Sustainable growth, climate responsibility, competitiveness, technology infrastructures and funding were some of the most frequently heard words throughout the sessions of the annual conference of EARTO – the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations. The meeting gathered altogether 200 European research leaders on 19-21 March at Dipoli, Espoo.
The conference was hosted by Antti Vasara VTT's CEO and the newly appointed EARTO President. - We need to be resolutely long-term oriented, with a strong focus on collaboration. By pooling our key resources together we can do the things that really matter, said Vasara.
Constraints can be a driver for innovation, such as lack of resources, reminded Kai Mykkänen, Minister of the Interior Finland. Hundred years ago Finland was one of the poorest nations. Finland's tactic in building success has been education, industrialisation and knowledge-based welfare economy.
Jyrki Katainen, Vice President for EU Commission, sent his video greetings, and said:
- We need to support technology in Europe. Industry is changing and we need a joint co-creation process on a global scale to foster growth, jobs and competiveness.
Markku Markkula, First Vice President, European Committee of the Regions pointed out that regions and cities need to change and take more responsibility. He brought up an example: Helsinki region today is a hotspot for innovations with talents. It has succeeded in building favourable conditions for business.
Ilona Lundström from the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment reminded that all sectors, public and private, are needed for innovation and that regulation needs to be developed to create the framework conditions for innovation.
Henrik Ehrnrooth from Pöyry said that everything must change to become sustainable. According to him sustainable business is a profitable one:
- We need to price emissions. That would finance the shift into a new sustainable society.
The participants also heard insights and practices on RTO models around the globe: from Canada, Singapore, Taiwan, Latin-America, Australia and Korea.
Kurt Vandenberghe, Director Policy Development and Coordination, European Commission Directorate General Research & Innovation, brought good news about the EU Horizon Europe Programme:
- An agreement was reached this morning, and implementing of the programme is now starting. We should do better during the next programme. The EU is expecting to hear about societal and economic impacts of project portfolios – not just on the impacts of a single project. New Partnerships have a key role here.
VTT presented a few of its R&D&I projects for the EARTO participants during the breaks of the meeting: LuxTurrim5G, SniffPhone.eu, Bio-based raw-materials replacing fossil ones; Smart Otaniemi ecosystem and 3DMetalPrint.
EARTO's promotes the views of RTO's in EU
Founded in 1999, the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations EARTO is a non-profit association representing European research and technology organisations (RTOs) and their interests. EARTO has more than 350 member RTOs in over 20 countries, which in total employ approximately 150 000 people.
EARTO members have built close collaboration with EU policy-makers, and EARTO members have seats in EU advisory bodies shaping the future of EU R&I and Industrial policy: High Level Groups on Industry 2030, Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI), Support to Circular Economy Financing, Artificial Intelligence and the Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP).
EARTO appointed VTT's CEO Antti Vasara as President of EARTO for the next three years on 19th March.
Several VTT'ers are active in EARTO Working Groups: Policy Groups for Framework Programmes, Legal Experts, Financial Experts, Structural Funds and Impact, as well Technology Oriented Groups on Security Research, MedTech and Space Research. EARTO Annual Conference 2019