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Program 2023

Kvarken, Data, Energy, Culture 3.0, the World!

The languages of the event are Finnish, Swedish and English. We encourage everyone to
participate in the discussions in the language they feel most comfortable to speak in. In programs with international guests, we encourage the use of English.
You can even watch the event on the Wasa Future Festival YouTube Channel.

Monday 7.8.

Link to stream

09:00 Breakfast

09:20 – 12:00 Circular Economy
Moderator: Kristoffer Jansson, VASEK, Communications & Brand Manager

09:30 – 10:20 Local Circular Economy Actors
Carbon-neutral thinking in the construction and industrial sectors requires circular action. Tobias Hästbacka, Nordic Green Recycling
Technological carbon sequestration – a pillar of emission-free industry. Juha Ripatti, Westenergy

10:30 – 12:00 E-waste, the fastest-growing waste stream in the world.
10 min: Welcome and background / Hanna Malkamäki, VASEK
20 min: Keynote –SwanIT: Why is Ewaste a problem and what should we do about it. Tuulia Virhiä, CEO
15 min: mPro: Smart IT is Sustainable IT. Ben Bergman, Head of Sales
15 min: Stena recycling: Recycling solutions for the battery industry and power batteries. Joni Korkola, Hazardous Waste Account Manager (TBC)
30 min: Panel, all speakers 

11:00 – 14:00 Lunch

12.15 – 12.45 Vaasa City Orchestra’s quintet, in the restaurant

13:00 – 15:00 Forestry Centre of Finland: In Ostrobothnia, the forest is gold

13:00 Jaana Kaipainen / Forestry Centre of Finland
EU forestry policy and the REDIII directive guide Finnish forestry

13:25 Green Carbon / CEO Kimmo Koistinen
Additional income for forest owners from carbon sequestration and biodiversity

13:45 Award ceremony: Ostrobothnia Pro Forest award is presented

Forest clearing: Christel Holmlund-Norren, Gun Anderssén-Wilhelms, Anne Lindgren-Slotte
Do women have a different view of their forest than men?

Coffee break 20 min

14:15 Johan Ångerman Architectural Service
CLT has revolutionized wood construction – what else can be done?

14:30 Mats Söderlund / EPV
Wood energy replacing fossil fuels in power plants

14:45 Riina Rantsi / GRK Finland Oy
Biochar is a climate-friendly choice

15.00 Opening of the Exhibition Hall
Opening speech, Christina Knookala, Director of Education in Vaasa

Tuesday 8.8.

Link to stream

08:30 – 21:00 International Day
VAMK, Novia, University of Vaasa, Åbo Akademi, Hanken, TE-Office, Chamber of Commerce, MYRSKY

08:30 Breakfast and registration for Global Talent Connect

09:00 – 13:00  Global Talent Connect: International experts and large companies.
Please note that most sessions of Global Talent Connect event are only open for selected companies and international talents. Selected international talents have received confirmation by email.
The booth area at Wasa Innovation Center (1st floor) is open for all on August 8, between 10.30–12.00. No registration needed. Welcome!
More information: Global Talent Connect – Talent Coastline – ELY-keskus

11:00 – 14:00 Lunch

12:30 – 15:00  Parallel event: New radical products from Ostrobothnia’s forest industry
New values of the forest – innovations, fossil free production, world class resource efficiency
Simon Fagerudd, General Manager, UPM Pietarsaari

Tomi Salo, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Metsä Group
Mats Brandt, Mayor, Regional Council of Ostrobothnia
Whole tree usage, Matti Heikkilä, Chief Operating Officer, Metgen oy
Ecosystem of expertise: Case Kaskinen, Mayor Markku Lumio

Venue: Garage

13:00 – 14:30  Invitation only: CompanyTalk: Benefits and challenges of hiring international talents. Large, medium and small businesses.

16:15 – 21:15  YoungTalk23. International Talents and SME’s – Evening of solutions in the spirit of Co-Creation. International and local students, businesses, officials, and policymakers.

