MARKKU MATTILA STARTED AS ACADEMY OF FINLAND PRESIDENT
Professor Markku Mattila, Doctor of Science (Technology), started his term as President of the Academy of Finland on 1 March 2007. Before the Academy, he worked at the Finnish Ministry of Education. According to Mattila, in the spring of 2007 Finland is in many respects on the threshold of new opportunities for scientific research. The Science and Technology Council chaired by the Prime Minister has set as goal to raise Finland's R&D investments to a new level. Consequently, this will increase need for researchers, and forecasting the field-specific need for new doctorates will also be more and more important, if the goal set by the Council is to be realised during the new government.
Mattila points out that real success in research is possible only through the committed work of highly motivated, talented researchers. Therefore it is important to maintain the research career as an attractive option and to secure the work opportunities and motivation of researchers in the long run. The Finnish Ministry of Education published in February a programme for the development of researcher training and research careers for 2007–2011. According to Mattila, it is time to take action to ensure the future supply of high-quality and well-motivated researchers in Finland.
NEW PROGRAMME TO ATTRACT TOP FOREIGN RESEARCHERS TO FINLAND
The Academy of Finland and the National Technology Agency Tekes are launching a new funding programme with a view to attracting top foreign researchers to Finland. The idea is to recruit international top researchers who are committed to closely integrating themselves into the Finnish research community for a fixed period.
This funding programme for visiting science and technology top researchers will allow Finnish universities and research institutes to hire top foreign names or Finnish scientists who permanently work abroad. It provides an effective tool for raising the level of scientific and technological know-how in Finland and for adding a stronger international element to the country's research system.
The funding programme is based on a government decision concerning the structural development of the public research system. It is expected that the chosen research theme is relevant to the development of Finnish society and the Finnish national economy. Furthermore, one of the aims of
the funding programme for visiting science and technology researchers is to strengthen areas of science and technology that are of key national importance.
The funding programme is specifically aimed at building up longer term international research cooperation: funding will be made available to hire researchers who will be coming to work as part of the Finnish research community. The idea is to make sure that top international researchers can be paid competitive salaries and that they have adequate research
Japan's NISTEP, the Academy of Finland and TEKES increase the co-operation on foresight
Japan's Nistep (National Institute of Science and Technology Policy), the Academy of Finland and Tekes (National Technology Agency of Finland) have signed a three-year co operation agreement on science and technology foresight and assessment. The agreement is a continuation of the cooperation that began in 2001. In Finland, Sitra (Finnish National Fund for Research and Development), VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) and Helsinki University of Technology will also make use of the co-operation opportunities opened by the agreement.
Nistep is a pioneer in science and technology foresight and assessment, and a global leader in the field. Nistep has conducted and published foresight surveys since 1971. "The dynamic development of science and technology requires foresight and forecasting of the future. The Academy of Finland and Tekes complement each other well in terms of promoting science and technology. Utilisation of the methods and tools offered by the Nistep co-operation is essential to both parties," explains Raimo Väyrynen, President of the Academy of Finland.