New subsidiary and business incubator turn research into business - VTT publishes annual report 2019

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VTT’s annual report 2019 is now available online. Despite intensifying competition in research funding, VTT succeeded in increasing customer sales by 8% and repatriating almost EUR 40 million of EU funding to Finland.

The year 2019 was a time of rapid development for science throughout the world and VTT. “In the public debate in 2019, particular emphasis was placed on actions to address the climate issue. According to VTT's strategy, we are looking for solutions to global challenges through applied science together with our customers and partners, and we were extremely successful in that work in 2019,” says Antti Vasara, President & CEO.

VTT is accelerating the utilisation of science and research through, for example, the VTT LaunchPad deep-tech business incubator and the new subsidiary VTT SenseWay Oy, which aims to develop autonomous mobility systems on land, at sea and in the air.

“Global challenges are wide-ranging and systemic, and solving them requires diverse cooperation. In 2019, we succeeded in expanding and launching several innovation ecosystems. For example, Smart Otaniemi, a developer of smart energy solutions, where VTT is the coordinator, has gained a lot of international interest,” says Vasara. The goal of innovation ecosystems is to bring different actors together and create sustainable, systemic solutions and, consequently, business.

Competition for research funding increases

All forms of VTT’s funding are facing increasing competition. “Our financial targets were moving in the right direction, even though we were still below target levels. Even though international research funding is highly competitive, we managed to repatriate most EU research funding in Finland,” Vasara says. VTT repatriated EUR 39.4 million of EU funding last year.

VTT's customer sales increased by 8% from 2018. There has been a systematic focus on developing customer focus and customer work. Although some projects were postponed by uncertainty in the global economy, Antti Vasara points out that startups focusing on technological development made significant RDI investments.

Investing in impact has paid off

VTT's special role as an independent and impartial, state-owned research organisation and non-profit limited liability company is to promote the use and commercialisation of research and technology in business and society. "This means that our work and research must have an impact," Antti Vasara emphasises.

VTT falls within the mandate of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy of Finland. An evaluation commissioned by the Ministry and released in early 2019, particularly praised VTT's competence. In addition, VTT's network expertise, which is considered to be of high quality and worth further investment, was highlighted, as the evaluation report found that innovation ecosystems are the best channel for VTT for business cooperation. "I recognise this fully, and I'm really proud of VTTers’ ambition and commitment. This is also reflected in the fact that in the Science Barometer survey, citizens' confidence in us was the best ever,” says Vasara.

Now, if ever, the world needs even more collaboration for a brighter future. According to Antti Vasara, VTT is well placed to do so: “The coronavirus epidemic has brought unprecedented exceptional situations, much concern and economic uncertainty to our societies. However, I trust that we will overcome this with long-term and systematic work. Addressing global challenges is now more pressing than ever and can deliver sustainable growth and wellbeing for society and business.”

We are developing our corporate responsibility

Read more about VTT’s year 2019. The annual report also includes a report of corporate responsibility in the form of a GRI table. This year we are developing our responsibility work through, for example, a materiality analysis of corporate responsibility, and we will tell you more on our website as work progresses.

A report on the tax footprint, management, salaries and remuneration as well as the financial statements (in Finnish) have been published as annexes to the annual report.

 

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Antti Vasara

Antti Vasara

President & CEO