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Tampere University’s Alumna of the Year Suvi Haimi has a vision to save the planet from plastic waste

Published on 10.9.2019
Tampere University
Suvi Haimi avajaisissa
Tampere University announced the winner of its first Alumnus/a of the Year Award at the opening of the academic year on 10 September 2019. The winner is Suvi Haimi who holds a PhD in Biomedical Materials. Haimi is the CEO and Co-Founder of Sulapac Ltd, which develops microplastic-free and fully biodegradable packaging materials, for example, for the food and cosmetics industries.

Alumna of the Year Suvi Haimi embodies Tampere University’s mission to deliver impact for society. Haimi received the award in recognition for her important and ground-breaking work and for her contributions in promoting the University's impact. The innovative material developed by Sulapac Ltd to replace plastic has attracted millions of euros from investors and received numerous awards and accolades. 

“The new knowledge and expertise generated by our University is effectively transferred through our alumni to benefit society. The work of our first Alumna of the Year perfectly illustrates our University’s commitment to bring together world-class research, applications and innovations to address some of the greatest challenges facing humanity,” President Mari Walls says.   

Suvi Haimi launched Sulapac Ltd in 2016 with Laura Tirkkonen-Rajasalo. Haimi and Tirkkonen-Rajasalo met at the former University of Tampere where Laura wrote her doctoral dissertation under Suvi’s supervision. The two immediately got along, had the idea to use biomaterials to save the planet from drowning in plastic, and eventually left academia to start their own business. 

“Writing a dissertation and pursuing an academic career are excellent stepping-stones to entrepreneurship. Especially at the post doc phase, grant writing begins to take up a great deal of time and it becomes necessary to learn to tolerate uncertainty and failure before finding the right direction for one’s research. I am using the skills and abilities I acquired at university every day in my current work,” Suvi Haimi says.  

Sulapac, which has grown to now employ 26 people, develops biodegradable materials that replace plastic, for example, in packaging for food and cosmetics. The wood-based materials are fully compatible with existing production lines without costly modifications. 



CEO and Co-Founder Suvi Haimi, 37

  • First Alumna of the Year awarded by Tampere University.
  • Education: PhD in Medical Biomaterials, 2008. Haimi wrote her doctoral dissertation under the joint supervision of a professor from the University of Tampere and a professor from Tampere University of Technology. Her dissertation was the first one completed under the Flexible Study Right (JOO) system.
  • CEO and Co-Founder of Sulapac Ltd established in 2016.
  • The word alumnus/a comes from Latin and means a graduate. If you have studied or worked at Tampere University or its predecessors, you are part of our alumni community. The Alumnus/a of the Year is an ambassador for Tampere University.

Photo: Jonne Renvall

Inquiries: Minna Puntila, Tampere University, tel. +358 40 8490503, minna.puntila [at]