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Aalto University, the City of Savonlinna and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences step up their collaboration

The collaboration agreement promotes research and product development, along with enhancing regional and international collaboration, through measures such as a new professorship in bioproduct engineering.
Wood chips photo by Eeva Suorlahti

The goal of the letter of intent signed today is to strengthen even further the research and development activities of the Savonlinna Technology Park, particularly in the field of wood fibre modification and new material and process applications. With a view to achieving this goal, Aalto University is establishing a new professorship in bioproduct engineering.

‘Finland’s forestry industry output can be doubled by 2050 while achieving climate targets, if the raw material is utilised as new, high value added products. To this end, we need new innovations and experts and therefore also seamless collaboration close to local operators’, says Kristiina Kruus, Dean of the Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering.

The Professor of Practice to be recruited will divide his or her time between Aalto University and the Savonlinna Technology Park. In addition, a junior researcher will be hired by Aalto University to perform tasks related to preparations for international and national research projects and the promotion of international industrial collaboration.

‘Aalto University is Xamk’s strategic partner. At a concrete level, this manifests as closer collaboration with the Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering. This step forward in the collaboration attests to the national significance of Savonlinna’s forest bioeconomy -related research infrastructure’, explains Jyrki Koivikko, Chairman of the Xamk Board of Directors.

Growth totalling 100 million euros

The Savonlinna Technology Park is already home to extensive research operations in forest biorefining, pulp and fibre engineering and environmental engineering in the field of forestry. One of the research units operating in the area is Xamk’s FiberLaboratory, which includes Aalto University’s AaltoCell research environment. The complex is one of the main drivers of research and development in the pulp and paper industry. The FiberLaboratory has already increased local companies’ exports by more than 100 million euros. The facility collaborates with dozens of Finnish and international companies.

‘It is great to see Aalto University strengthening further its operations in Savonlinna’s engineering industry hub. Bioproduct technology graduates from our university of applied sciences already enjoy the opportunity to top up their qualification to a master’s degree at Aalto University. The new professor can supervise master’s theses and doctoral dissertations carried out as part of R&D projects at local technology companies and apply for the EU’s Horizon funding with a view to enhancing the FiberLaboratory’s research activities’, explains Janne Laine, Mayor of Savonlinna.

The collaboration is funded by the City of Savonlinna, Foundation Itä-Savon yliopistosäätiö, Aalto University, the OP Suur-Savo bank, OP Kerimäki bank and OP Rantasalmi bank.

Aalto University will launch a recruitment process for the Professor of Practice and researcher positions in the near future.

The agreement was signed today by Savonlinna Mayor Janne Laine, Dean of the Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering Kristiina Kruus, Chairman of the Board for the Foundation Itä-Savon yliopistosäätiö Pekka Nousiainen and the Foundation’s Representative Hannu Kurki, Chairman of the Xamk Board of Directors Jyrki Koivikko, CEO of OP Suur-Savo Jari Himanen, and CEO of OP Kerimäki Jarmo Kaivonurmi.

Further information:

Kristiina Kruus
Dean, Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering
tel. +358 50 520 2471
[email protected]

Janne Laine
Mayor of Savonlinna
tel. +358 44 417 4001
[email protected]

Jyrki Koivikko
Chairman of the Xamk Board of Directors
tel. +358 40 670 5509
[email protected]

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