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Strategy of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 2006 - 2010

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Mission | Vision | Core values | Strategic objectives and key factors in success | Operational and functional performance of the organisation | Resources and Economy | Occupational skills and competence

 

The Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) is a governmental, sectoral research institute, subordinate to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Metla’s duties as defined by the law and statute, are to promote, through research, the economical, ecological, and socially sustainable management and use of forests.

Mission

The mission of Metla is to build the future of the forest sector of Finland by producing and disseminating information and know-how for the well-being of society.

Vision

To position Metla as the most influential and effective national and international institution with expertise on sustainable use of forests and one that anticipates the information needs of its clients.

Core values

  • Reliability
    We act responsibly by producing scientifically objective and reliable information and by meeting the commitments made to our clients.
  • Occupational skills, competence and well-being
    We motivate our personnel by developing their skills and competence to attain our shared goals and to become a world-class leader in the field of forestry.
  • Interactivity
    We act openly and interactively in the best interest of our clients.
  • Proactivity and creativity
    We anticipate future needs for information and develop our practices with an open mind and without prejudice.

Strategic objectives and key factors in success

Scope of influence

Metla conducts research and development activities that have high scientific standards and have positive social impacts aimed to enhance sustainable use of forests as well as economic competitiveness of the forest sector.

To provide means for social decision-making and to enhance well-being of the society, Metla produces, acquires, and disseminates high-standard scientific information on forest-related topics including: the forest ecosystem; the various types of forest use; and forest reserves, their utilisation and protection. The objective is to develop possibilities for forest-based production and services, and to promote sustainable use of forests. This objective is realized by directing increased research towards improving business operations and supporting the formulation of forest policies. Basic research is conducted to support applied research. The cooperation within the forest sector and the utilisation of research results are developed, and the tasks belonging to Metla as a public authority are implemented.

The research priorities include:

1. forest-based enterprise and business activities,
2. social impact of forests,
3. structure and functioning of forest ecosystems and
4. information data bank on forestry and the forest environment.

Forest-based enterprise and business activities

Prerequisites:
Profitable and competitive forestry, forest industry and other forest-based sources of livelihoods that provide employment and enhance economic growth and regional development.

Scope of operations:
This research priority produces and disseminates information on the grounds and provides options for timber production and other uses of forests, on the properties of wood as a raw material, and on the competitive edge involved in forest-related enterprise and business activities. The main focus of research is on the ecological and economical sustainability of forest use.

Core expertise:
Silvicultural methods
Properties of wood as a raw material
Production economy applied in forest management and use
Business economics

Topical research targets:
Important research topics include the silvicultural methods, physical and chemical characteristics of wood, logistics and procedural methods of harvesting, biotechnology and its applications, timber trade and industry including the new forms of enterprise, the new sources of livelihood, such as nature and recreational tourism, profitability of timber production, operational performance of forest management and the timber market, forest energy and wood as building material.

Societal impact of forests

Prerequisites:
A well-organised forest sector promotes the social and economical development of society.

Scope of operations:
This research priority produces and disseminates information on the social importance of forests as well as on the forest-based enterprise and business activities, the societal well-being effects of forests, and on the means and effects of forest policies. This priority also anticipates future developments of the forest sector. The main focus of research is on the economical, social and cultural sustainability of forest use.

Core expertise:
Forest economy at the national economy level, especially the profitability of forest economy and forest policy methods
Environmental economy of forest-based services

Topical research targets:
Important research topics include : the changes in the operational environment of forest policy ; the future of the forest sector ; development and assessment of the implemented policies ; balancing the needs between the various forms of forest use; acceptability of the forestry practices ; the importance of forests to human health and well-being, and environmental performance of wood products.

The structure and functioning of forest ecosystems

Prerequisites:
The knowledge of the structure and function of forest ecosystems is the basis of sustainable use of forests.

Scope of operations:
This research priority produces and conveys information on the impacts of human activities and natural factors on the structure and function of forest ecosystems. It also promotes the ecological approach in wood industry and the alternatives in forest use. The main focus of research is on the ecological sustainability of forest use.

Core expertise:
Forest ecological yield and development dynamics, including chemical flows in forests
Interactions between genetic structures and forest use
Biology of forest diseases and pests and the methods to control and prevent them
Mechanisms of biodiversity

Topical research targets:
Important research topics include forest development dynamics, forest tree function and output in changing environmental conditions, dispersion and prevention of forest damage, genetic characteristics of forests and forest breeding, biological diversity, the impacts of climate change on forests, and environmental impacts of forestry.

Information data banks on forestry and the forest environment

Prerequisites:
Databanks and information databases on forestry and the forest environment form the foundation for the information technology based forestry and environmental sectors.

Scope of operations:
This research priority compiles and maintains information reserves on forest economy and the environmental state of the forest ecosystem, develops methods for data collection and management, and improves the shared use of the information reserves. Furthermore, based on the information reserves, this priority area produces statistics, services, products, and alternative calculations to support decision-making.

