Forest industry strengthens environment for growth and renewal with €4 million donation to Aalto University

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A donation of €4 million to the starting endowment of the Aalto University and the updating of the forest cluster’s research strategy are the latest milestones on the path towards a stronger environment for growth and renewal.

“A lot has happened to the innovation environment of the forest industry in the last few years. Finland’s first Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation, Forestcluster Ltd, was established in 2007 to implement the forest cluster’s joint research programmes. The activities of the other strategic centres are now also in full swing,” Finnish Forest Industries Federation Chairman Kari Jordan said at a seminar held to mark the handover of the donation that was arranged in conjunction with the Forest industry as a builder of the future seminar in Helsinki today.

"The leading actors of the wood products industry have likewise joined forces and formed a joint research organisation called Finnish Wood Research Ltd. In addition to this, the forest cluster of Finland has been active in international research cooperation and the EU’s forest-based technology platform initiative," Jordan said.

“The establishment of Aalto University and the merger of KCL, a research organisation owned by Finnish forest industry companies, with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have created ever stronger concentrations of forest cluster competence and expertise in our country. Research and education have been modernised to better respond to foreseeable needs, but challenges remain with regard to the removal of overlapping activities,” Jordan said.

Aalto University has what it takes to reach the top

"Modernising forest industry companies need to create innovative new products, and cooperation with top international universities, such as Aalto University, enables them to do this. Without world-class competence and experts, we will not be able to make the wood-based products and innovations that our customers and consumers need,” said Kari Jordan.

“These reasons prompted the forest industry to donate four million euro to Aalto University’s capital on formation; this money will help strengthen the forest industry’s Finnish innovation environment. With sufficient resources and by systematically nurturing its competence capital, Aalto University can rise to the very top of global research and teaching. This would create a solid foundation for the renewal of the forest industry as well.”

Aalto University also plays an important role in the implementation of the forest cluster’s research strategy. The updated research strategy was published today and it strongly emphasises customer and user perspectives, new materials and services as well as the significance of the bioeconomy. Aalto University is already home to some world-class experts on these matters.

Selecting bold, appropriate targets and securing the resources needed to achieve them will help universities and other institutions of higher learning maintain Finnish expertise and research on an internationally competitive level. A research and education system that is capable of foreseeing the future needs of companies can foster the knowledge and skills that help create fresh business operations as well as develop existing and new products and services.

For more information:

Timo Jaatinen, Director General, Finnish Forest Industries, tel. +358 9 132 6600

Antro Säilä, Senior Vice President, Business Environment and Innovation, Finnish Forest Industries,
tel. +358 9 132 6633, +358 40 589 1891