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Innovation for Sustainable Transition: Business, Policy and Education


The second Sino-Finnish forum was held on 25 October 2019 in Beijing, hosted by the Institutes of Science and Development of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASISD) and the University of Vaasa (UVA) from Finland, engaging policy makers, researchers, education experts and industrial practitioners from China and Finland to discuss innovation strategy for sustainable transition from the perspectives of business, policy and education. 

The Sino-Finnish Research Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI center) was established in 2017, after President XI Jinping visited Finland and opened a new chapter of Sino-Finnish relation, PAN Jiaofeng, president of CASISD, said during his opening remark. “Both countries have signed a series of documents on innovative enterprises, investment and trade, justice, education, etc.”   

Sustainable transition is a global challenge that requires joint effort from diverse actors, sectors and countries, Pan said. “Our collaboration aims to solve the problems we encounter during the technological innovation and sustainable transition.”   

Jarno Syrjala, Finnish ambassador to China, who graduated from UVA, said China and Finland have had a rich history of diverse collaboration, from energy to winter sports, since establishing formal diplomatic relations in 1950.    

Jari Kuusisto, rector of UVA and also advocate for STI center establishment, expressed the willingness for further collaboration with the Chinese academy society, addressing common challenges, such as climate change and improving education.    

He said that Vaasa is considered to be the energy center of northern Europe, and is home to many international energy companies, as well as more than 1,600 small- to medium-sized companies working on sustainable energy.   

Zhang Xiliang, the director of the Institute for Energy, Environment and Economy at Tsinghua University, believed that the stronger administrative support, more resources for R&D and standardization, as well as more effective market-based instruments are part of the grand solution to sustainable challenges.   

Eija Tynkkynen, the commercial counselor at the Finnish embassy in Beijing, said Finnish companies have developed many world-class innovations, including bio-based packaging, renewable diesel, and recycling wastes such as saw dust and plastics into useful industrial ingredients like bioethanol.   

She also added that Finnish companies like Savosolar and Heliostorage are participating in building key technology applications for the renewable energy network in the Guangzhou Nansha demonstration zone in Guangdong province.   

“Innovation plays a vital part in the sustainable transition, which is based on education and promoted by policy,” Pan concluded in the end. “The pressure that China is facing now from this transition has become a drive for innovation.”   

The Sino-Finnish forum, firstly held in Finland in March 2018 with the theme of Energy Transition Policy, was organized by the Sino-Finnish STI center, co-founded by CASISD and UVA. The center and the forum aim to build a think tank as international platform and policy research network to support decision making in S&T strategy and policy for government officials, scientists, and businesses in China and Finland as well as Nordic Countries.