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VTT accelerates development of photonics based medical devices with investment into a new research infrastructure

VTT accelerates development of photonics based medical devices with investment into a new research infrastructure
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VTT is building a research environment and manufacturing capabilities to enable the development of new innovative photonics based medical devices and prototype manufacturing in a regulated manufacturing environment. Photonics, the combination of optics and electronics, enables many medical applications from diagnostics to medical devices that can be used both in hospitals and at home. The research facilities are particularly suitable for the development of photonics based sensor solutions, such as smart patches, rapid diagnostics cartridges and their optical readers. The new research infrastructure will be built in 2023 and 2024 and will be fully operational in 2025.

VTT is launching 5 new research investments for the next three years. The idea is to promote green transition, resource wisdom and security of supply, and accelerate the renewal of companies and competitiveness. We also promote a national initiative to build a piloting environment for microelectronics and quantum technology.

The Finnish economy turns to growth with scientific breakthroughs and innovations. For this, we need co-operation between research and companies fortified with VTT’s investments.

“VTT’s role is to be bold with future-oriented progress. We help companies renew themselves and create new conditions for green transition. All our research investment targets deal with excellence that makes them unique. In these areas, we see the next possibility to reach industrial scale through which we can bring new business to Finland,” says VTT’s President & CEO  
Antti Vasara. “Even in hard times, an organisation like VTT should invest in the future. We plant the seeds for industrial growth in Finland and Europe for green transition and resource wisdom,’ Vasara continues.

VTT supports working life with research that renews business and that, in time, scales into industrial operation of companies. With their funding, public service and companies support research and development. 

“Many Finnish and international companies have already agreed to become partners in research themes related to the investments. Our goal is to accelerate industry renewal in companies and attract more investments directly to them,” Antti Vasara says. 

VTT’s investments for 2023-2025 and the national initiative

  • Clean, stable heat to cities: A Finnish district heat reactor operational in 2030
    VTT aims at building the first district heat reactor with Finnish actors by the end of 2030. VTT invests 5 million euros in the next stage of the development work of its nuclear energy concept (LDR-50) and multiplies the size of the research team in the next 2 years. At the same time, VTT and companies speed the commercialisation of the concept together and create a manufacturing industry in Finland that focuses on nuclear energy solutions. In SMR investments, VTT’s research focuses on district heating, whereas other instances mainly develop electricity production or combined electricity and heat production.
  • Solutions to plastic and textile recycling with new piloting platform
    In the VTT Bioruukki pilot centre in Espoo, VTT is building a research and piloting platform that enables the development of hard-to-recycle combination materials with plastic and textile recycling. The objective of the investment is to reduce carbon emissions, promote circular economy and reduce dependence on imported materials.
  • Piloting environment for sustainable fibre products to substantially reduce forestry energy and water consumption and enable new product innovations
    VTT is building a nationally unique piloting environment in Jyväskylä. It helps speed up the renewal of the forestry industry, improves resource efficiency and enables the production of new innovative fibre-based products. The objective is to develop new energy-efficient manufacturing processes whose water and energy intensity is significantly smaller than with current methods.
  • Digital development platform for biosynthetic materials: 10 times faster with new natural materials
    The investment focuses on building a digital platform and methods for the systematic development and optimisation of biosynthetic materials. The digital development platform for biosynthetic materials utilises data, AI, biotechnology and synthetic biology. This enables replacing fossil raw materials with renewable raw materials in industrial production. It also enables the development of completely new, superior, smart and responsive materials even 10 times faster than before.
  • Piloting environment for medical devices
    The investment helps develop a piloting environment that enables the product development and prototype production of new, innovative photonics-based medical devices in VTT’s research facilities in Oulu. This makes it possible to introduce the products to the market and the health care industry three times faster. Photonics-based technology breakthroughs and new medical devices enable more versatile, flexible sustained measurement of health, and they also consider comfort of use. The produced information guarantees better personalised treatment and health care resource allocation that supports the renewal of the health care sector into more predictive and resource efficient.
  • National initiative to build a piloting environment: A Finnish RDI cluster in microelectronics and quantum technology
    A piloting environment that focuses on unique microelectronics and quantum technology in pre-commercial development is planned in Espoo. Along with VTT, the City of Espoo, Aalto University and the industry members of the semiconductor industry group of Technology Industries of Finland promote the initiative. When realised, the new piloting environment would expand the current world-class research infrastructure in Otaniemi and promote Finland’s status as one of the most important microelectronics and quantum technology centres in the EU. The purpose of the development environment is to further increase the sector’s RDI activities in Finland, increase product and service exports, and attract international experts, companies and investments. It also concerns excellence in security of supply; as a part of the EU, we strive for strategic autonomy in critical technologies. The investment still requires a national decision.

In the selected targets, VTT has proceeded to a stage where new infrastructure and competence is required to advance the research for corporate use. Closest to a stage where the development progresses in collaboration with companies are multi-material polymer recycling, planning synthetic biology materials and a water-free energy-saving paper machine. In addition, VTT’s Oulu unit has extensively developed a wireless wearable technology. The product development and prototype production of related medical devices with companies requires the development of the device environment. Finally, the pilot investments in microelectronics and quantum technology concern investments of tens of millions of euros. These require other public and corporate sources of funds. 

Discover more about VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland:

VTT is a leading research and technology development organization in Finland, with over 80 years of experience. They provide high-end technology solutions and innovation services to businesses and public organizations. With a multidisciplinary team of over 2,000 experts, VTT’s research and development activities cover a wide range of fields. VTT is committed to advancing technology and promoting sustainable development.

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