciplinary group of professionals. The organisation has also been very supportive of testing fresh ideas. In research work, you never quite know where you are going to end up, which is a great thing!”
Scientific expertise as an export item
Business Development Manager Denis Sevelev works in VTT’s business area of Smart Industry and Energy Systems integration research area.
“VTT is known for solid expertise in the areas of nuclear safety and spent nuclear fuel. It is time to start marketing our scientific research to the export markets,” Sevelev says.
“My role is to help our scientists to find new international customers and help VTT provide an offering that meets the most urgent customer needs. It requires communication with both the external and internal customers, the latter being VTT’s research scientist, who are the value creators at VTT,” he explains.
“My work is an interesting and lively mix of opportunities, challenges, frontiers and regulations, with a touch of VTT’s passion for going deeper into the matter under research. Competition in the nuclear markets is intense and price often makes or breaks the deal. It is challenging to find a balance between profitability and the added-value of our offering.”
Sevelev finds working with professional researchers very fascinating. VTT not only provides opportunities for interaction with both experienced researchers and bright young minds, but also brings together people from very diverse cultural backgrounds.
“The range of views and broad-minded attitudes is a great learning opportunity. It does always motivate me,” Sevelev says.
5G is coming!
Tauno Vähä-Heikkilä is the Director of Millilab and leader of VTT’s antennas and RF technologies team.
One of the main areas in this field, both in Finland and abroad, is the development of fifth-generation (5G) wireless communication systems. Data volumes in networks have grown significantly in the past few years, and this development is expected to continue at an increasing pace. User numbers will also grow as an increasing number of devices is connected to the internet.
We need new technical solutions to transfer all this data. In terms of radio technologies, this means, for example, utilisation of higher frequency bands. Frequency bands will be allocated globally in 2017 and 2019, which sets a schedule for the implementation of 5G systems.
“At VTT, we have developed components and systems for millimetre waves (30 to 300 GHz) for space, security and industrial applications since the 1990s. In recent years, we have leveraged this special expertise in the development of 5G millimetre wave range components, antennas, modules and subsystems. We have worked with customers and partners to develop radio prototypes for 5G millimetre radio waves. These can achieve data transfer speeds multiple times higher than today’s 4G smartphones,” Vähä-Heikkilä explains.
“The future objective is to be able to transfer gigabytes in seconds with smartphones or other portable devices.”
Vähä-Heikkilä is fascinated by the versatile and international nature of his work.
“We are involved in everything and anything under the sun – or more accurately, on earth and space. It is interesting to work together with customers to develop their future products.”
Lauri Reuter (MSc) graduated from Wagenigen University in the Netherlands in 2012. He works as a research scientist in VTT’s plant biotechnology and metabolomics team, and is currently preparing his doctoral thesis on hydrophobin-assisted protein production in plant cell cultures.
Denis Sevelev (MSc) is a Master of Technology and started working in the IT sector after graduating from the Moscow Institute of Electronic Engineering (MIET) in 1997. He joined VTT in 2015 and is responsible for the business development of VTT’s nuclear energy business line.
Tauno Vähä-Heikkilä (DTech) is the Director of Millilab and leads VTT’s antennas and RF technologies team. MilliLab is the ESA External Laboratory of Millimetre Wave Technology.