“This R&D centre in São Paulo is the fourth part in Kemira's R&D centre network,” said Harri Kerminen, President and CEO of Kemira. “A strong presence in emerging markets is essential for technology transfer and extracting signals from the market. Now we will have a network capable of conducting focused R&D for the South American market.”
Hilton Casas de Almeida, Region Head for South America, Kemira Oyj, said the centre would enable Kemira to work with one of the most important European Research Institutes. “In the long-term perspective, we can jointly develop new solutions in areas with high market potential, such as applications for biomass, mining, forestry and oil industry.”
Erkki Leppävuori, CEO of VTT, said having an on-site research facility in São Paulo would enable VTT to support Finnish businesses in the growing South American market, and to develop the research collaboration in a very efficient way. “Establishing research facilities in Brazil supports VTT's internationalisation strategy, especially in the fields of industrial biotechnology and the forest sector.”
The primary function of VTT's new unit in Brazil will be to form partnerships with local enterprises and research institutions in turning biomass into chemicals, energy (biofuels), and pulp-based products. In addition to Kemira, VTT also hopes to form close partnerships with other Finnish enterprises in Brazil. Finnish industrial companies are already operating in the country and many have invested heavily in the local market.
VTT aims to grow the new unit into a team of 10 research scientists by the end of 2011 and 15-20 employees by the end of 2012.