Wednesday, March 30, 2011


In a week when the Finnish Ambassador to the Court of St James was visiting Wales, I am returning the favour.

I am currently in Finland, where I have been attending a meeting of the  MBA4PhD international project between Wales, Gothenberg and Turku, as well as exploring ways in which the University of Turku can work more closely with the University of Wales over the next few years.

As the picture shows, Turku is a paradise in the summer although it is hard going at this time of year, with snow still falling yesterday.

I have had some interesting discussions with colleagues about the state of the Finnish economy, with many worrying about Nokia's future, especially given its dominance in such a small country.

However, it would seem that exports are helping the nation to recover from recession. According to the Finance Ministry, gross domestic product will grow by 3.6 percent this year, before growth slows to 2.7 percent in 2012 and 2.4 percent in 2013.

Certainly, innovation remain key to developing the future Finnish economy and the University of Turku, through my old friend Professor Antti Paasio, is reorganising itself in the field of .commercialisation to ensure that academics can make the transition from the laboratory to the market-place. If his initial successes are anything to go by, then the University, and the Turku economy, has a very bright future.