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Janne Laine appointed as Vice President for Innovation

The five-year term of office will start on 1 January 2019. The position is new.
Aalto University Janne Laine

The Board of Aalto University has appointed Professor Janne Laine as Aalto University’s new Vice President for Innovation. The five-year term of office will start on 1 January 2019. The position is new.

Doctor of Science (Technology) Janne Laine, born 1968, has diverse leadership experience from holding various positions at Aalto University and one of its predecessors, the Helsinki University of Technology. Namely, he has served as Dean of the Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering from the beginning of 2014 and, previously, as Head and Vice Head of Forest Products Technology and as Professor of Forest Products Chemistry. He has also worked at a research institute in Sweden.

Laine holds a number of national and international positions of trust including board membership of NORDTEK, the Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion TES and CLIC Innovation Ltd. He has supported the launch of various programmes at Aalto by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), has built entrepreneurship and multidisciplinary programmes at Aalto University (Materials Platform), and has been responsible for commercialising Ioncell and AaltoCellTM technologies. Tens of patents and several startup companies have emerged from projects under his leadership.

Laine received his doctorate in 1996 from the Helsinki University of Technology in Forest Product Technology. His research focuses mainly on modifying and applying natural materials, in particular nanocellulose, to different areas.

‘Aalto University has a national mission to strengthen the innovative capacity of Finland, and the appointment of Vice President for Innovation contributes meaningfully to this mission. Over 70 applicants applied, indicating that Aalto University and its evolving innovation ecosystem is a very interesting operating environment,’ says Ilkka Niemelä, President of Aalto University.  

‘Janne Laine is very well placed to develop our innovation ecosystem even further. He has an excellent track record in research leadership and building corporate partnerships, a strong vision for developing innovation activities, good business understanding, as well as strong academic merits and motivation. He is an experienced and solution-oriented academic leader who can motivate the community to work towards a shared goal,' Niemelä continues.

'As Vice President for Innovation, I want to carve out Aalto’s innovation activities and introduce models that enable research to produce more innovations. I also want to bring a larger part of these to the pre-commercialisation phase. At the same time, we can bring large corporations and startups more closely together, and create the conditions for students and researchers to embark on brave, dynamic startup activities. I further aim to build a more active national and international network.

Aalto University already stands on solid ground to pursue these goals. The campus has become a formidable innovation platform: we have a lot of businesses in and around Otaniemi, A Grid has opened its doors, our research is strong and multidisciplinary, we have strong connections with research institutes and companies, our entrepreneurial education is robust, and there is no limit to our open-minded, student-led entrepreneurial activities,’ Janne Laine states.

Laine will report to Provost Kristiina Mäkelä.

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