Conference Day 1: Welcoming and Opening statements

Mari Walls, Tampere University President, and Mariza Almeida, Triple Helix Association, Vice-chair officially opened the 18th international Triple Helix Conference themed as Future of Innovation and Innovation for Future.

The opening speech was chaired by adjunct professor Yuzhuo Cai, from Higher Education Group (HEG), School of Management, University of Tampere. He apologised for the unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic challenge not to see everyone in person in the beautiful city of Tampere in Finland. He then delivered a warm welcoming message to 200 virtually registered participants from 40 countries, and then delightfully stated his deep appreciation to the Triple Helix Association, various organizing committee members (technical, scientific, administration, and services of Tampere University), and sponsoring organizations. He also welcomed to university, industry, government and NGOs officials and delegates. Following this, he kindly invited the president of Tampere University to deliver her awaiting opening statements on behalf of the hosting institution on the virtually first in its kind in the series conferences undertaken in the history of Triple Helix Association.

The opening speech by Mari Walls, President of Tampere University, started by greetings to all virtual audiences on behalf of herself and the Tampere university community.

Even though the Covid-19 has caused not to gather everyone together in the same venue, in Tampere, thanks to the innovation, the online technology has made it possible. Now, we are more proud than we were convinced to host and undertake such kind of conference, which proved itself to be a practical outcome of innovation, an innovation that can provide a solution in such difficult times like the Coronavirus pandemics. The president also said that it is therefore a great honour to host this conference both a recognition of and a further boost for the work carried out at our university, its predecessors and the surrounding Tampere region and ecosystem.

She then introduced Tampere university by saying that this is a merger university from two well-esteemed universities, Tampere university of Technology and University of Tampere. The speaker reminded to the audience that upon the establishment of the merger university, Tampere region has experienced a transformation from traditional industrial city into knowledge intensive economy. She also beleive that this then has created a fertile ground for new business and innovation in the region. However, the university also recognises the indispensable contribution of our stakeholders both from the region and from the city. The collaboration with the partners is built in the strength of the university, unique combinations of various disciplines and applied expertise. The University developed solutions to tackle climate changes, reserve the natural environment, and improve the wellbeing and sustainability of societies. The president in her speech underlined that the city, the region along with the university as a unified stakeholders are striving to form a living lab for globally applicable and ecologically, socially and economically sustainable solutions.

Following this, Dr. Mari Walls, once more warmly welcomed and extended her appreciation to the president of Triple Helix Association and the international Triple Helix Institute Professor Henry Etzkowitz, distinguished officials, keynote speakers, all panelists and sponsors. As the Triple Helix model clearly entails the interrelation among university, industry, government fosters optimal condition for innovation, and so the theme of this conference, future of innovation and innovation of future, is a foreseeing and timely theme to bring all conference participants together and direct the focus of the future. The conference sets of to host intellectual discussions on the most cutting age  research on innovation studies and to promote and critically assess the Triple Helix model as a tool for guiding research and policy design with respect to innovation. It is therefore, believed that the virtual platform will provide participants easy access to a world-class innovation studies conference. Having saying that the president concluded her opening speech by wishing a great success in the upcoming virtual conference days to all participants and presenters.

Following the first opening statements, the second opening speech was given by Mariza Almeida, Triple Helix Association, Vice-chair.

She started her speech by warmly welcoming to the 18th Triple Helix virtual conference participants and extend her appreciation to conference host Tampere University and all organizing committees chaired by Professor Yuzhuo Cai from Tampere University. She underlined that such conference is worthwhile to bring an international opportunity and experience into our common understanding. She also indicated her firmly believe that the conference theme, Future of Innovation and Innovation for Future, is a timely theme that can lend its core concepts to the fight against the current challenge, Coronavirus pandemic that we are facing now. Finally, she concluded her opening statements by wishing all participants all the best in the upcoming conference days.

Text and photos: Tsegay Girmay