20 Excellent Years – Anniversary Seminar

The Kerttu Saalasti Institute’s 20th anniversary seminar was held in unprecedented circumstances on Monday, September 21st. As guests found their way to their seats, careful to leave an empty chair between them, thoughts were bound to drift to the past year and all the changes and surprises it brought with. The aptly themed seminar “International and societal impact” was possible to attend in-person in Nivala or online.

Kerttu Saalasti Institute’s director, professor Matti Muhos kicked off the event and recapped how the institute has always risen to the challenge and pioneered its way to the unique success story it is today. Muhos’s speech was followed by greetings from the Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko.

The Finnish government’s well-wishes were delivered by Oulu University graduate and Minister of European affairs and Ownership Steering Tytti Tuppurainen. Tuppurainen observed how Finland aspires to increase international collaborations, the importance of which has been highlighted especially during the past year. It is paramount to increase global cooperation and training ever more so. The Kerttu Saalasti Institute is a fine example of how to grow the effectiveness and impact of operations both locally and globally.

University of Oulu Rector Jouko Niinimäki noted that it is with arctic attitude and excellence that the Kerttu Saalasti Institute has held its own in international scientific communities. The level of expertise and skill is of such a high standard, that it can be shared anywhere in the world and be held in high regard. The University of Oulu’s and especially Kerttu Saalasti Institute’s strengths have always been the ability to facilitate research that not only has value in the form of knowledge, but also has potential for concrete real-life applications and use.

Niinimäki highlighted institute’s exceptional networking skills and ability to absorb expertise from elsewhere and apply it to local use, and vice versa. Although this year has brought many changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Niinimäki noted that the institute has survived through and embraced change many times before, and it will continue to do so in the future.

The importance of personal contacts in networking and collaboration has always been well-understood at Kerttu Saalasti Institute, which is why we got to enjoy video speeches from institute’s partners at Feng Chia University in Taiwan, the Business School of Vilnius University in Lithuania, and the Cork Institute of Technology. Professor Ho Don Yan from Feng Chia University warmly remembered his experiences collaborating with the institute over the years and gave thanks for the enthusiasm with which it has joined partnerships and projects, at times even on short notice. Don Yan already set his sights on the future, proposing continued collaboration in the form of new projects.

The Kerttu Saalasti Institute’s 20th anniversary video, that premiered at the seminar, segued us deftly into the world of institute’s research teams. We had the opportunity to see glimpses into the multidisciplinary activities conducted within the Future Manufacturing, Micro-entrepreneurship and Regional Excellence research groups.

The official seminar program ended with a surprise congratulatory video from international partners, with greetings from Sweden, Germany, Russia, and Brazil, among others. We join them in wishing Kerttu Saalasti Institute good luck and continued success in their endeavors during the next 20 years.

Text: Julia Puputti

Pictures: Markus Rytinki

Last updated: 1.9.2021