The main objective of the research programme was to create new lines of high-quality basic research which will support ongoing R&D work in Finnish industries.
The aim was to establish closer links of collaboration between theoretical and applied research and to strengthen the research culture which extracts new product innovations from basic research.
The reliable operation of machinery and equipment in demanding environments requires increasingly accurate design and testing methods as well as integration of different technologies. Mobile technologies and robotics as well as telecommunications and machine intelligence are all rapidly developing areas that are applied in mechanical engineering.
In order that mechanical engineering and manufacturing technologies can retain their competitiveness, it is necessary to have both science-oriented and problem-oriented basic research as well as technical computation, design and testing.
Research efforts are required at all three stages of the product life cycle: design, manufacture and use. The disciplines involved may be specific to one particular stage, or they may cut across all three stages. For instance, control of the man-machine interface calls for ergonomic research and a psychological input. The environmental and cost impacts must also be under control throughout the life cycle of an industrial product.
The programme comprised 13 projects, four of which are consortia involving several research teams. A total of 60 researchers were involved in the following organisations: Helsinki University of Technology, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Tampere Univer-sity of Technology, the universities of Helsinki, Jyväskylä and Oulu and the Technical Research Centre VTT.
Academy of Finland funding for the programme amounted to EUR 3.4 million. Funding was also provided through the National Technology Agency and the Finnish Work Environment Fund.
The research programme was coordinated by programme director Kalle Hakalehto, Tampere Technology Centre Ltd.