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VTT yesterday and today

VTT Review 2016

75 years of results from technology

From the outset, VTT has partnered with the private sector in developing new technological solutions and has provided information in support of societal decision-making. Its research findings have been used in all fields of technology. They have also provided a springboard for spin-off businesses.

The 1940s

When VTT began operating in 1942, it focused on material research and testing. VTT developed products such as non-combustible roofing felt and wood materials for the army. In the years just after the war, VTT’s food research mainly involved the quality monitoring of foodstuffs.

The 1950s

There was an increasing need for research and testing in industry. By the mid-1950s, VTT was already performing over 6,000 tests to order. It studied new, replacement building materials in its Civil Engineering Laboratory. VTT expanded its operations to engage increasingly in scientific research as well as testing.

The 1960s

VTT became Finland's largest research institute in this decade. It invested in its own operations by purchasing new equipment for activities such as corrosion studies, to be applied on vehicles and ships. A new wood processing technique saved on raw materials and improved sawing results. A new test brewery enabled the study of industrial processes in addition to the properties of yeasts and cereals.

The 1970s

VTT found new research themes in the energy crisis afflicting Finland and the emergence of environmental issues. A pilot fermenter enabled the study of bio-technical processes, such as the production of microbial enzymes, antibiotics and single-cell proteins. An autoclave built by VTT allowed it to simulate the actual corrosion conditions of nuclear power plants. By 1970, most of VTT’s laboratories had been accommodated in new premises in Otaniemi.

The 1980s

The use of computers proliferated in machine and equipment design. Designers could use CAD and CAM technology to test various alternatives quickly and cheaply. VTT was actively involved in developing the mobile phone. The world’s first video phone was developed at VTT in 1984, but the time was not ripe for its commercialisation.

The 1990s

New, rapidly developing solutions in information technology, electronics and wireless communications were subjects of intensive study and trials. EMFI plastic provided novel solutions for sensor technology and the development of active sound elements. VTT also participated in international activities such as the space science programme of the European Space Agency. VTT began virtual prototyping, using digital computer models in support of product development and to reduce costs. Biotechnology became a growing field of research.

The 2000s

VTT’s core research areas included low-energy and production technology solutions, and new technologies enabling sustainable development. VTT did pioneering research in areas such as the development of biofuels and energy solutions for construction, and the development of printed intelligence technologies. VTT also developed new wireless communication solutions, and RFID and mobile phone solutions. Nanotechnology opened up new frontiers in technology.

VTT today and in the future

VTT promotes the development of production, technology and new products in the Finnish forest industry. New products are created by developing production processes and machinery, by using VTT's biorefinery and nanotechnology, and by combining biochemical diagnostics and electronic sensors with paper. New products include second-generation synthetic biodiesel, bioethanol, biofuel and bioenergy. Other future products include various biopolymers and bio-chemicals for the needs of the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.

Printed electronics will enable sensors to be combined, making it easier to integrate new functionalities with a range of products. Innovative new services and new business opportunities will be created via the social media, by combining sensors, information networks and knowledge.

New biotechnology applicatios will provide new opportunities in food production, for example.


Our mission: to create a bright future

VTT has been producing innovative technology solutions – which improve the performance of Finnish businesses and people's quality of life – for 75 years. However, we are always looking ahead.

In honour of the anniversary of Finland's independence, we invite partners to participate in our VTT100 project and solve key business and societal challenges.

Learn more and come on board: