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President & CEO’s review

The vortex of the European public economy has concentrated minds on the solving of debt problems, pushing long-term investment in developing competitiveness into the background. There must be greater public investment in support of business competitiveness and the well-being of society at large. Research and innovation activity must be boosted, with the emphasis on the reallocation of scarce resources.

Europe has traditionally placed significant investment in basic scientific research. Both exploitation by industry of the new information generated and the development of new jobs have nevertheless remained modest. The publications and patents that are produced fail to lead to the birth of an export industry or to employment. In fact, much of domestic industrial production has shifted elsewhere. Now is the time for a new direction, and the targeting of a major increase in public investment in more relevant, multidisciplinary research and technological development, and the generation of new innovations.

European development is also manifest in Finland, albeit on a small scale. Here scientific research is carried out by several bodies, with research coordination spread thin, and widespread duplication of research. All information generated in small countries such as Finland, whether of theoretical or practical application, needs to be channelled for the betterment of overall society, business life, national competitiveness and social well-being.

The starting point must be response to the grand challenges of society and the generation of sustainable competitiveness in the business sector. Important themes in this respect include bioeconomy, resource-efficient industry, low-carbon energy, digitalisation, clean environment and the well-being of the people.

Effective input is also required in the structural reform of industry. The prevailing financial turmoil has brought with it a considerable reduction in risk funding. While new growth enterprises in particular have suffered as a consequence, the situation has also affected successful small and medium-sized companies. Small enterprises are part of an ecosystem in which large anchor tenants play a notable role. In order to ensure the employment, care must be taken also to prevent the fall of the large companies. As well as measures targeted at individual small enterprises, efforts must be made to strengthen sustainable value chains and value networks.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is an internationally networked organisation. Such is demonstrated by the facilities opened in 2011 at Berkeley, California (molecular biotechnology) and at São Paolo, Brazil (water technology and biomass exploitation). VTT occupies a strong scientific and recognised position within the global research field, and can provide a wealth of evidence of how information can be transformed into results and well-being. VTT, in its role as pacesetter, promotes all this through its everyday operations.

Our success in research and business in 2011 would not have been possible without our personnel, our partners and, above all, our customers. To you all, a heartfelt thank you!

Erkki KM Leppävuori President & CEO

Erkki KM Leppävuori
President & CEO.


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