The history of VTT: 1980s
1980s: Research programmes serving the needs of industry
The reorganised VTT tried to serve the needs of industry better, since it had been set the goal of raising the level of technology in Finland.
VTT’s research programmes complement Tekes technology programmes
Tekes (then called the Technology Development Centre of Finland) was established in the early 1980s. Tekes’s technology programmes created a solid base for Finland’s research system. Once again, VTT adapted well to the new situation. At the end of the 1980s VTT had 11 on-going research programmes. Their topics were energy and environmental processes, digital signal processing, composite materials and structures in the building industry, molecular modelling, surface technology, wood technology, energy-saving devices, integrated control technology, biodegradable plastics, logistics, and the use of computer modelling in product design and production planning.
CAD-CAM technology introduced
The use of computers in the design of machines and equipment spread rapidly in
the 1980s. CAD-CAM technology enabled designers to try out different
alternatives quickly and economically.
Markku Mannerkoski becomes Director General
In 1987 Professor Pekka Jauho retired. Under his leadership the staff of VTT had grown from 700 to 2,500 and the research centre ‘s activities had spread regionally to cover the whole country. Markku Mannerkoski was selected to succeed Professor Jauho as the new Director General.
Pekka Jauho had set two goals for VTT’s activities. He believed that VTT
should comprehensively serve both big industry and SMEs all over Finland.
Markku Mannerkoski largely continued to follow Jauho’s policies in these
matters. However, internationalisation in particular was an important goal for
VTT plays an active role in the development of mobile communications
VTT played an active role in the collaboration that led to the birth of the mobile phone. In the late 1970s the Nordic countries developed the analogue NMT (Nordic Mobile telephone) technology for UHF frequencies. Following on from the Nordic countries’ initiative, European countries developed digital GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) technology, which was introduced in Finland in 1991. Nokia’s mobile phone went on to dominate the world market and changed both communications and the Finnish economy significantly. The world’s first video-phone was also developed at VTT, but the time was not then quite ripe for its commercialisation.