The Pentti Malaska Futures Award is given to a research-based and groundbreaking visionary innovation that can help with building a more sustainable global future. The University of Turku has granted the €30,000 Pentti Malaska Futures Award to Finnish company Woodio Oy.
In 2021, the Pentti Malaska Futures Award is granted to the Finnish eco-design and material technology company Woodio Oy that develops waterproof solid wood composite and manufactures bathroom products.
The winning solution of the Pentti Malaska Futures Award is a climate-friendly and environmentally sustainable material which offers practical solutions for the global challenge created by climate change.
- The solution has a strong scientific basis in the research conducted at the University of Helsinki. The carbon footprint of the material used by Woodio is extremely small and the products have global applicability and scalability. The products combine industrial design and innovative approach to the use wood. The winner continues Professor Pentti Malaska’s interdisciplinary future philosophy by combining visionary thinking, innovative technology, and boundary-crossing collaboration for building a sustainable planetary future with radical solutions, says chair of the panel deciding the winner, Director Juha Kaskinen from the Finland Futures Research Centre of the University of Turku.
In addition to the first prize, the panel also awarded an honourable mention to the University of Turku research group whose Learning Led project develops alternative ways of producing food with indoor farming techniques and methods. The justifications state that the project promotes the goals of sustainable development and are based on multidisciplinary research collaboration. Farming innovations have an extremely important role in solving future climate challenges and have a great commercial potential.
The Pentti Malaska Futures Award was distributed at the international Learning Futures – Futures of Learning virtual conference on 8 June 2021 organised by the Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku. In the picture FFRC Director Juha Kaskinen with the CEO of the Woodio Petro Lahtinen.
In addition to chair Juha Kaskinen, the members of the panel deciding the winner were: Mika Hannula (Vice Rector, University of Turku), Riikka Heikinheimo (Director, Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), Ulla Hytti (Professor, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku), Sofi Kurki (Senior Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland) and Niko Kyynäräinen (CEO, Turku Science Park Ltd.).
The next Pentti Malaska Futures Award will be distributed in 2023.
The University of Turku’s Pentti Malaska Futures Award was established in 2017 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Finland Futures Research Centre of the University of Turku. The Award honours Professor Pentti Malaska’s (1934–2012) lifework in futures research. Pentti Malaska was a professor of financial mathematics and statistics at Turku School of Economics and established the Finland Futures Research Centre in 1992. Malaska was a radical, visionary thinker whose research interests crossed a wide range of academic disciplines from mathematics and electrical engineering to philosophy, ecology, and strategic management. His work boldly crossed sectoral boundaries between the academic world, business world, and societal influencing.