16:15 Networking – Get out of your own bubble
Vaasa City Orchestra’s String Quintet

​16.45 Welcoming words by Moderators Laila Fe Balinggan, Entrepreneur and Digital Marketing Manager, and Sabbir Ahmed Bhuiyan, Master Student in University of Vaasa

Get Inspired: How to make our region globally interesting for young smart people?

  • Joakim Strand, member of parliament
  • Tuomas Saikkonen, CEO, VILPE
  • Tomi Paalosmaa – PhD Student, University of Vaasa
  • Arshed Iqbal – Doctoral Researcher School of Marketing and Communication, International Business, University of Vaasa

17:30 Co-creation Starts
Theme 1: Young Talent´s Perspectives: How to overcome the challenges to be employed in SME`s?
Pitch Talk: Hagar Elbarbary – MOOC Project Coordinator, Hanken School of Economics

18.30 Theme 2: SME´s perspectives: Success Stories in Hiring Foreign Employees
Pitch Talks: Heidi Saarinen, HR Generalist, Danfoss and  Samuli  Kuusisto, Sales Development  Director, Uwira

19.30 Break

19.45 Theme 3: Perspectives of Young Talents and SME´s on how the Finnish language affects employment
Pitch Talks:
Tuomas Saikkonen, CEO, VILPE
Zhang, Yue – Student, Vaasa University of Applied Sciences

20.45 Solutions on the table – how to proceed.  Moderators Laila Fe Balinggan and Sabbir Ahmed Bhuiyan

Presentations are in English. At the event you can use Finnish, Swedish and
Snacks and drinks are provided.
Registration link: E-lomake – YoungTalk 2023 – Wasa Future Festival 8.8.2023 (
Registration is preferred, for catering.


Wednesday 9.8.

Link to stream

9:00 Breakfast

9:30 – 11:00 Ecosystems resolving future challenges
ABB: Green electrification 2035, Simo Säynevirta
DANFOSS: Fossilfree future, Laura Frisk
MIRKA: Shape, Shaping the green transition – with net carbon surfaces, Charlotta Risku
Wärtsilä: Zero emission marine, Kenneth Widell
Business Finland: Partnership funding for research, development, and innovation projects in leading companies’ ecosystem themes

Please register for the event using this link (
Venue: MindSquare

9:30 – 11:00  Kvarken Space Center’s Space Wednesday event (hosted by University of Vaasa)

West Coast Hub launch of ESA BIC Finland at Vaasa
Company presentations:
ICEYE, Huld, Aurora Propulsion Technologies
Space Business Panel

Venue: Right Wing

11:00 – 14:00 Lunch

12:00 – 12:30 HardTalk: Hjallis Harkimo, Presidential Candidate, opponent Marianne Lähde, Komiat Chief Editor
Venue: Old Square

12:00 – 14:00 SPEED DATING after the Ecosystems resolving significant future challenges event
A speed dating event where you will have the opportunity to book one on one meetings with representatives of the leading companies (ABB, Danfoss, Mirka, Wärtsilä).
The speed dating section is intended for companies that are interested in working together with the leading companies on a given development theme. Show your interest by booking a 10 minute one on one meeting with a company representative.

Click here to register to the speed dating event.
Venue: Kabinett

12:30 – 14:30 EnergySAMPO

Keynote: The future of Finland’s energy systems across sector boundaries (30 mins)

Panel Discussion: “Vaasa’s Hydrogen does not Tremble”. The roles of actors in the Vaasa region in the future hydrogen market. The panel includes a selected group of EnergySampo partners, ABB, Danfoss, Hitachi Energy, Vaasan Sähkö, VEO, VNT Management & Wärtsilä (60 mins)

Questions and answers about the future of the energy industry: National and local cooperation is needed – with participation from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Business Finland and Fingrid.

