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Nearly 4 million euro for research on digitalisation

A project led by Martti Mäntylä studies the impacts and opportunities of digitalisation.

The Academy of Finland's Strategic Research Council (STN) has made a decision on the funding for the strategic research consortia. The Aalto University led consortia received the following for the period 2015–2017: DDI (Digital Disruption of Industry) – €3.7 million; ROSE (Robots and the Future of Welfare Services) – €3.1 million; SET (Smart Energy Transition) – €3.3 million; and PVN (Platform Value Now: Value capturing in the fast emerging platform ecosystems) – €3.1 million. In addition, Aalto is participating in three other consortia. In total, STN decided to grant funding to 16 consortia, with total funding granted for the period 2015–2017 amounting to €52.5 million.

The next industrial revolution

The DDI project, led by Professor Martti Mäntylä, involves a total of ten different research groups from a wide range of institutions: Aalto's Schools of Science, Engineering, and Electrical Engineering, Lappeenranta University of Technology, the University of Turku, the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), and the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA). The starting point for the project is the rapid development of industry: IT processes and technologies, ranging from sensors to cloud computing and computer modelling, are giving birth to entirely new opportunities for the production of networked, smart products which can bring significant added value. The goal is to model the change taking place, implement active measures that seek to impact its direction and tempo, and make policy proposals based on the research results that would support the success of Finland and Finnish companies.

- It has been estimated that what we are dealing with here is no more nor less than the next industrial revolution, Dr Mäntylä noted. We need research that will help Finland to navigate through the approaching storm and emerge victorious.

The platform economy is reforming society

The taxi and accommodation services offered by Uber and Airbnb are telling examples of how the platform economy can bring staggering growth, undermine established business models, and raise questions regarding the institutional conditions of such services. The PVN Project, led by Professor Ahti Salo, comprises research groups from Aalto's School of Science and School of Business, the University of Jyväskylä, the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), Imperial College London, the International Institute for Applied System Analysis, Stevens Institute of Technology and the Wilson Center. These groups will be working in together with the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Digile, SSAB, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, among others.

'The platform economy offers huge opportunities to those who are aware of them. In order to understand and seize these opportunities, we need to work out new value creation and business models, carry out horizon-scanning activities across a broad spectrum, weigh up decision options systematically, analyze institutional bottlenecks, and assess impacts on the national economy', Dr Salo explained.

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