Senior Advisor Anne-Christine Ritschkoff from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd (VTT) was put in charge of coordinating the Keys to Sustainable Growth (GROWTH) programme at the beginning of August. The previous Programme Director, Kaisa Korhonen-Kurki, remains at the helm of two other Strategic Research Council (SRC) programmes: Adaptation and Resilience for Sustainable Growth (ADAPT) and Changing Society and Active Citizenship (CITIZEN).
In pursuit of more impactful research
Ritschkoff is a major advocate of sustainable growth and development, which have been at the core of her work since the beginning of her career. “GROWTH is a fascinating programme that covers multiple elements of sustainable growth and approaches the concept from several different angles. The wide variety of projects funded through the programme gives GROWTH a multidisciplinary character, which is where the strength of the programme ultimately lies,” Ritschkoff explains.
Ritschkoff is looking forward to inspiring and fruitful cooperation with experts from other SRC programmes. Being able to help to make research more impactful and its results more widely used in society is important to her.
“The SRC’s programmes produce valuable information for policymakers. The coronavirus outbreak has only served to underline the importance of scientific evidence. I feel privileged to be able to contribute to the use of science to resolve society’s issues and challenges.”
Greater impact through networking
The programme coordinator’s role is to help project teams to meet their impact targets and build networks between GROWTH, other programmes and the SRC.
“I see encouraging interaction between project teams and stakeholders as one of my most important responsibilities. The SRC is a unique organisation, and I feel that it’s my duty to promote its work,” Ritschkoff explains.
One of Ritschkoff’s preferred ways of building networks is co-hosting stakeholder events with other programmes. International relations are also important, and she believes that international partners, too, can best be found by pooling resources.
“I already have an extensive network of contacts in various stakeholder groups, government departments, regional decision-making bodies, the EU, the UN, the business sector and trade unions, funding agencies and non-governmental organisations, which I can use to set up partnerships, build interaction and make an impact. Thanks to my background in research, I also know a huge number of people from both Finnish and foreign research institutions and universities,” Ritschkoff says.
Partnerships between different scientific disciplines are paramount for Ritschkoff: “I’m a big believer in interdisciplinary communication and cooperation. I believe that the key to new scientific discoveries lies in building a dialogue between human and social sciences on the one hand and economic and technological sciences on the other. Sustainable growth comes from solutions that stem from a shared vision of the entire scientific community.”
Programme directors of SRC programmes:
A Climate-Neutral and Resource-Scarce Finland, PIHI (2015–2021)
Equality in Society, EQUA (2015–2021)
Disruptive Technologies and Changing Institutions, TECH (2015–2021)
Culture in an Increasingly Technologically Driven Society, CULT (2019–2025)
Towards a Sustainable, Healthy and Climate-Neutral Food System, FOOD (2019–2025)
The Changing Role of Public Authority and the Potential for Steering Society, STEER (2019–2025)
Innovative Materials and Services to Promote Resource Wisdom and Sustainable Development, IMPRES (2019–2025)
Keys to Sustainable Growth, GROWTH (2018–2023), Korhonen-Kurki 2018–31.7.2020, Ritschkoff 1.8.2020–2023
Also get to know the programme directors who started at the beginning of 2019: watch the video interviews on the Academy of Finland’s YouTube channel. Interviews are in Finnish.
Original text in Finnish: Anna Oravakangas