12:30 – 14:30  Photonics Session part I

Fire and Ice, An Exploration of Fiber Sensors in Challenging Applications
. Eric Udd, President of Columbia Gorge Research (US)
Current state and future prospects of Finnish photonics industry. Juha Purmonen, Jyrki Saarinen, Photonics Finland
Venue: Right Wing

14:30 – 15:00 Coffee break and performances by Kuula Institute

14:30 – 14:55 Classical music: The orchestra of young music students from the Kuula Institute

14:55 – 15:00 Ballet performance. Young ballet group from the Kuula Institute

15:00 – 17:00 From Energy Crisis to Energy Storage
Venue: Mind Square

The event ‘From Energy Crisis to Energy Storage’ focuses on sustainable energy storage solutions. The changing energy market and emission reduction goals have brought energy storage solutions to the fore, and this event will specifically examine battery solutions. Customer requirements for sustainable battery solutions have created tremendous opportunities for Finland due to the availability of raw materials, affordable emission-free energy, and the availability of skilled labor.

The event explores this theme from various perspectives. The event begins with a segment discussing the impact of large investments nationally and regionally. After the introductions, participants from the battery value chain will get the floor. They will talk and discuss the construction of the battery value chain, what competitive advantages being located in Finland brings to their business, and on the other hand, where there is still room for improvement in Finland from an operational environment perspective.

PART 1: Large investments, impact nationally and regionally

15:00                                  Riku Huttunen, Director General, Ministry of Employment and the Economy

15:20                                  Janne Peljo, Leading Expert, Confederation of Finnish Industries

15:40                                  Pia Vilenius, toimitusjohtaja Akkuteollisuus ry

Moderator, Anna-Kaisa Valkama, Development Director, Vaasa Facilita

PART 2: Finland’s competitiveness from the perspective of large projects

16:00                                  Matti Hietanen, CEO, Finnish Minerals Group

16:20                                  Sharing their thoughts in a panel discussion:

Mikko Hankaniemi, Director, Products & Systems, Epec Oy

  • Tor Stendahl, CEO, Managing Director & Country Manager, Freyr Battery Finland
  • Mikko Hankaniemi, Director, Products & Systems, Epec Oy
  • Herkko Plit, CEO P2X
  • Markku Kivistö, Head of Industry, Cleantech, Invest in, Business Finland

Moderator Marko Kuokkanen, Sales and Marketing Director, Merinova

16:50               Event conclusions by the Mayor of Vaasa Tomas Häyry


15:00 – 17:00 Kurikka Grand Canyon.
Venue: Right Wing

Facts and Future of Kurikka. Anna-Kaisa Pusa, Mayor, PhD, Kurikka City

From past to present – an extraordinary geology behind the Kurikka aquifer project, Putkinen Niko, Special Researcher, PhD, GTK

Obtaining a social license for groundwater abstraction at Kurikka aquifer Juha Kotiranta, CEO, Kurikan Vesihuolto Oy


Thursday 10.8.

Link to stream

9:00 – 11:00 New Technologies and Economics
Moderator: Stefan Lindström, Ambassador for digitalisation and new technologies
Venue: MindSquare

9:00 Breakfast

9:30 – 10:00 The Future of Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Risto Linturi, Futurist
Opponent: Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, EU Parliamentarian

10:00- 10:45 Actions of the public sector to enhance innovation systems, Business Driven Impact.
Petra Söderling, WorldBank adviser, four examples
Casper Herler, Borenius, Managing Partner
Atte Jääskeläinen, Sitra, President
Antti Vasara, VTT, CEO
Minna Martikainen, University of Vaasa, Rector

Jarmo Saaranen, VNT Management, CEO
Stefan Damlin, Vaasan Sähkö, CEO

Declaration of joint actions for impact

10.45 – 11.30 Europe and Africa, New Economical Relations in Practice, Nordic and the world market
Venue: Mind Square
Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner
Anders Adlercreutz, Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering

Case Rwanda energysystems, representatives from the governments of Rwanda and Finland, and companies.

