The RDI targets of the Government Programme create excellent opportunities for sustainable growth in Finland – now it is crucial to proceed quickly

Blog post
Antti Vasara

Government negotiators have been tasked with the challenge of how Finland's welfare will be safeguarded in the future: how to balance the economy and promote new growth engines. The Government Programme recognises that co-operation between research and industry supports the economic impact of RDI funding on the national economy. Co-operation makes it possible to create new solutions to global challenges based on science and research. This creates an excellent starting point. Next, we need to rapidly implement the objectives outlined in the Government Programme.

Finland's economy will start growing with scientific breakthroughs and related innovations. The clean transition is an important opportunity for Finland. However, global challenges and balancing public finances require significant RDI investments. In practice, how can we ensure the greatest impact from Finland's RDI system? We can achieve this when public funding encourages companies to increase their investments in Finland, and research actors and companies increase their co-operation. The Government Programme provides good tools for achieving these objectives.

Commitment to the 4 per cent RDI target is an important message for both the research field and industry. According to the Government Programme, the impact of RDI funding on the national economy will be increased by emphasising funding allocated to co-operation between research and industry and by funding joint RDI infrastructures. This is excellent. In addition to strong expertise and research, Finland needs an effective follow-up path to transform expertise into innovations, i.e. a bridge between more academic basic research and the commercialisation of research results. In addition to RDI investments, the availability of the necessary experts must also be ensured through education and by attracting foreign workforce.

The Government now has an excellent opportunity to build the world's most ambitious RDI system. 

There are also other good RDI targets and ideas in the Government Programme. Additional RDI funding will be allocated to e.g. research institutes and competitive funding, in line with the recommendations of the Parliamentary Working Group on Research, Development and Innovation (RDI). EU programmes are increasingly important enablers and networkers of research and innovations. It is great that the Government Programme identifies the potential of EU funding programmes and sets the goal of doubling the EU's RDI funding to Finland.

The Government Programme also contains numerous references to different technologies and their development. Among other things, the Government will secure the preconditions for the extensive utilisation and development of quantum computing, which will be a major driver of change in all industries. It can be harnessed, for example, in pharmaceutical development and modelling different materials. With right actions, we can build Finland into one of Europe's most important quantum centres.

The Government now has an excellent opportunity to build the world's most ambitious RDI system. In addition to the targets of the Government Programme, it requires that Finland make bold strategic choices and invest in strong centres of expertise and the most promising areas of technology expertise in which Finland has globally unique competence. Examples of such areas include wireless data networks (5G/6G), artificial intelligence, quantum technology and microelectronics, biotechnology and new materials, as well as the electrification of society. In all of these areas, Finland has special expertise and the ability to offer solutions to global markets.

We at VTT have already rolled up our sleeves! Early this year, we launched five new research investments for the next three years. The idea is to promote achievement of climate objectives, resource wisdom and security of supply, and accelerate the renewal of companies and competitiveness. We also promote a national initiative to build a piloting environment for microelectronics and quantum technology.

Antti Vasara
Antti Vasara
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