The Tekes Functional Materials Programme has invested altogether 150 million euros to renew and strengthen the Finnish industry. The Programme coordinated by Dr. Markku Heino from Spinverse Oy has systematically built new competences and base for new global business. The results are promising: more than 100 patents, 200 publications, 14 new start-ups, and a set of emerging technologies developed in new areas like printed intelligence, renewable energy and biomedical applications.
According to Markku Heino, Finland needs to hurry to build new industrial base. Cuts and savings we see daily in our companies will not be the right way, and won’t attract large global companies to invest in Finland.
“We have to start from the beginning, innovate new things, grow and go global to sell our expertise”, says Heino.
Finland needs new materials technology companies in addition to the current ones such as Outokumpu and Rautaruukki. Forest industry needs to find new products. ICT- and biotechnology sectors are growing rapidly, and innovations are supporting this growth. New materials are required to satisfy the global energy needs.
Markku Heino from Spinverse and Programme Manager Markku Lämsä from Tekes have helped to build new materials solutions through the Tekes Functional Materials Programme. Heino said he got a dream job in the beginning of 2009 when he was asked to be the coordinator of the programme. “Bringing new industry and research partners together to make fresh & relevant research co-operation to solve the great challenges we have regarding energy, environment and health care, through materials technology, and linking the best forces in Finland and abroad to make target-oriented R&D work have created a new R&D ecosystem and a bunch of world-class results”, says Heino.
The Functional Materials Programme has been one of the largest technology programmes in Tekes. A total volume of the programme was 150 million euros. Tekes has invested 79 million euros, of which 42 million euros went to 90 company driven R&D projects, mostly to SMEs, and the rest 37 million euros to 61 university driven projects. “One important aspect is that a few of our growth companies have together received more than 60 million euros private funding from foreign investors during the last years of the programme. This means that the Tekes investment and the developments they have made have added the credibility of these companies also outside of Finland”, emphasizes Heino.
The programme ended officially at the end of 2013, though 57 projects are still on-going.
Now, Markku’s efforts are focused on industry driven research co-operation run by the Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster, FIMECC. In addition to finalizing the work of the FIMECC DEMAPP program (2009-2014), he was recently chosen as the Programme Manager of two new FIMECC Materials programmes, which he has been also preparing, Breakthrough Steels & Applications (BSA) and Hybrid Materials (HYBRIDS). Now it is really critical time to build new basis for the competitiveness of the metals and engineering industry. These 5-year programmes started 1.1.2014 will make together a strong co-operative effort gathering together wide, multi-disciplinary expert groups from different industries and academic branches (32 + 38 companies, all key universities + top-notch international partners; volumes 34 + 46 million euros; mode: SHOK programmes funded by Tekes and participating companies.).
“Our research plans are ambitious, combining deep science and real industrial needs, and the people are excited. We are ready to take the challenge to build new critical solutions and relevant competence for the industry”, says Heino. A specific tool he is proud of, is the own “FIMECC Breakthrough Materials Doctoral School” built in the programs aiming to educate at least 22 new multi-skilled doctors through the programme work, working on challenging industry relevant research questions with key international partners.
Markku Heino, tel. +358 40 7191221, markku.heino(at)spinverse.com
About FIMECC materials programmes: