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The Asian innovation environment sparked debate at Sitra’s partner seminar

Sitra’s partner seminar gathered more than 400 co-operation partners at the Marina Congress Centre in Helsinki on 28 August 2007.


Sitra’s partner seminar gathered more than 400 co-operation partners at the Marina Congress Centre in Helsinki on 28 August 2007. The seminar included talks on innovation and it introduced Sitra’s activities. The key event of the partner day was the Science, Technology and Innovations in Asia seminar, which discussed the various aspect of the Asian innovation environment.

In his opening address, Sitra’s President Esko Aho said that Sitra has served as an innovation organisation for 40 years now, carrying the main responsibility for developing the Finnish innovation environment. – “We wanted to mark our anniversary year by organising a seminar for our co-operation partners that would provide a comprehensive overview of the opportunities and challenges that Asia has to offer. The rapid development that Asia is undergoing has a direct impact on Finland’s competitiveness and skills base. Finland would be well advised to keep a close eye on Asia.”

Japan has, in many respects, been one of the global leaders in innovation activity for quite some time. India and China are now rapidly entering the top league in innovation activities on a global scale. They have ceased to be interesting solely due to their market potential or cheap labour, and their attraction now lies increasingly in their potential as a testing ground and as a prospective market for new technologies and methods.

The seminar was chaired by Sitra’s Executive Vice President Mikko Kosonen, who was appointed the head of Sitra’s Innovations and New Solutions as of August 2007. He thinks Finland, like all developing Western markets, has above all to learn from the Indian and Chinese innovation environments and models. – “The key questions raised at the seminar were all linked with the strengths of the innovation environments of these countries. We need to determine whether the models applied in these countries could be transferred to and implemented in Europe and Finland, and how that could best be done; for example, closer co-operation could help to ensure that Finnish society benefits from the strengths that Asia now possesses,” says Kosonen.

The seminar speakers included Kiyoshi Kurokawa, the Science Advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister, Jun Yu, Professor and Associate Director of Beijing Institute of Genomics of CAS, and Dr. Thirumalachari Ramasami, Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Science and Technology. A Finnish perspective was provided at the panel discussion closing the seminar by Erkki Ormala from Nokia, Petri Peltonen from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Raimo Väyrynen, Director of the Finnish Institute for International Affairs.

The webcast of the seminar »

An article by Ramchandra Kulkarni on India’s relationship to innovations

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