Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd will set up a competence center for materials bioeconomy called CERES to develop new materials for securing a sustainable future.
The Academy of Finland's new research funding programme has allocated CERES competence center several million euros for the next few years. The funding decision is based on international panel evaluations.
CERES will develop new materials for packaging, advanced textiles and separation systems, as well as for semiconductors, composites and solutions for energy harvesting and storage. For this, plant-based biomass such as lignosellulose will be used to go beyond the materials produced from fossil carbon. Lignocellulose is thus the future plastics and much beyond.
The interactions of materials will be tailored through different processes, which will be predicted by modelling. New types of materials produced from renewable resources will address some of the global challenges such as resource sufficiency, climate change and quality of life.
The Finnish forest industry regards the bioeconomy as an important part of its reform. CERES brings together Aalto University and VTT's research communities, industry and national and international research networks. The development of the activities will be supported by Aalto University and VTT's advanced infrastructure and instrumentation, which goes from laboratory to demonstration scale.
Long-term research results in new products, employment and a sustainable future
The objective of Finland's national bioeconomy strategy is to create 100 000 new jobs in the country and increase the bioeconomy output by 40 billion euros by 2025. This requires fast new openings in the international market, which CERES strives to support.
"Aalto University and VTT's profiles perfectly complement each other, and our long-term strategic cooperation creates exceptionally strong and diverse competence cluster", says Aalto University President Ilkka Niemelä. "We highly appreciate the Academy of Finland's flagship funding, as it enables long-term cooperation in cutting-edge research of international importance. CERES competence cluster benefits the Finnish society by increasing competitiveness, new innovations and jobs and produces at the same time new innovative solutions to the global challenges of sustainability", he continues.
"Finland has very ambitious goals in the bioeconomy and climate control. VTT estimates that the production value of our forest industry can be doubled from the current level by 2050 while also achieving climate targets if we focus on high added value products. The development of these products requires long-term research. We highly appreciate that the Academy of Finland has paid attention to the project's immediate societal influence in addition to its high scientific standards when granting the funding. The cooperation between Aalto University and VTT in the CERES competence center will create a unique base for new innovations in the bioeconomy", says VTT President and CEO Antti Vasara.
Academy of Finland selects first two competence clusters to the new Flagship Programme: https://www.aka.fi/en/about-us/whats-new/press-releases/2018/academy-of-finland-selects-first-two-competence-clusters-to-the-new-flagship-programme/
Bioeconomy infrastructure: http://www.bioeconomyinfra.fi/