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The Annual Seminar of the Tekes Functional Materials Programme arranged on 20.10.2010 in Finlandia Hall, Helsinki attracted about 200 participants representing several branches of industry and academia. The event disseminated recent research results of the Programme and provided an active networking and discussion forum for the whole Finnish materials society.
In the opening speech Markku Lämsä, Tekes emphasized the high collaboration activity of Finnish companies both domestic and international and the significant role of materials technology in the multidisciplinary research in the area of e.g. green technologies (ref. OECD). Active collaboration and multidisciplinarity are key aspects in the Functional Materials programme.
The scientific part included two international keynote speeches which pointed out the opportunities of modern materials technology providing novel solutions for big global challenges such as sustainable energy. Prof. Hiroyuki Fujita, University of Tokyo described the current status and future possibilities of MEMS technologies utilizing heterogeneous integration approach which opens the path to a variety of new applications. Prof. Zhiyu Hu, Shanghai University, focused on energy harvesting based on nanostructures and thermoelectric materials applied especially in IC chip cooling and thermal-to-electrical power generation.
The latest research results of the Programme were disseminated in a lively poster session consisting of 32 presentations of university research consortium projects related to the themes Biomaterials for medical applications, Energy technologies, Manufacturing of intelligent structures, Environmental sustainability and Responsive materials, and 9 company posters by Metso, Beneq, European Batteries, Akkuser, Nokia Research Center, Silvergreen and a company group led by VTT. In addition, relevant “SHOKs” Fimecc Ltd, Forestcluster Ltd, Cleen Ltd, the Academy of Finland and the Nanotechnology Center of Expertise Programme were present in the session with their exhibition booths to extend the discussion and networking.
Discussion session led by the Programme Coordinators, Markku Heino and Laura Kauhanen, Spinverse, challenged the panelists on two themes. First panel (Harri Kulmala, Fimecc; Jari Hurttia, Beneq; Seppo Honkanen, Aalto University; Anne Stenros, Kone; Markku Lämsä, Tekes) discussed the ways how to transfer research results more effectively to business and how to make successful international cooperation. The second panel (Marke Kallio, Metso; Riitta Lempiäinen, Neste Oil; Jatta Jussila, Cleen; Riina Antikainen, SYKE; Mikko Ylhäisi, Tekes) raised up the importance of life-cycle thinking, material and energy efficiency in today’s business. The focus of discussion was on how to take these issues into account already in materials R&D, make the methodology easier to use and apply it in practical work so that Finnish companies can get real competitive advantage.
Between the two panel sessions, there was a movie animation “Stories from the future” which visualizes a few ideas how functional materials might be present in our everyday life in the future. This movie and the new brochure of the FM programme was created by the programme coordination team based on the ideas collected from the thematic groups and research projects. As promised, most active idea generators were awarded – congratulations to Samuli Räsänen and Tommi Tynell, Aalto University.
In the final session, Anne Stenros, Kone gave an inspiring talk titled “The Art of Materials”. In her highly visual presentation she digged into the soul of different materials bringing up the importance of design aspects, which are always related to the use of materials.
Social media was utilized before and during the event. During the sessions the audience had a chance to send questions to the speakers and panelists through SMS. A dedicated web site was opened for the event to allow the participants to comment a few questions which were raised up in the panel discussion and to see the abstracts of all presentations in advance and vote for two most interesting ones. The following winners were given a short oral presentation in the seminar. Prof. Jorma Jokiniemi presented the work on “Gas phase production of nanosized silicon particles for Li-ion batteries” and Virpi Muhonen on “Cartilage Tissue Engineering with Recombinant Human Type II Collagen Hydrogel Infiltrated in PLDLA-scaffolds. The best poster prize voted by the audience was given to Doc. Jyrki Mäkelä’s group on “Nanoparticle Deposition on Packaging Materials by Liquid Flame Spray”.
As a wrap-up of the day the Programme Coordinator Markku Heino reminded that the Programme aims to gather the key players in Finland together to an effective network of specialists, not an organization but a way of sharing and boosting things – something to live and expand also after the Functional Materials programme. The thematic groups and programme events like this seminar form a good basis. He invited the audience to continue discussion and give more ideas – to create the future together.