Sitra President Should be Based on Merit

Finns know that in this global world we can only remain competitive by having the best scientific and technology skills and making sure that our education system is the leading light for the country.

As Professor Göte Nyman says: “We know that Finland can only have a a relatively small role in scientific and technological innovation, but we do know that we can grab new scientific and technological opportunities when they appear around the world.”

The Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra) will soon be appointing a new President and that is a job that we all want to ensure that Sitra really succeeds in its work so that Finland prospers

Sitra was created by Parliament some 50 years ago as an independent fund and think tank to look in to the future to promote qualitative and quantitative economic growth through science and technology.

Given its importance for Finland’s future and given its independence the choice of President must be based on scientific merit and not on politics!

Professor Göte Nyman continues: “Sitra is a special body for Finland because it can be a leader in science and technology through a broad network of the world’s best scientists. Scientists talk to scientists and not to politicians or laymen!”

Unfortunately, it appears that our politicians have cooked up a system of appointing one of their own in lieu of doing what is best for Finland. 

One former Conservative Party PM, is being actively touted for the job. He received 3 full pages in the biggest national newspaper (See above photo from Helsingin Sanomat 4.8.2019)  and it certainly looks like he will get the job judging from the length of the article. 

This type of political appointment would be a disaster for Sitra and for the country.

There are over 50 applicants for the job, of which 3 are politicians, with the rest coming from many types of background. The list is too long and many of the names are unknown (19 did not want their names published) while others appear to have stronger or weaker qualifications.

One candidate stands out, Professor Markku Wilenius, who is internationally connected with the scientific community and also happens to be a highly qualified as a futurist, with more than 25 years’ experience in future studies. He is Professor of Future Studies at the University of Turku and is also the UNESCO Chair in Learning Society and Futures of Education. He has been a member of the prestigious Club of Rome for 10 years.

He also has experience from the private sector. He worked with Michael Diekmann, former CEO of Allianz, who says, “Through his initiatives and collaboration inside Allianz, he proved to be a powerful and skilful vehicle for transformation. He showed the capacity to bring new solutions, convince people across all ranks of the company, and lead transformational processes systemically.”

His name should be seriously considered because of his outstanding experience and network. He also happens to be an independent thinker and writer as well as the first person to be appointed as a professor of Future Studies in the world!

Political appointments should be stopped because they seldom produced the desired results. Sitra is too important to be left to left-over politicians when the country is facing huge challenges in the global markets. 

This appointment must be based on proven merit – the three most important qualities being a broad international network of scientists and technological leaders, proven  expertise in Future Studies, and an ability to bring all these parts together to spur economic growth of the country.

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