Case Mocambique/FDC Mrs. Graca Machel (wife of Nelson Mandela),
Womens emancipation in Africa and entrepreneurial opportunities with affordable access to energy

Brazil and the energy market, Ambassador of Brazil, Luis Antonio Balduino Carneiro

Side event, invitation-only: Stakeholder meeting, next steps in the Rwandan energy system, Venue: RightWing

11:00 – 14:00 Lunch

12:30 – 14:30 Side Event: Workshop: Co-creating carbon neutral future: How can a deep-geothermal system support just transition at the regional level?
More information and registration 4th of August the latest: Wasa Future Festival 2023 – HOCLOOP Workshop: Survey Powered by Webropol (
Organizer: University of Vaasa
Venue: Right Wing

12:30 – 13:30 New value chain calculations in practice, Ville Vertanen, Statistics Finland, Deputy Director General

A Call to Action: Finland needs an export policy for the 2030’s. Immediately!
Elina Valtonen, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Phillip Aminoff, Helvar Merca ja Helectron, Chair
Joakim Strand, Member of Parliament
Ville Skinnari, Member of Parliament
Antti Kurvinen, Member of Parliament

13:30 – 14:00  Awarding of a scholarship to a young entrepreneur (Christoffer Häggblom) and the presentation of certificates of honor from Wasa Innovation Center to the region’s splendid innovation group, and to the developer of a new breath sensor.

14:00 – 14:30 Coffee break

14:30 – 15:00 HardTalk: Presidential Election 2024 poll leader Pekka Haavisto, opponent Dan Ekholm, Editor at Vasabladet and the new Press Counsellor at the Embassy of Finland in Berlin

15:00 – 17:15 The Kvarken region’s strategic role in a new world order

Streaming HERE
Moderator Sarah Väre 

15:00–15:30 Coffee and mingling 

15:30–15:45 Welcome and introduction 

The Nordics in Europe
If the Nordics are doing well, Europe is doing well. What do we do about it?
Modern Export Industry Policy (MEIP) as supporting logic
Sture Udd, Managing Director, UPC Center  

15:45–16:25 Kvarken in the Nordics

Investments to 2040 and its ecosystem
What is needed to maximise, preserve, and refine?

Industrial investments in the Northern Nordics and key messages
Paula Erkkilä, CEO, Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce
Anders Hjalmarsson, CEO, Västerbotten Chamber of Commerce

The green transformation. Opportunities and obstacles for growth in the Northern Nordics
Lars Westin, Professor in Regional Economics, Umeå University 

Short panel discussion
Lars Westin
Paula Erkkilä
Anders Hjalmarsson
Triinu Varblane, Senior Advisor Viexpo
Anna Måtts-Fransén, Project Manager and Logistics Expert 

16:25–17:05 The role of the Kvarken region in the new geopolitical situation
An analytical point of view. Improved logistics connections in the Kvarken region, the Defence Forces, NATO, and National Emergency Supply Agency.

The new role of Northern Europe
Niklas Eklund, Professor of Politics and Public Administration at the Department of Political Science, Umeå University

New opportunities for intensified cross-border development in the Kvarken Region
Mathias Lindström, Director, Kvarken Council EGTC

Short panel discussion 

17:05–17:15 Conclusion and thank you 

16:00 – 24:00  Nacht der Technic
Demonstrations, exhibition spaces
Kvarken Space Academy for children (University of Vaasa and Luma Centre)
Night of the Arts
Familiarize yourself with the full program for the Night of the Arts in Vaasa

17:00 – 18:00 Side event: Vaasan Ekonomit & NIORD. Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering Anders Adlercreutz

18.00  Dinner
Prize 46€
Reservations through 


Friday 11.8.

Link to stream

8:30 – 10:00 Invitation only: Fixed Link principal meeting, participants from Finland, Sweden, Norway
Venue: Ball Room

9.00  Breakfast

9:00 – 12:00 Side event: Volunteering (talkoo) for the future: Youth in Ostrobothnia
Registration deadline 8.8.2023:
Organisers: POHY and What The Finland
Venue: Lato

9.30 – 11.00 KvarkenHealth, Regional Health Initiatives
Venue: Right Wing

Renewing the Health and Social Services with the help of data
Kristo Lehtonen, Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Director, Fair Data Economy,

InnoHUB is launching – what are the concrete goals, researcher school with impact and resourcing of research, new dotorates.
Suvi Einola, Chief Strategy and Development Officer at the Wellbeing Services County of Ostrobothnia.

