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The growth of CTO investments declines in Finland

24 Jan 2013

According to the annual Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Survey by Spinverse, investments in research and development (R&D) will increase in 2013 in almost half of the Finnish companies, and almost a third of the companies will recruit more this year. However, CTOs are not as optimistic as in the previous years: less companies are increasing investments and recruitment.

The survey sheds light on the Finnish innovation ecosystem: it was found out that large companies want particularly to increase R&D partnerships with domestic small- and medium sized companies (SMEs). Nonetheless, only a third of the SME respondents considered it easy to find good R&D partners among large companies. Finnish CTOs participate in joint R&D with their customers, suppliers, subcontractors and local universities, but building international partnerships needs more attention. Global coterie would enable more efficient use of European public funding. The survey exposed that 25 % of Finnish CTOs are not familiar with any of the most common European Union R&D financing instruments. Only a third of the CTOs consider EU funding important.

The CTO in-depth interviews conducted in the survey gathered more information about the Finnish innovation value chains. The CTOs of mining and metallurgy industries ask for more piloting opportunities, want more SMEs to participate in product development, and desire moving upstream in the value chain. Well established mining companies in Finland usually actively collaborate in piloting new technologies with their technology suppliers. The industry would benefit from more entrepreneurs and SMEs. Moreover, recently opened mines in our country create opportunities for extending R&D in production and processing technology to new metals. Some of the metals mined in Finland are refined as far as in Australia, which is unfortunate for both Finnish labour and the sustainable development. Our mining and metallurgy industry should move upstream in the value chain and do the refining in Finland.

”Open innovation ecosystems are well in place in Finnish industries, in general. International funding, networks, and knowhow should be strengthened in order to stay at the forefront of progress and ensure financing R&D in the recession. Important opportunities are at the moment opening up for SMEs, for example in large piloting projects”, states Pekka Koponen, the CEO of Spinverse.

Spinverse executed the CTO Survey in October – December of 2012. It was the third time that this annual survey was done. 120 Finnish CTOs participated in the study, including almost half of the CTOs of the companies among top 100 R&D investors in Finland. The CTO Survey examined Finnish R&D investment landscape and innovation ecosystems in both large and small companies. The survey is a joined undertaking between Spinverse, Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, and Technology Academy Finland TAF. The results of the CTO Survey were published on Wednesday 23.1.2013 in the CTO Forum, in connection with awarding the CTO of the Year prize.

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Pekka Koponen

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