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Grand challenges responding research in Finland

In June 2011, the Board of the Academy identified a series of grand challenges that will be given priority focus in research over the next few years. These challenges are named as:

  • The Northern Climate and Environment
  • Sustainable Energy
  • Dialogue of Cultures
  • A Healthy Everyday for All
  • Knowledge and Know-how in the Media Society
  • The Ageing Population and Individuals.

The Academy has commissioned a separate study as part of the review of the state of scientific research in Finland. The study will include a framework of the concepts and European debate dealing with the grand challenges. It will also analyse the allocation of Academy research funding to the fields represented by the grand challenges. This thematic transdisciplinary study will identify the strengths, weaknesses and areas in need of improvement within these fields. The analysis will be based on Academy Project and research programme funding in 2007‒2010.

The study will be carried out by Impetu Solutions and the Network for Higher Education and Innovation Research, University of Helsinki.

Towards low carbon company

In collaboration with Gas Natural Fenosa and the IE Business School, our experts explored the state of the game and the evolution of low carbon business and economy in the fight against the climate change. The research examines in particular the recent advances in Gas Natural Fenosa in the management of energy sources and environment.

More information:

The book (in pdf): Hacia una empresa baja en carbono

The 4th International Seville Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA) 12 & 13 May 2011

Impetu is represented by Dr. Totti Könnölä in the Scientific Committee of The 4th edition of the International Seville Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA) that focuses on the need and potential of FTA to address disruptive transformations in response to grand societal challenges. FTA offers policy and decision makers the potential to look across such transformations, enabling governments and other organisations to become more adaptive and capable of enacting systemic change.

Accordingly, the 2011 FTA Conference addresses the following specific themes:

  • Orienting innovation systems towards global challenges and the roles that FTA can play
  • Building FTA capacities for systemic and structural transformations
  • Premises and practices in combining quantitative and qualitative FTA methods

Impetu participates also in the design of a pre-conference online survey that will be launched among experienced FTA practitioners, policy makers and other stakeholders to share ideas and explore future emerging issues. Results will be discussed during the conference.

The 4th International Seville Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis

Eco-Innovation: When Sustainability and Competitiveness Shake Hands

Dr. Totti Könnölä of Impetu Solutions co-authored the leading book on eco-innovation. It considers the impact economic activities have on our environmental surroundings whilst exploring new ways towards more sustainable development. The concept of eco-innovation is addressed with regard to competitiveness and sustainability from the viewpoints of both business leaders and policy-makers in this thought-provoking new book.

Eco-Innovation: When Sustainability and Competitiveness Shake Hands

SESTI Scanning for Emerging Science & Technology Issues

Before joining Impetu Solutions, our experts took part in the design and execution of the SESTI project, one of the FP7 Bluesky research projects. Today’s societal developments are often influenced by improbable events with possibly high impact. SESTI is about identifying “Emerging Issues” that could have a potentially significant impact on society until 2030, are still not sufficiently recognized by policy makers, should (perhaps) get more attention by policy makers. SESTI is also a research project for exploring different methods like: Weak Signal Scanning (forums, news, blogs, text-mining), Expert survey for identifying emerging issues, Theory, methodology and evaluation and Workshops with policy makers and experts. SESTI aims to develop a mechanism for the early identification of newly emerging issues of importance to the European research infrastructure. thematic areas have been explored in more detail in testing the SESTI scanning system, including emerging issues in science and technology in
  • Cognitive enhancement
  • Energy
  • Health.
Further information

SESTI Project

Scenarios and roadmaps towards Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) in the year 2020.

Before joining Impetu Solutions, our experts took part in the design and execution of a FP7 project focusing on the creation of scenarios and roadmaps towards Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) in the year 2020. The project was funded by the NMP division of the European Commission within the IMS Framework and it was conducted by an international consortium from Europe, Japan, Korea, Switzerland and the USA. The roadmaps highlight the main milestones of innovation activities (R&D, management and policy actions) needed to achieve a desired vision. The project identified relevant research topics and supporting actions to shape the future of intelligent manufacturing through international cooperation. Our experts were involved in particular in shaping the process and methodology employed for developing scenarios for IMS2020 and consequently the roadmaps focusing on five Key Areas:
1. Sustainable Manufacturing, Products and Services
In sustainable manufacturing the entire lifecycle of the product or process will be taken into account, paying close attention to the technology adoption to support the use and assessment of resources and materials from their design phase, through production until the end of life.
2. Energy Efficient Manufacturing
Energy efficient manufacturing aims to reduce the use of scarce resources and the carbon footprint by considering innovative methods and technologies, as products and processes are no longer just subject to cost and quality.
3. Key Technologies
Key technologies are those that yield a high impact on the next generation of manufacturing, such as model-based enterprises, nano-technology, smart materials, robotics, etc.
4. Standardisation
Standardisation is critical to the successful uptake of efficient interoperable solutions in the modern globalised enterprises.
5. Innovation, Competences Development and Education
Education contains the understanding and diffusion of new learning tools such as eLearning, Technology Enhanced Learning, Serious Games, 3D tools etc.
Further information

Facing the future: time for the EU to meet global challenges

Before joining Impetu Solutions, our experts took part in the design and execution of the study “Facing the future: time for the EU to meet global challenges” carried out by the Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective technological Studies (JRC-IPTS) for the Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA) of the European Commission (EC).

Project rationale

For policy responses to address all the pressing current global challenges, especially when these are seen separately from one another, is clearly a demanding task. Institutions face greater complexity and difficulty in providing solutions in due time if the policy focus extends beyond the challenges that societies face today, seeking to anticipate future challenges and transform them into opportunities.

Aim of the project

The aim is to provide a comprehensive picture of the main trends ahead and possible future disruptive global challenges, and to examine how the EU could position itself to take an active role in shaping a response to them. The work described in the final project report brings a fresh perspective, by linking widely accepted quantified trends towards 2025 and beyond with experts’ and policy makers’ opinions on the likely consequences of these trends and wild cards.

Methodology approach

The methodology used combines an extensive analytical review of recent future oriented studies, followed by a wide online consultation of the identified issues, and use of multi-criteria quantitative analysis (Robust Portfolio Modelling) to prioritise the resulting issues. Key issues were then presented and discussed in a workshop with selected experts and policy makers. The final report presents policy messages for the EU with a view to enabling a transformation of present and future challenges into opportunities and can serve as an input for building a vision for the EU in 2020, as proposed by the Commission’s President in his political guidelines for the next Commission.

Project outcomes

The report brings to the forefront three interrelated challenges for the EU and the world, and offers options to transform them into opportunities for long-term EU policy making. Improving citizens’ empowerment and participation through the increased use of Information and Communication Technologies, searching for greater policy alignment towards sustainability, and establishing global partnerships between industry, government and society to build shared values and common visions on the future are among the key messages for EU policy makers.

Further information

JRC-IPTS: Final Report