How to solve the shortage of nurses
Anne Salovaara-Kero, Chair of
Ostrobothnia’s wellbeing section
Toni Borén, Chief of Education, VAMIA
Marjo Orava, Chief executive officer of Nursing, Wellbeing Services County of
Lisbeth Fagerström, Åbo Akademi, Professor of Health Sciences

How to reduce the growing youth crime
Chief Commissioner Mika Jylhä
Sector Director Pia-Maria Sjöström TBC
Anne Salovaara-Kero 

Life Sciences Collaboration in Kvarken: Umeå Biotech Incubator
Pia Keyser

AI Sprint: Analyzing physical health with data

Demonstration: Analyzing the breathing air, Wasa Innovation Center, Holobionter Oy
Desinfection Robot, Done Robotics Oy


10.00 – 12.00 Co-ordination in the Nordics

Venue: Mind Square

10:00–10:30 Coffee and mingling 

10:30–10:40 Welcome and summary of Thursday 
Sarah Väre and Mathias Lindström

10:40–11:10 The electricity system can be made stronger by Nordic cooperation: Nordic Trilemma  

11:10–11:55 Energy cooperation and sustainable energy solutions are more important than ever before
Peter Hedman, Project Leader Bothnia Green Energy
Isak Brändström, Project Leader FAIR 2 

Short panel discussion
Energy cooperation in the Kvarken region – what needs to be done? 

Short panel discussion
Sustainable transport and aviation in the Kvarken region 

11:55–12:00 Conclusion
We’ve succeeded before, what’s stopping us now?
Sarah Väre, Mathias Lindström, and Sture Udd 

11.00 – 14.00  Lunch

12.30 – 13.30  Photonics Session part II
Venue: Right Wing
From Portland, Oregon, to Vasa, Finland, to Mars and Beyond Guided by Fiber Optic Sensors. Eric Udd, President of Columbia Gorge Research (US)
From material technology to photonics, a platform for innovative solutions in the region. Suvi Karirinne, director, Vebic

14.00 – 16.00 Culture 3.0: Kvarken EGTC region as a model region for the whole EU
Prof. Pier Luigi Sacco, Special Adviser of the European Commissioner for Education and Culture, Rosa Meriläinen, Secretary General of KULTA. Key word: Meaningfullness

New entrepreneurial culture – Hippi Hovi, CEO of Rannikko-Pohjanmaan Yrittäjät
New sports culture, case women’s football, Tom Kecklund/Timo Harri, case ice hockey Oskar Osala TBC
New art culture, case student theatre RAMPPI
New work culture, case Community, Juha Päivike, Wärtsilä, Smart Technology Hub Program Director
New Study Culture: Case Living Labs, Peter Vesterbacka, Finest Future
New City Culture: Case Wasa Water City
New leisure culture: Case Comedian Alfred Backa TBC

18:30 – 20:45 Live music: Wasa Groove Unit
Bock’s terrace



The following technology demonstrations and cultural installations are on display. Dates and times will be specified.

Technological solutions from the universities

Åbo Akademi:
Bio-based solutions for a sustainable future
Presentation of project: FarmAInteraktion

University of Vaasa:
3D printed metal



Companies’ breakthrough solutions

Holobionter: VOC Sensing Platform.

Done Robotics: Local startup Done Robotics Ab Oy introduces its autonomous disinfection robot

Art ClubCard: an innovative digital platform and mechanism that gives people incentives to co-fund culture & arts, and receive rewards from local businesses. Gonçalo Marques, Northern Sustainable Futures, Sweden & Annika Sillander, Sillander Creatives, Finland

Health4Travel: International healthcare services

 ABB: Welding Robot

UpCode: Product Passport & Sensor Technology


Risto Linturi’s video studies
The future of work in the era of artificial intelligence (2023)
Metaverse (2022)
Megatrends of the Future (2021)


Natural science exhibitions


Kurikka’s unique deep groundwater occurrence



Futura 2.0: Interactive AI Art. Maria Lindeman & Tomi Paijo



Vaasa HackLab:
Woodwork, laser cut art, AI Camera

Contact information

Wasa Innovation Center
Gerbyntie 18
65230 VAASA
Event Coordinator:
Janne Perttu
+358 50 473 4444