This programme will aim to find solutions for replacing the unsustainable material foundation of our way of life with new materials and innovative services. Modern materials have revolutionised our way of life. However, many of these materials and their use are placing an unsustainable burden on the natural environment. There is a need now for new kinds of material and service innovations to allow development that is sustainable for both humankind and nature. The research under this programme will concern resource-wise innovations to reduce consumption that is harmful to nature and to develop new materials and services. It is expected to deliver means to facilitate the rapid and widespread dissemination of such innovations by making use of the opportunities provided by digitalisation, such as data management and artificial intelligence.
A key focus is on systemic change management and the promotion of resource wisdom. Funding will be made available to research concerned with the identification and exploitation of paradigm shifts in materials and their processing. In particular, research is needed into the impacts of such advances in materials on manufacturing, services, the labour market and employment, environmental protection, consumption habits, skills requirements, and education and training. It is essential that the research incorporates a strong ethical dimension: for instance, projects are expected to seek ways to achieve social and ecological justice in material production and service provision.
R&D gives rise to the need for new material solutions in fields such as energy generation, transport (vehicles and infrastructure), packaging and distribution systems, construction, healthcare and electronics. Product design must cater for circular economy requirements and the use of raw material supplies that is sustainable in terms of biodiversity, mining and water, for example. One possible direction for research might be to explore ways of using new and renewable materials and processes to tackle the environmental pressures arising from plastic particulates and nanoparticles or medical and chemical residues, for instance. This will require development throughout the chain, from new materials to their economic, social and environmental impacts.
Institutional structures such as norms, legislation and industrial value chains must change in step with the transition to a resource-wise economy. Research under this programme may examine desirable changes in the institutions that support this change and the potential need for new institutions and forms of cooperation. It could identify the production-related, skills-based and legislative obstacles that result in adherence to current technologies and approaches and hinder the introduction of new solutions and approaches.
Other important subthemes include identifying barriers to the creation of innovative domestic markets and skills-based exports and locating solutions to overcome these barriers. The aim is to determine the capabilities required in Finland to generate and exploit paradigm shifts in materials and to make use of these shifts to support Finland’s competitiveness in international markets.
Consortium PI: Riikka Räisänen, University of Helsinki
Responsible for interaction activities: Johanna Valkola, University of Helsinki
Consortium composition: University of Helsinki, University of Eastern Finland, Aalto University, Häme University of Applied Sciences, Natural Resources Institute Finland, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, North Carolina State University
Consortium PI: Jukka Seppälä, Aalto University
Responsible for interaction activities: Karti Valkokari, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
Consortium composition: Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, University of Lapland, Natural Resources Institute Finland
Consortium PI: Minna Halme, Aalto University
Responsible for interaction activities: Sini Suomalainen, Aalto University
Consortium composition: Aalto University, LAB University of Applied Sciences, Finnish Environmental Institute, Heureka, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, LUT University, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Rhea Solutions Oy
- Programme Director Asta Salmi, Professor, University of Vaasa, firstname.lastname(at)univaasa.fi
- Tuomas Katajarinne, Science Adviser, tel. 029 533 5067, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi