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Mircea Guina receives the Innovation Professor of the Year 2023 award

Published on 22.3.2023
Tampere University
The Innovation Professor of the Year 2023 Mircea Guina sees Tampere as one of the major European players in optoelectronics technology and lasers. “This prize is a recognition that we have a strong base at Tampere University to build upon and we know what it takes to bridge basic research and the development of new technology, to innovation,” he says. Photo: Jonne Renvall / Tampere University.
Professor Mircea Guina from Tampere University has been selected as the Innovation Professor of the Year 2023. He is widely known for his innovative research and development work on semiconductor technology and optoelectronics. The CTO of the Year award was given to Juha Kytölä from Wärtsilä in the big companies’ category, and Kuan Yen Tan from IQM Quantum in the SME category.

The awards were given by Technology Industries of Finland and innovation consulting company Spinverse on 21 March 2023 at the CTO Forum. The purpose of the awards is to highlight the importance of the work of chief technology officers, and the professors collaborating with companies, on the future competitiveness of Finnish industry. This year the event focused on leading companies and ecosystems and their impact both on business and on the societal level.

The Innovation Professor of the Year 2023 Mircea Guina works as a professor of Optoelectronics Technology at Tampere University. He is heading the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), which is one of the leading European academic research groups focused on the development of optoelectronic materials. The technology researched has been instrumental for the rise of the semiconductor laser industry in Finland and plays a major role in the advance of emerging photonics development platforms.

“I am extremely pleased to receive this recognition at an important turn-point for the entire semiconductor technology sector in Europe. The European Chips Act highlights the need for accelerated investments securing the access to semiconductor chips and technology sovereignty in key industrial sectors, such as automotive or communication,” Mircea Guina says.

The Innovation Professor sees the prize as a recognition of a great team effort.

“This recognition extends over many generations of students, current and former colleagues at ORC, but also to the outstanding support from Tampere University’s innovation and industrial collaboration office, which has been instrumental for bridging academic and industrial environments,” he adds.

Currently, the team is working on topics such as quantum light emitters for securing the communication network, and integrated photonics sensor for medical diagnosis. At the same time, they develop new technology for semiconductor fabrication to integrate with advanced microelectronics chips.

A researcher, mentor and innovator

Professor Guina has an outstanding career in photonics research and industry collaboration, making a Finnish technology impact rooted in university research, with a strong differentiation at European level. He is an internationally recognized researcher with a wide funding portfolio including the highly competitive European Research Council Advanced Grant.

Professor Guina has mentored several entrepreneurial teams and co-founded three deep tech spinoffs based on university research: Vexlum, Picophotonics and Reflekron, all located in Tampere, and exploiting innovation related to semiconductor technology. These spinoffs are already in an accelerated growth phase with validated laser technology products in high growth emerging markets, such as quantum technology and remote sensing.

“The story goes on and new innovation roadmaps are currently reaching an early validation stage, for example in the area of photovoltaic energy convertors, where a new entrepreneurial team from ORC group has been initiated as part of the research-to-business project WINSe,” Guina tells.

Guina has supervised more than 20 PhD students in optoelectronics, laser physics, or photovoltaics, many having high-level positions in technology companies in Finland. Concerning national-wide collaboration, he has been instrumental in creating new industry-academia co-innovation ecosystems, most recently in photonics integration, advanced manufacturing for photonics, and photonics-enabled quantum technology.

Highlighting the industry’s ability to renew and innovate

The jury’s chairperson, Technology Industries of Finland CEO Jaakko Hirvola commented on the winners: “The winners of the CTO of the Year and Innovation Professor of the Year and their respective organisations highlight the ability of the Finnish industry to renew and innovate. A stable and competitive RDI operating environment enables companies’ growth and investments into the future and future talents.”

The Innovation Professor award was set up to increase the recognition of collaboration between academia and companies. The work of Finnish academic professors collaborating with companies was now recognized for a second year in a row. The other finalists for the Innovation Professor of the Year 2023 award were Ali Harlin of VTT and Janna Saarela of Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland.

All award nominees were evaluated based on predetermined criteria that considers them as a person, their company, and their societal impact. For innovation professors, the criteria included the funding portfolio, funding volume, patents, and spinoffs and jobs created.

Read more about the CTO of the Year 2023 award winners.

Further information

Mircea Guina
mircea.guina [at]
+358 40 849 0004