EVP, Prof. Kari Larjava (VTT)
Kari Larjava is Executive Vice President, Solutions for Natural Resources and Environment at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. Larjava has over 30 years research experience in the fields Energy and Environment technologies and Process control. He is Doctor of Environmental Technology from Aalto University (1993) He is Chairman of VTT International’s Board and has been a member of a number of Company Boards since 2000. Larjava has been the President of ENERO (European Network of Environmental Research Organisations) from 2009 to 2011. He is also a member of Executive Committee of EERA (European Energy Research Alliance)since 2014 and member of board of the Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion since 2012.
Director, Technology and R&D, Mr Jussi Mäntyniemi (Valmet)
Mr. Jussi Mäntyniemi works as Director, Technology and R&D in Valmet. During his 27 years’ career in Valmet and its predecessors he has gained deep knowledge in chemical recovery and energy related technologies. He is currently responsible for R&D management globally for Pulp and Energy Business Line in Valmet. Mr. Mäntyniemi holds a Master of Science degree in Engineering.
EVP, Strategic Research, CTO, Prof. Anne-Christine Ritschkoff (VTT)
Prof. Ritschkoff (Executive Vice President, Strategic Research, CTO) obtained her PhD in Biosciences at the University of Helsinki, Finland in 1996. She has been at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd since 1987 in various research and research management positions. She has more 100 scientific publications. Prof. Ritschkoff holds currently the position of Executive Vice President, Strategic Research, CTO. In this role she is in charge of VTT`s research function, and steers technology strategy, EU activities and research partnerships. Prof. Ritschkoff has significantly influenced on VTT´s research activities on the areas of natural resources, environmental and clean technologies and bioeconomy
CEO, Ms Christine Hagström-Näsi (FIBIC)
Christine Hagström-Näsi is the CEO of the Finnish Bioeconomy Cluster FIBIC Ltd, which is one of the six Strategic Centres (SHOKs) in Finland. The role of FIBIC is to strengthen the links between different bioeconomy related industries and to catalyze research and innovation cooperation.
Prior to joining FIBIC in 2007, Christine Hagström-Näsi worked at Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technologyand Innovationas a Director for the Forest and Chemical Industries Section. Before joining Tekes she has been working with research, development and innovation activities both in the forest and in the chemicals industries. She holds a Licentiate of Technology degree from Helsinki University of Technology, with wood chemistry as her major subject. She has an extensive experience in innovation policy issues and project funding, Her international experience range from operational project coordination tasks to strategic board positions.
Dr. Tech, Prof. Jukka Seppälä (Aalto University)
Jukka Seppälä, Dr. Tech, is Professor of Polymer technology and Head of the Department of Biotechnology and Chemical Technology at Aalto University. He gained his experience in the industry at Neste Corporation during 1979 – 1986. He acted as the Director of the Bio- and Nanopolymers Research Group in the Finnish Academy Center of Excellence for the years 2001 - 2007. He has more than 340 scientific articles and the same number of other types of scientific publications. He is one of the inventors in 48 patent families. He became a member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters in the year 2005 and Member of Finnish Academy of Technology 2010. Currently he is Academy Professor for the years 2011 – 2015.
Former VP Open Innovation, Mr. Robert Kirschbaum (DSM)
Mr. Robert Kirschbaum (63) graduated from the Technical University of Delft (The Netherlands) as a Chemical Engineer in 1977. His career with DSM consists of more than 30 years fostering various innovations (fibers like Dyneema, specialty films and Engineering plastics like Stanyl) up to full commercialization.
From 1997, Rob was in charge of the DSM New Business Development Corporation.
In this Corporate "Incubator" several early phase commercial activities and new ventures were combined to grow into sustainable businesses. In 2006 the NBD Corporation was integrated into the DSM Innovation Center. Untill 2009 he fullfilled the role of Vice President Innovation, focussing on the DSM cluster of Performance Materials and subsequenlty he was assigned as VP Open Innovation of DSM. Since 2015, he acts as advisor to the Chief Technology Officer.
In May 2010 he received the prestigious Giulio Natta Award and he enjoys a visiting lectureship on Corporate Venturing and Entrepreneurship at the ESADE (Barcelona) and the Erasmus University/RSM (Rotterdam).
Senior Principal Scientist, Mr Yrjö Solantausta (VTT)
Yrjö Solantausta is a Senior Principal Scientist at VTT. He has a PhD from Aston University, UK. He has been developing alternative liquid fuels for more than 35 years. Much of his effort lately has involved fast pyrolysis of biomass.
Research Professor, Ms Merja Penttilä (VTT)
Merja Penttilä is a research professor in biotechnology at VTT. Her main expertise is in metabolic engineering, cell factory concepts and protein production technologies, complemented with systems and synthetic biology. She has acted as the director of the Academy of Finland CoE in White Biotechnology – Green chemistry (2008-2013), and is a partner in the current CoE on Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials Research (2014-2019). She is currently also a coordinator of a large national programme Living Factories: Synthetic Biology for a sustainable Bioeconomy. She has also led large international projects with academic and industry partners. She is an advisory board member of a number of international research programmes and funding bodies. She has over 230 scientific publications and over 60 patents/patent application families in industrial biotechnology.
Research Professor, Mr Ali Harlin (VTT)
Professor Harlin is professor for Bio-based materials and he was heading Industrial Biomaterials spearhead program in VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland, targeting for industrial application of materials produced using renewable raw materials to generate new, sustainable value chains and to reduce our dependency on oil and the carbon footprint of consumption. The spearhead programme focuses on the development of materials and production technologies based on fibres and nano-cellulose, as well as biomass-based monomers and polymers. The aim is to integrate these new value chains into existing biorefineries. Professor has earlier been working in chemistry, machinery and forest industries and in several academic positions of different universities.
R&D Manager, Mr Jukka-Pekka Nieminen (Neste Oil)
Jukka-Pekka Nieminen is R&D Manager at Neste Oil Oyj. His responsibility is R&D project portfolio management, including co-ordination of renewable fuels. Previously he was Environmental Manger of Porvoo oil refinery and before that headed various renewable energy related R&D-projects since 1980. He graduated from Helsinki University of Technology, Finland with a degree in technical physics.