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QF R&D ‘RESEARCH DIALOGUE’ DISCUSSION FOCUSES ON INNOVATION’S KEY CHALLENGES AND DRIVERS
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QF R&D ‘RESEARCH DIALOGUE’ DISCUSSION FOCUSES ON INNOVATION’S KEY CHALLENGES AND DRIVERS

The challenges faced by innovation ecosystems across the world, and the way in which those challenges are being tackled, have been placed in focus by an expert in the field through Qatar Foundation Research and Development’s (QF R&D’s) ‘Research Dialogue’ series.

Pekka Soini, Director General of Tekes: the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, discussed the methods and strategies that various players within the international innovation landscape – from startups and SMEs to leading companies, universities, and research institutes – are putting in place to drive new knowledge and breakthroughs with members of Qatar’s research community at the event, held at Qatar Science & Technology Park, part of QF R&D.

The seminar – entitled ‘Innovation Models – Practice and Learning’ – also saw Mr Soini, who is a member of the Board of Directors at QSTP, provide an overview of the innovation ecosystem that Finland has developed over the last 30 years, cite examples of successful and impactful funding practices within the nation, and explain how emerging ecosystems represent the next drivers of innovation.

Through ‘Research Dialogue’, QF R&D provides researchers, scientists, and other R&D stakeholders within Qatar, as well as the wider community, to hear from, and interact with, expert speakers who provide local, regional, and global insight and perspective on a broad range of topics. Through allowing knowledge, opinions, and ideas to be exchanged, the platform is designed enhance understanding of, and support for, Qatar’s research and development enterprise, and reflects QF R&D’s commitment to nurturing a culture of research and innovation culture throughout the nation.

“The message I sought to focus on, through my talk at ‘Research Dialogue’, was that an innovation ecosystem needs to have a holistic approach,” said Mr Soini.

“Funding is one aspect of such an ecosystem, but it also needs to be able to attract businesses that want to produce innovation, and to provide an environment in which they can grow and where strong links to the relevant authorities are in place.

“These authorities have the responsibility to enable things to happen, through creating and encouraging a culture that supports and nurtures innovation. Having piloting platforms that allow for the testing of new products and services is also very important, as these platforms encourage companies to explore and to try out new things.”

Before assuming his current position at Tekes, Mr Soini headed Nokia Siemens Networks’ Corporate Development Office, as well as being its Country Director for Finland and a member of the executive management team. Between 2010 and 2012, he was a member of the Board of the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries.

The holder of a Masters of Science in Control Engineering from the University of Oulu, Finland, he is a member of several governmental and business councils and boards, including the Research and Innovation Council of Finland and the Technology Academy Finland.

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