VAMK RDI Advisory Board members


VAMK RDI Advisory Board members

Mathias Lindström, Director, The Kvarken Council

The mission of the Kvarken Council is to promote and develop a strong and vibrant Kvarken region through cross-border cooperation.

My role is to act as an enabler for all forms of cross-border cooperation. Being an active contributor to cooperation platforms is an important part of my job description, which is also something that inspires me. I see this meeting place as an important addition to networks, as a platform for ideas when we face challenges and opportunities, and also as an enabler of new cooperation patterns. This is why I am very happy to be part of the VAMK RDI Platforms Advisory Board.

Sanna Rantala, HR Director, Vaasan Sähkö Oy

To the RDI-Advisory Board, I bring a perspective on the needs and expectations of working life from the perspective of an energy industry operator.

I see collaboration and courage as key words. My strength is the willingness to work together and to bring different actors together in an open-minded way. This is well reflected in the work of VAMK. I hope the RDI platforms will create bold openings and practical solutions to support growth and well-being. By working together, challenges can be turned into opportunities.

Juhani Soini, Vice Rector, Turku University of Applied Sciences

At TuAMK, I am responsible for both research and education and networking, especially building networks of experts and ecosystems. In addition to my role as vice-principal, I work as a board member in several SMEs and as an associate professor at the Universities of Turku and Tampere.

I believe that the greatest opportunities for Vaasa and Finland lie in the export industry, the development of B2B products and the resulting increased industrial turnover. This requires strong RDI and subcontracting networks both nationally and internationally. The challenge will be fierce competition for skilled labour, which can be facilitated by strong cooperation networks and efficient supply chains.

Paula Erkkilä, CEO, Ostrobothnia Camhber of Commerce

My mission is to help our export-driven region and our businesses succeed. Development and progress are words I have a passion for. This is why I am very happy to be part of the Advisory Board of VAMK’s RDI platforms.

I see such platforms as great meeting places between people and as enablers of new insights. Our challenges are quite positive: we get to be part of providing solutions to global problems, developing ever new ways of working.

Suvi Einola, Director of Strategy and Development, Ostrobothnia Welfare Region

My responsibilities include the Strategy and Interfaces output area and Welfare Area preparations. I have a long track record of development, training, research and consultancy in public sector organisations.

I see our greatest opportunity as our potential role as a pioneer of the dual transition, not only for businesses but also for the welfare area and our ecosystem as a whole. Joint efforts to address the challenges of digitalisation and green transition can, at best, also solve our talent recruitment challenges. To achieve this, we need each other and each other’s expertise, a common dialogue that enables genuine working and learning together.

Mika Palosaari, Director General, Centre for Economic Development, Transporty and the Environment of Ostrobothnia

The electrification of the world can be seen and heard all around us. Our challenges and opportunities are linked to these perceptions. We can be part of an energy transition that touches everyone and serves global environmental challenges.

A major challenge is the adequacy and quality of the workforce. VAMK’s RDI platforms, together with other actors in the region, are well placed to build solutions for the future.

Kai Kamila, Vice President, HR & Internal communication Wärtsilä Oyj

The energy cluster in our region, which is constantly growing and developing, offers us great opportunities. Our aim is to lead the transformation of the energy sector towards more flexible and sustainable energy solutions. To achieve this, we need training and development programmes to support us. I see the biggest challenge for our region as being to attract and attract sufficient labour to our region.

Heidi Kuusniemi, Director of Digital Economy Research Platform & Computer Science Professor, University of Vaasa

I am Director of the Digital Economy Research Platform at the University of Vaasa and Professor of Computer Science. I am also a part-time research professor of navigation technology at the Land Survey Institute’s Spatial Information Centre and a member of the Academy of Finland’s Commission for Science and Technology.

Over the last couple of years, the University of Vaasa has developed a multidisciplinary RDI project base in the digital economy, covering different aspects of digitalisation in cooperation with other universities and several companies. To VAMK’s RDI activities I bring close cooperation and partnership with the University of Vaasa, as well as my network in the field of IT RDI.

I see cooperation between all the companies and universities in Vaasa as the greatest opportunity for our region. VAMK’s RDI platforms will further accelerate RDI cooperation in our region, which will strengthen knowledge and innovation.

Johanna Punkari, Energy and Climate Specialist, City of Vaasa

Vaasa is the Energy Capital of the Nordic Region. It is home to the largest energy technology cluster in the Nordic countries, producing sustainable energy solutions with a significant carbon handprint on a global scale. The energy sector is subject to continuous technological development and education, research, development and innovation must meet the needs of businesses. We are currently at a major turning point in the search for ways to make the whole energy system low-carbon. Our region needs talent in a multidisciplinary way. The city’s own ambitions are also ambitious.

I believe that technologies such as energy generation and storage, IoT and other digital solutions, carbon capture and storage, sustainable mobility and people’s choices, etc. will help the city to achieve carbon neutrality and maintain the competitiveness of businesses in the region. My work also involves looking for innovative solutions to promote sustainable development and achieve carbon neutrality in the city. This requires multidisciplinary cooperation between the actors in the region. I see VAMK’s RDI Advisory Board as an interesting platform where different cooperation needs meet.

Tommi Mäki, Entrepreneur and 1st Vice-Chairman of the Vaasa City Council (The Coalition Party)

I work as a multi-disciplinary entrepreneur in several companies. I am responsible for developing existing and new businesses.

I believe that the main challenges are related to the attractiveness of the region and how our region can compete with the big growth centres. Businesses and the city must be seen as modern, welcoming and attractive places to work and live for new generations.

Otto Mäkiniemi, Chairman of the Board, VAMOK

I am a 2nd year business student at VAMK and I am on the RDI Advisory Board as a student representative.

Joakim Strand, Member of Parliament (RKP) and Chairman of Vaasa City Council

I have been involved in facilitating and monitoring several RDI platforms linking the private and public sectors in our region, such as FAIR (electric flight), Aurora Botnia & Vaskiluoto coal decommissioning. At national level, membership of the Parliamentary RDI working group and chairmanship of the Committee on the Future is also of interest to VAMK. I am also happy to use my Nordic contacts for the benefit of VAMK’s RDI activities.

The actors in the Vaasa region have a unique opportunity to be a global pioneer in the fight against climate change by investing especially in systems-level RDI & business know-how in energy and environmental technologies.

Matias Mäkynen, Member of Parliament (S&D)

I am a Member of Parliament from Vaasa, a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs and chair of the National Parliamentary RDI Working Group. In the working group, we are seeking the best possible parliamentary means to increase national RDI funding to 4% of GDP by 2030. I bring to the work insight into the outlook for policy making on research and innovation policy and networks across the RDI field.

I believe that the greatest potential for the Vaasa region lies in broad-based cooperation and the development of new models. It will make us a much more influential and larger player in the RDI field than our population base. I hope that the VAMK platforms will bring everyday RDI work even closer to small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, which have huge potential. In addition to experts, VAMK can bring companies networks and perspectives on various RDI investment opportunities.

Mika Konu, Managing Director, Merinova

I am the Managing Director of the Merinova Technology Centre. I am an experienced expert in business development, regional development and economics.

Oy Merinova Ab is an important and impartial driving force in the energy cluster, with a mission to further increase the success of energy technology companies in the Vaasa region. Oy Merinova Ab was established in 1989 and specialises in energy technology. Oy Merinova Ab implements regional, national and international development programmes, projects and services.