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President & CEO’s review


role of research and innovation becomes increasingly important as nations compete to achieve global success. Europe faces special challenges due to the ageing of the population, the decrease in natural resources, and the distance to emerging markets. On the other hand, the strong growth potential in Asia and the Americas, with their plentiful natural resources, provides an opportunity for Europe, and in particular for a small and skilful nation such as Finland. The question is, do we know how to take advantage of this opportunity?

The role of research organisations such as VTT will become increasingly important. It is becoming more widely accepted that research and innovation policy involves much more than academic research and innovations by companies. The new European Commission policies draw attention to the management of the greatest challenges facing mankind today, and VTT and other research and technology organisations are excellent instruments in this regard: it must be possible to use their scientific expertise for the benefit of mankind!

VTT plays an important role in facilitating interaction among the business and public sectors, universities and the general public, helping to build a better future for everyone. Resourceful utilisation of innovative scientific spearhead programmes, to further strengthen the competitiveness of industries and businesses, and to support political decision-making, will become even more important in the future. Surrounded by increasingly complex issues, we must also consider the interaction between them. Innovative utilisation of VTT’s multidisciplinary expertise will open new doors.

VTT’s dynamic, three-phase operating model is setting the standard for others to follow. Strategic in-house research and excellent cooperation networks create an expertise platform for building technological know-how with different operators in the value chain, enabling the business sector – and society as a whole – to achieve concrete leaps in development. Utilisation of this know-how in pilots, patents, publications, education and commercial innovations will become increasingly important.

A major shift is taking place in Finnish research and innovation policy. We are in the process of learning how best to utilise the opportunities provided by the new Universities Act. Universities of applied sciences will cooperate more closely in the future, while the boundaries between public research organisations will become less distinct. VTT also leads the way in this respect: our unique Group structure and companies increase the agility and flexibility of our operations.

VTT focuses on the global future, for the benefit of Finnish businesses and society as a whole. A quote from an article published by the French association for research and technology, ANRT, proves that we are on the right track: “VTT – a research organisation that hails from a small, northern EU country – finds itself among the largest organisations receiving EU funding. This achievement shows that the map of European top research units is being gradually redrawn.”

Our success in research and business in 2010 would not have been possible without our staff, our partners and, above all, our customers. To you all, a heartfelt thank you!

Erkki KM Leppävuori
President & CEO



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