VTT Excellence Advisory Board

Excellence Advisory Board (EAB) advises VTT's leadership in the long-term strategy both in driving the strategic content area focus, and in world-class competence development in research, technology and innovation including innovation process excellence.

Excellence Advisory Board is tasked with ensuring that VTT works on relevant challenges with a proper long-term strategic view, bringing international and external “outside-in” perspective that allows the priorities and strategies to be challenged.

In addition to the content aspect, EAB assists VTT in building, retaining and developing relevant world class competences in selected science, technology and innovation areas. In the spirit of Open Innovation, the members of EAB are also expected to assist with pointing out relevant links to external research, technology and innovation, as well as supporting VTT's teams in strategic “road-mapping” to identify potential new future areas of excellence.

EAB consists of 8 international high profile innovation leaders with science and/or advanced technology backgrounds as well as leadership experience in these domains. EAB members are elected for a 3-year term. The board has significant experience both in academia as well as working or collaborating with industries relevant to VTT research areas. EAB has a balanced representation of the scientific disciplines related to VTT strategic areas, and is chaired by an external (non-VTT) person that also supports the VTT team in EAB development.

VTT Excellence advisory board group photo

Akira Isogai

Professor of Bionanomaterials and Cellulose Science at the University of Tokyo, Japan

Over the years, Professor Akira has served at University of Tokyo as an adviser to President, adviser to Dean, head of department, and as head of graduate school. He is Cooperation Member of Japan Science Council, president of Japan Nanocellulose Forum (170+ industrial members), as well as president and member of several science societies. He is an internationally highly respected researcher in the area of bio-based materials, in particular cellulose and nanocellulose research. His research extends from basic to applied research and in particular his nanocellulose research has been adopted by industry: the TEMPO-nanocellulose technology being in use in a 500 ton/a demonstration plant of Nippon Paper Industries.

Professor Isogai has published 350 peer-reviewed articles and 132 patents and patent applications. He's a holder of prestigious international awards (Marcus Wallenberg Award, from Wallenberg Foundation, Sweden (2015), Anselme Payen Award, from American Chemical Society (2015)) as well as numerous science and innovation awards from Japanese associations and industry (e.g. Honda Prize 2016). He is honourable Doctor of Science in Technology from Aalto University, Finland.

Fatih Birol

Executive Director of IEA, International Energy Agency, France

Fatih Birol became the Executive Director of the IEA on 1 September 2015. Dr. Birol has been named by Forbes magazine among the most powerful people in terms of influence on the world's energy scene. He is the Chairman of the World Economic Forum's (Davos) Energy Advisory Board and serves as a member of the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Board on 'Sustainable Energy for All'. He is also the recipient of numerous awards from government, industry and academia.

Fatih Birol was previously the IEA Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics, with responsibilities that included directing the Agency's flagship World Energy Outlook publication, which is recognized as the most authoritative source of strategic analysis of global energy markets. He is also the founder and chair of the IEA Energy Business Council, which provides a forum to enhance co-operation between the energy industry and energy policy makers.

Doug Cameron

Senior Managing Director at U.S.-China Green Fund, Minneapolis, US

Doug Cameron is the Managing Director of First Green Partners, an early-stage venture investment company and of Alberti Advisors. The company is focused on innovation and education. Doug Cameron has significant experience in both research and business in biomarkets through his positions as professor of chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, director of biotechnology and chief scientist at Cargill, CSO of Koshla Ventures, CEO and board member of several start-ups and as CSO and an investment banker at Piper Jaffray. He is a board director for several start-up companies and is on the advisory board of the AgTech Accelerator in the Research Triangle Park (North Carolina).

Doug Cameron is a recipient of the Raphael Katzen Award and a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the Society of Industrial Microbiology, and the American Society for the Advancement of Science. B.S.E. in biomedical engineering from Duke University and a Ph.D. in biochemical engineering from M.I.T.

