Business Finland has granted VTT one million euros in funding for the construction of a security classified research environment for communication systems. The new research space meets the needs of the defence and security industry in particular, and it is suitable for developing new types of data transfer technologies such as data links.
The research environment will serve industrial research related to critical infrastructures, and defence and security communication systems. Data link solutions are used for reliable situational awareness sharing, for example, between fighters, surveillance aircrafts and unmanned aircrafts.
The research environment promotes the digitalisation of companies and society, as well as Finland's export opportunities and technological sovereignty.
‘There are currently relatively few research facilities in Finland where classified research and testing can be carried out. The new research environment will serve the needs of both Finnish and European companies as widely as possible, and it will also facilitate the research and product development of innovative SMEs operating outside the defence sector. By utilising the new research infrastructure, companies can avoid expensive investments in special equipment required for research and testing,’ says Sauli Eloranta, Vice President of the Safe and Connected Society research area.
With the help of the investment, VTT will update the outfitting of its current research facility to serve security classified research in communication systems in particular. The activities are supported by VTT's other research infrastructure such as the 5G test network, satellite communication systems, cybersecurity testing environment, microelectronics manufacturing environment and, in the future, research infrastructure related to 6G and quantum communication. In the starting research environment construction project, the security classification capabilities of the currently used facilities will be developed to meet, for example, the demands of defence industry research. Companies can start utilising the new research environment starting next year. The aim is to have the facilities ready in 2025.
Easier access to defence and security markets
This autumn, Finland has launched a Digital Defence ecosystem focusing on digital defence.
‘The development of data transfer systems is seen as one of the strong development areas of the ecosystem. VTT's investment in the research infrastructure related to systems supports ecosystem companies and facilitates the entry of new actors into the defence and security markets,’ says Jarmo Puputti, coordinator of the ecosystem.
More information about the project: The construction project of the research facility will begin in 2023 and it is expected to be completed in 2025. However, the research space can already be used in 2023. The funding of the project is part of the NextGenerationEU Recovery and Resilience Facility and Finland's Sustainable Growth Programme, which aims to accelerate the development of competitiveness, investment, increase in skills levels and research, development and innovation. The specific targets of the plan are to promote the green and digital transitions.