13.04.2012 - Finland is the last Nordic country which has not yet decided to start a nationwide bioeconomy programme. Calls for such an strategy are becoming louder.
Helsinki – Denmark has already implemented a national bioeconomy strategy, investing €1.8bn by 2015. At the end of March, Norway and Sweden announced at the "Bioeconomy in Action" conference that they would also start countrywide efforts. Norway intends to spend as much as €300m in total. Demands for Finland not to fall behind are becoming more pressing. Erkki KM Leppävuori, President and CEO of the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, said during a conference on April 12, "Finland should create a national bioeconomy strategy as soon as possible". According to Leppävuori, bioeconomy has all the prerequisites for creating a radical increase in the value of exports and for developing into a new pillar of support for wellbeing in Finland. "This will require the making of choices, the taking of risks, and the development and marketing of bioeconomy-based technologies", he added. Finland’s forest industry especially might profit from such a move. According to expert assessment, by 2020 new technological solutions and diversification could raise Finland's production by €6bn (equal to an increase of 22% compared to the 2010 level). Current operations could be expanded into the production of composites, biofuels and biochemicals, and into service businesses. Leppävuori already has a suggestion for facilitating the necessary changes, "The renewal of Finland’s business sector can be expedited by forming a voluntary partnership network – the Finnish Institute of Technology and Innovation (FIT). Research programs in the network could be opened up to each other and large-scale multidisciplinary projects initiated in applied research." Leppävuori added, "This is also a question of effective utilization of Finland’s limited research resources."
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