Dirk Inzé

Science Director at VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, Belgium

Professor Inzé is biologist and professor at the University of Gent, INRA's part-time Reasearch Director. He is founder of the extremely successful spin-off company CropDesign, which was acquisitioned by BASF in 2005. Dirk Inzé is EMBO fellow, member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts and member of various advisory boards for universities and companies. He is chair of Science Europe, Life Science, significant in the field of science policy, since year 2012.  He has published 482 scientific articles, H-index 116, and the amount of references is 45 000. He's third in the world for the number of publications and seventh in the amount of citations in publications (in the field of nature studies). He has received numerous awards, i.a. Francqui Prize (award for biology and medicine) in 2005 and is the current recipient of a highly distinguished award for agriculture and life sciences.

Maria Luisa Rastello

Scientific Director of INRIM, Italian National Metrology Institute, Italy (Retired)

Since 2016, Dr. Rastello has been a member of the European Commission Expert Group on Quantum Technology Flagship – High Level Steering Committee (HLSC). Also since 2016, she has been the Vice President (General Assembly) of EURAMET and in 2013–2016 she was a member of the EURAMET Board of Directors. In 2003-2006, Dr Rastello chaired the EURAMET Technical Committee on Photometry and Radiometry (TC-PR) and contributed to the Strategic Planning and Roadmapping within the European Metrology Research Programme.

Dr. Rastello has long-standing experience of metrology, mainly in areas congruent with the Consultative Commission of Photometry and Radiometry (CCPR). Her research interests are concerned with the metrology of optical radiation, the realization of the SI units, the absolute characterization of photo-detectors and radiation sources, and quantum optics. She pioneered metrology for Quantum Communications by weak laser beams, and the photon counting techniques for absolute radiometry. She also introduced the concept and contributed to the realization of photon-number resolving detectors for space applications.

Stephen Vargo

Shidler Distinguished Professor and Professor of Marketing, University of Hawaii, Hawaiian Islands, US

Mr. Vargo has held visiting positions at the University of Maryland, College Park the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Auckland. Prior to entering academics, he had a career in entrepreneurial business and has consulted for a variety of major national, regional, and local corporations and governmental agencies. Professor Vargo's primary areas of research are marketing theory and thought, service dominant logic and consumers' evaluative reference scales.

Heidi Fagerholm

Head of Early Research and Business Development, Performance Materials, Merck, Germany

Heidi Fagerholm is a Head of the Advanced Technologies business unit within the Performance Materials business sector of Merck KGaA, which is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.

Before Merck Heidi Fagerholm was Chief Technology Officer and member of the Management Board of Kemira where she served in various leadership and executive management roles. In this capacity, she led Kemira's global R&D and Technology function, including more than 250 scientists and professionals based at three global R&D centers in Espoo, Finland, Atlanta, Georgia (USA), and Shanghai, China. She has a Masters and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Åbo Akademi University in Finland.


Henry Tirri

Chief Technology Officer, Executive Vice President at InterDigital, New York, US

Dr. Henry Tirri, the EAB chair, is a technology executive with deep experience in a variety of technology areas, including areas of increasing relevance to mobile such as artificial intelligence, automotive and data analytics, among others.

In May 2018, Henry Tirri joined InterDigital as Chief Technology Officer. He leads the company's technology vision and strategy, including the evolution of the company's technology road map. Working closely with other executives, Dr. Tirri partners with internal R&D efforts, external investments and corporate development in executing the company's technology vision.

Dr. Tirri was formerly Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Harman International Industries (HARMAN). Prior to HARMAN, Dr. Tirri occupied a variety of roles over more than a decade at Nokia, including Executive Vice President and Head of Technologies Business, Chief Technology Officer, and Senior Vice President and Head of the Nokia Research Center.

Henry Tirri holds a PhD in computer science from University of Helsinki, has held professorships at University of Helsinki, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, and Aalto University, and is a Fellow of the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT).