Collaboration networks

We cooperate with universities and research institutions to improve existing key products and processes, and to research and develop new products. High-quality research and education pave the way for the entire sector’s development.

Diverse projects

Collaboration can take various forms. Sometimes Metsä Fibre participate in joint research projects involving other companies and universities or research institutions, in which case the results can be used by all the parties involved. Sometimes we commission confidential bilateral research, and some cooperation is carried out through theses. 

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    Collaboration with universities

    The development of new fibre-based bioproducts is one of the focal areas of cooperation. Close cooperation helps universities translate their research into practical applications and products. Collaboration also offers insights into how general trends or the markets influence product development.

    The University of Oulu is a long-term research partner in this field. Metsä Fibre and the University cooperate actively in the ExpandFibre innovation ecosystem launched in 2020 by Metsä Group and Fortum, which focuses on upgrading pulp fibre obtained from wood and straw. Smaller-scale bilateral and collaborative research projects have also sprung up under the umbrella Lecosystem.

    Another research programme, joint MIMEPRO project, explores the utilisation and commercialisation of industrial side streams as well as geopolymers. We are jointly investigating whether green liquor dregs that result from pulp production could be used in making artificial stones and construction materials, replacing concrete. 

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    Collaboration with local universities, schools and students

    We also collaborate with local educational organisations. For instance in South Karelia, Finland, competition is keen for the best professionals in technological fields. The Joutseno pulp mill wants to be seen and heard locally, especially by students on the Lappeenranta and Lahti campuses of LUT University. A particularly important target group is students in the field of energy technology, as well as mechanical, environmental and chemical engineering students.

    One example of the collaboration is that students working on their theses for a diploma can get to work on a development project at the Joutseno pulp mill or on solving a specific problem. The mill also commissions bachelor’s and master’s theses. 

    The research collaboration at the Joutseno pulp mill also extends to LUT University teachers and researchers. For example, the mill makes use of LUT’s laboratory analysis services in various projects.

    The Joutseno pulp mill also participates annually in recruitment events at local educational institutions.

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    Supporting future competence

    Metsä Group also supports Finnish universities with donations. In December 2021, the Group donated EUR 500,000 jointly to its partner universities – the University of Helsinki and the University of Oulu. In the spring of 2022, Metsä Group made donations of EUR 160,000 to Aalto University, LUT University, Tampere University, Åbo Akademi, the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Eastern Finland. Depending on the university, the donations will be allocated to the fields of technology, natural sciences, agriculture and forestry.

    In addition, FinnCERES by Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd is a joint competence centre for the materials bioeconomy, funded by the Academy of Finland as one of its flagship programmes. The research conducted by FinnCERES already involves a couple of hundred scientists, and it is supported and observed by a group of businesses, including Metsä Fibre.