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New joint research by VTT and Aalto University aimed at accelerating Finnish economic development



Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland are to further increase the work they do together and focus on four research areas of major importance to Finland’s future: the bioeconomy, energy, ICT, and micro- and nanotechnology. The partners have signed a collaboration agreement aimed at making extensive new research projects in these areas at Otaniemi a catalyst for future economic growth in Finland.

Aalto University and VTT have an extensive range of complementary expertise with the potential for being combined to significantly enhance Finland’s competitiveness and future success. The new agreement sets common goals for the partners in the four focus areas that have been selected, and is intended to act as the foundation for a vision covering future research needs.

The partnership will be extended to develop new ways of working together to commercialise research results and promote entrepreneurship. The aim is also to increase the number of joint research programmes, professorships, and equipment purchases made by the two organisations, and to take part jointly in national and international research networks.

The research fields covered by the agreement – the bioeconomy, energy, ICT, and micro- and nanotechnology – have been chosen because of the extensive and complementary expertise that the partners have in these areas and the long history of cooperation between them.

One of the new initiatives in the bioeconomy area is a project in which researchers, designers, and students will work together to develop new success stories based on lignocellulose. By combining developing technologies and design, the goal will be to create future branded products, particularly textiles and new types of consumer products. The Design-Driven World of Cellulose project has recently received major funding from Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation to develop the use of lignocellulose and a completely new industrial ecosystem built around it. The Tampere University of Technology is also part of the project. UPM, Aalto University, and VTT have previously worked together in the bioeconomic area through the Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies and research programmes coordinated by the Finnish Bioeconomy Cluster FIBIC Oy.

In the area of micro- and nanotechnology, collaboration between VTT and Aalto University has concentrated on the Micronova Centre for Micro and Nanotechnology, which they jointly manage. ICT collaboration has taken place through initiatives such as the Finnish node of EIT ICT Labs that Nokia, Aalto University, and VTT launched a couple of years ago. In the energy sector, collaboration has focused on nuclear energy and nuclear safety and bioenergy.