"Forest industry companies are seeking out top international universities as cooperation partners in their effort to create new products and services. The Aalto University is counted among these top schools. It is important that sufficient financial resources are made available for it to rise into the global elite with regards to its research and teaching activities. This will enable it to support the renewal of the forest industry as well,” says Timo Jaatinen, Director General of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
”By setting bold and goal-oriented priorities for their activities, universities can strengthen competence and research in Finland. By developing our strengths on a continuous basis, we maintain our role as the competence leader of the global forest cluster. Research and teaching have to be attuned to the upcoming needs of companies so that the competencies and capabilities needed for the development of innovative business and new products and services are established,” Jaatinen points out.
The forest cluster’s research strategy has steered industry research and teaching activities towards key areas of growth. Forestcluster Ltd, Finland’s first Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation, and Finnish Wood Research Ltd, an agency that networks the wood products cluster’s joint research and development activities, provide resources for significant projects, which promote the renewal of the forest industry.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Keskuslaboratorio (KCL), an organisation specialising in forest industry research, were merged into an internationally unique concentration of competence last year. The Aalto University professorship, which was donated by the forest industry, will promote the teaching of wood construction specialists as well as strengthen the regeneration of the forest-based sector through education.
Timo Jaatinen, Director General, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 9 132 6600
Antro Säilä, Senior Vice President (Business and Innovation Environment),
tel. +358 9 132 6633, +358 40 589 1891
Background information for journalists:
The forest cluster’s combined research and development spending in Finland comes to about €450 million annually. A large portion of the forest industry’s investments into machinery and equipment also involves production-process development work.
Three Finnish firms were among the four most R&D-intensive forest industry corporations of Europe in 2007. About two-thirds of the research and development expenditure of Finnish forest industry corporations is spent in Finland even though 60% of capacity is located in other operating countries.
Forest cluster research strategy
The research strategy of the Finnish forest cluster was published in 2006 and since then it has steered industry research and determined the focal areas of research for the forest cluster and its client industries. The research strategy will be updated in spring 2010.
Forestcluster Ltd, Finland’s first Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation, was established in 2007 to provide resources for the forest industry’s joint research activities. Three of its ongoing programmes contain substantial projects that have the aim of modernising the forest industry.
Finnish Wood Research Ltd
The wood products cluster’s research organisation is called Finnish Wood Research Ltd (FWR) and it pools together the shared research and development activities of the cluster.
Endowment professorship in wood architecture at the Aalto University
A five-year chair in wood architecture was established at the Helsinki University of Technology (now the new Aalto University’s School of Science and Technology) in 2008. The research and teaching activities this enabled have the aim of broadening the wood utilisation skills of students of construction-related fields as well as of promoting international excellence in wood architecture. The professorship in wood architecture was donated by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform
This technology community gathers the forest-based sector’s key actors together on the European level and networks them for Europe-wide joint research ventures.
The forest industry of Finland
The forest-based sector directly and indirectly employs almost 200,000 Finns. The multiplier effects of its activities touch on a broad section of surrounding society and contribute to the creation of up to 500,000 jobs. The forest cluster of Finland accounts for one-third of national export revenues.
There are 50 pulp, paper and paperboard mills, around 170 industrial-scale sawmills and 15 panel product factories in operation in Finland. Across the entire cluster, wood processing provides employment for some 200,000 Finns and its economic footprint affects about 500,000 people in Finland.
The forest-based sector of Finland produces paper products for almost 100 million Europeans and wood products for 50 million customers around the world. Finland’s abundant timber resources, sustainable forestry practices and state-of-the-art expertise in the forest industry provide our country with a unique opportunity to lead the way into the bioeconomy of the future.
Helena Aatinen, Senior Vice President (Communications),
tel. +358 9 132 6645 or +358 40 548 6675