The year 2018 was a successful one for VTT particularly in terms of the impact of research and customer operations. The financial situation also improved, even though the comparable operating result showed a slight loss.
In the 2018 financial year, the net turnover of the VTT parent company increased by 4.3% but that of the VTT Group declined due to the divestment of subsidiaries. For the same reason, the result for the financial year showed a profit for both the parent company and the Group (parent company EUR 15.5 million, Group EUR 13.5 million).
"VTT had a successful year. We launched several innovation ecosystems and turned our result for the financial year to positive track despite the challenging situation in RDI funding. Because VTT is a non-profit company, our purpose is not to make money for our owners but to reinvest profits in research. Having said that, our operations must of course be profitable," says CEO Antti Vasara, explaining VTT's position.
Growth through EU funding and commissioned projects
The comparable operating result before special items and not including the proceeds from the divestment of the subsidiaries, shows a slight loss (parent company EUR -1.8 million, Group EUR -2.4 million). "Although we did not yet achieve a neutral result or show an operating profit, I am really pleased at how our finances have evolved," says Vasara. "The parent company's net turnover growth was largely due to EU funding and commercial operations: customer revenue grew by 12% on the previous year. Between 2014 and 2018, VTT received a total of EUR 134 million from the world's largest research funding programme, the Horizon 2020 European Funding Programme. The share of VTT equals approximately 17% of all the H2020 funding granted to Finland," says Vasara.
At the end of the financial year, VTT Group consisted of the parent company and three subsidiaries: VTT Memsfab Ltd, VTT Ventures Ltd and VTT International Ltd. VTT sold its commercial testing, inspection and certification service businesses VTT Expert Services Ltd and Labtium Ltd to Eurofins Scientific Group on 31 May 2018, as these kinds of commercial operations are not compatible with VTT's strategic mission to promote innovation through science and technology. VTT Expert Services Ltd and Labtium Ltd are included in the consolidated figures until the day of the sale.
VTT's mission is to build success for companies and for society
A stable financial situation is a prerequisite for VTT being able to carry out its basic mission: to help companies and society at large to prosper and to renew through applied research. VTT prospers when its customers prosper.
In 2018, the people at VTT worked for a total of 1,510 customers. The majority of these customers (1,290) were from the private sector, both Finnish and foreign. A customer impact survey commissioned from a third party shows that 94% of VTT customers report that their knowledge base and competence had improved due to VTT cooperation.
"In addition to customer projects, innovation ecosystems are an excellent tool for corporate cooperation," says Antti Vasara. "In 2018, we launched eight new innovation ecosystems, which is a good achievement. Significant business-led partnership networks have already emerged around these innovation ecosystems, which are striving to turn research findings and innovations into international business in close cooperation with researchers."
Vasara further notes that in a world where both challenges and competition are global in nature, one can never be satisfied with what it has. So, VTT must be even clearer and more active in telling people about impact, for instance. "We also have to ensure that our operations and expertise remain excellent under all circumstances. We will be paying special attention to how actively our researchers publish in scientific journals, for instance."
"We have a strong national mandate, but we operate globally," says Antti Vasara. "Our task is to resolve global challenges and to turn them into business growth opportunities for our customers and thereby into wellbeing for society at large. We are happy to continue building on our successes and to continue engaging VTT employees and customers in collaboration."
VTT is a Finnish non-profit limited liability company owned by the state operating under the ownership steering of the Ministry of Employment and Economic Affairs. VTT is an independent and impartial research organization whose particular mission is to promote the wide-ranging utilisation and commercialisation of research and technology in industry, commerce, and society.
Information on VTT's impact:
In order to achieve better visibility for its social and customer impact, VTT has begun to compile impact stories. These success stories describe benefits fostered by VTT over a longer period of time in areas such as printed electronics. These impact stories can be found on the VTT website.