Welcome to our interview series with the partners running Better Factory. Today we are lucky to be joined by one of our all-star team, Susana Pirttikangas from the University of Oulu in Finland. Today in this interview we will learn more about this organisation and their role in the project!

Thank you for joining us today! Please could you give us a short introduction to FundingBox in your own words, and what is your role here? 

The University of Oulu is a multidisciplinary, internationally operating science university. We produce new knowledge and solutions to build a more sustainable future and train experts for a changing world.
Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE) combines the internationally renowned ICT research in the University of Oulu. The new research environment will promote the cooperation between research groups, which will join forces to improve the quality of the scientific approach even further. The research activities are organized into 12 research units.

In this project, University of Oulu acts as Regional Technology Competence Center in Finland. UO will:
• Support innovative SMEs in its ecosystem to submit qualified proposals
• Participate in the selection committee of tech suppliers
• Participate in the dissemination and the sustainability activities at DIH and network level
• Participate in tasks related to reporting

Thank you! The University of Oulu is involved in the dissemination and marketing of the Better Factory project. Could you tell us about this aspect of the project from your point of view?

We collaborate with several regional business development agencies promoting SME sector growth. We utilize several assets in this project, such as:

  • Sustainable Industry X (SIX) is Finnish, industry driven initiative shaping and implementing next generation green and digital industry agenda in practice. It provides tools for forming joint agenda from national level strategies and implementing agenda in industry driven way, as well as implementation chains from strategic level to factory floors and products.
  • The Digital Europe Programme supports the development of a skilled talent pool of European digital experts encouraging cooperation between higher education, research and businesses – sparking interest of Europeans in digital careers and attracting the best talents.
  • Allied ICT Finland is a collaboration network of Finnish ICT research institutes cities, national ecosystems, thousands of researchers and more than 1200 companies.
  • 6G flagship programme provides a platform for learning about next generation wireless technologies and how to exploit the new business opportunities they offer.
"We want to modify the old perception that manufacturing industry workplaces are boring and noisy and attract new talented young people to this field."

What do you expect for the results of Better Factory, particularly in terms of sustainability and exploitation activities after the project end?

We look forward to continued cooperation with project partners and SMEs in the future, which will lead to new national and international activities, projects, commissions, and concrete positive results in business. We believe that the methods, environments, platforms, and experiences gathered from the implementation of the Better Factory project will benefit us in the preparation and implementation of such actions.

We emphasize continuous learning related activities and promote smart production initiatives. We want to modify the old perception that manufacturing industry workplaces are boring and noisy and attract new talented young people to this field. Today, the work has moved to an office environment and includes very versatile tasks related to e.g. remote control of production, utilization of digital twins and optimization. Perhaps we can use some tech supplier cases as examples in our continuous learning courses in the future.

No doubt there will be some readers that are keen to meet you to talk more about the project and your role in it. Which events can people find you at in 2024, and beyond?

This year we plan to be at ‘Reboot skills’, Tampere Kauppakamari (17 May, 2024). Here is some more information on the available courses: Rebooting manufacturing industry with digitalisation skill development [REBOOT SKILLS] (dimecc.com).

If you’d like to learn more about our partners or KTEs, just head back to the Insights section to read more interviews!