As Covid-19 has plunged the world into a health and economic crisis, we need to solve systemic problems and thus be able to create new growth. At this historic juncture, decision makers are investing in stimulus packages to help existing industries and structures recover, but in addition to that, European countries should also direct funds into new technology fields that are already starting to show potential.
VTT’s President and CEO Antti Vasara names five fields which help provide solutions to the challenges confronting humanity, and at the same time create prosperity, new jobs and sustainable growth through knowledge and innovation. He proposes that we focus on these “areas of exponential hope”, and place them at the heart of national and European innovation policy. This means that we will begin to systematically and decisively develop innovations and new business activity in these sectors.
The areas of exponential hope include:
• Biotechnology in food production
• Quantum technology
• Small nuclear reactors
• Chemical plastics recycling
• Optimising the use of material
“Fighting climate change, conserving biodiversity and the post-Covid-19 recovery of the global economy require new solutions. We need to invest in sectors that allow for fundamental change and exponential growth. We can’t go back to the old way of doing things,” says Antti Vasara.
Exponential means that the sector enables fundamental change and exponential growth. Each sector is based on technologies which transform systems to create leaps in productivity and sustainability.
“We need disruptive technologies to solve systemic problems and create new growth sectors. By hope, I mean that the industry can help solve global problems while giving rise to new high-growth areas of competence in Finland and in Europe in general, because we have specific strengths in creating innovation in these sectors. This will instill hope and a positive outlook in people,” Vasara explains.
Science, technology and innovation will open up numerous paths for us, as long as we dare to walk them. It is time to act.
For Antti Vasara’s interviews and additional information on VTT's communications:
Leena Rantasalo, tel. +358 (0)50 3007980