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Page updated 20.1.2021

Turku UAS’ Rector Vesa Taatila to the Working Group on Innovation of the EU and African Union

Rector Vesa Taatila from Turku University of Applied Sciences has been nominated to the joint innovation working group of the European Union and African Union. The working group is a part of the AU-EU High-Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation.

“This is an excellent opportunity to get to contemplate on the broad outlines in the development of two continents. In the working group, I will not work as a representative of a country or region, but I believe that the work will yield possibilities to find useful contacts between Southwest Finland and the quickly developing growth enterprise ecosystem in Africa”, Vesa Taatila states. 

“In the past decades, both EU and Africa have been left behind in the global innovation development, as North America and Asia have continuously obtained most new businesses. If we want to keep up with this competition, we must be able to significantly change the ability of societies to produce innovations”, Taatila continues.

The African Union (AU) is an African-wide organization with 55 member states. It works to promote peace, prosperity, and unity in the continent.

The task of the innovation working group is to support the AU-EU High-Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation by providing information on innovations and activities which support innovation. The working group will start its operations in January 2021.

Especially in Africa, the entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem has undergone enormous growth. There are over 600 local technology hubs in Africa. Their role in local communities is important, especially in regions where the public systems supporting innovation and growth enterprises are weak due to limited funding or capacity. 

Vesa Taatila has acted as an evaluator of large EU innovation projects and as a speaker in seminars arranged on the topic. He believes that this work was the reason behind the invitation to the innovation working group. 

Vesa Taatila is also Adjunct Professor of Innovation Education at the University of Turku. He has worked in managerial positions in Finnish higher education institutions for over 10 years, and before his university of applied sciences career, in business and HR management positions in large Finnish technology companies.  

Higher education management, innovation management and pedagogy have become the most significant competence areas of Taatila. As a demonstration of the international level competence in these fields, Taatila was in 2019 appointed in the Research and Innovation Council of the Government, headed by the Prime Minister.