Core expertise:
Forest inventory methods
Forestry planning methods
Information technology
Forest carbon pools and fluxes

Topical research targets:
Important research topics include forest resources and forest statistics, forest economy planning methods, carbon stocks stored in forests, forest biodiversity, and forest damage.

Research activities are problem-oriented and multidisciplinary. Most of the research activities are conducted in research programmes that cross the priority boundaries. The research programmes are defined in collaboration with the clients, anticipating future needs for information and seeking solutions to them. Metla strengthens the skills within the forestry sector and takes the initiative in directing the research and development measures and producing data for the forest sector. This priority area consolidates Metla’s role in the Finnish innovative system. Metla is increasingly focusing external communication towards disseminating research results both at the national and, in particular, international level.

To meet the clients’ information needs and to support state-of-the-art scientific research, Metla’s international collaboration must be extended. As a specialist organisation and a data compilation and processing specialist, Metla strives to influence international programmes concerning forests, and to support the coordination efforts of the European research activities according to the Finnish objectives, and to serve the Finnish forest cluster.

Critical success factors to meet the strategic objectives established for the operations include:

1. identifying the changes in the operational environment,
2. directing the research,
3. high standard of research activities,
4. dissemination and degree of influence of research results, and
5. national and international cooperation.

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Operational and functional performance of the organisation

Metla’s organisational and operational structure is built to support the needs of its clients

The present organisation of Metla is transformed into a functions-based organisation consisting of core and support processes.

The core processes are

1. production, acquisition and practical implementation of research information and
2. providing public services

The support processes are

1. strategic management,
2. internal services and
3. support services for research.

The organisation's activities are developed on the basis of process descriptions and process-based thinking is emphasised in the operational environment. The management system is based on the MBO (Management-by-Objectives); the system includes clearly defined authoritative powers and areas of responsibilities. Open and transparent operational management is based on straightforward stakeholder management as well as on management of quality, processes and skills. Both the staff and clientele are clearly informed on Metla’s strategic approach, on the initiative nature of operations and Metla’s role, both as an influential research institute and producer of information for the forest sector. Metla’s present network of operational units will be developed into well-defined entities that work in cooperation with other research institutes and universities.

The process-based organisation model enhances cooperation between the units and the stakeholders. The quality and service level of the internal services will be constantly improved by monitoring and developing the operations. The high standard and degree of influence of research will be actively maintained and monitored.

Responsibility and initiative within Metla’s internal operational culture mean that the staff are encouraged to be independent and innovative. In the external operational culture this is mediated as interactive and open cooperation, and a responsive approach to the needs of the client. These objectives are supported by Metla’s internal and external communications committed to the values and strategy as well as by the strong stakeholder-committed management.

Important success factors for operational performance and functionality include:

1. high quality and development of the internal processes,
2. internal services,
3. internal and external communications,
4. client satisfaction and
5. the organisation’s proactive and reactive abilities.

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Resources and Economy

Resources focused on core activities, rapid response and cost-effectiveness

In the total budget, the proportion of implementing research and research information into practice will be increased, while the funding invested in support functions and administration will be reduced. Our reaction and response to important issues will be improved by diminishing the proportion of fixed costs. When permanent staff retire, one third of the positions will be filled to leave room for increasing the proportion of researchers among the personnel. Compared with the statistics of 2004, the amount of external funding will be at least doubled by the year 2014. A more transparent system will be developed for recruitment and human resource management. Electronic transactions will be implemented in finance and human resource management. The skills and competence of the personnel will be developed on the basis of strategic human resource planning. Working tools and facilities will be maintained appropriate by allocating sufficient funding. Laboratory and other similar services, research forests, existing research materials and field tests will be exploited more efficiently than before.

Critical success factors for human resources and economy management:

1. competent personnel,
2. sound financing structure,
3. modern facilities and equipment,
4. shared use of resources with other collaborators,
5. efficient utilisation of research material and field experiments, and
6. productivity and cost-effectiveness.

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Occupational skills and competence

Continuous improvement of skills and lifelong learning

In a working environment based on shared values the following features are particularly appreciated: initiative, skills and competence, unity, good management and an attitude of respect towards stakeholders.

Competent and motivated personnel are committed to the high-level and client oriented research defined in Metla’s objectives and to promoting Metla's positive image as a service provider.

The skills and tasks of the personnel are developed according to the long-term strategic human resource plan focused on the research priorities. Metla will implement and further develop a salary structure that is based on job-specific requirements and individual performance. The leadership skills of the managerial personnel will be improved. The aim is to foster the employees’ continuous improvement, lifelong learning, and career development.

Well-being at work will be actively improved with the use of questionnaires on work satisfaction.

Methods for internal communication, feed-back and incentive system will be examined to ensure that they function within the system.

Critical success factors for occupational skills and competence:

1. development and maintenance of skills and working capacity,
2. recruiting to supplement skills and competence,
3. management and operational culture that maintains and supports working capacity,
4. a functional feed-back and incentive system, and
5. job satisfaction.

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Mission | Vision | Core values | Strategic objectives and key factors in success | Operational and functional performance of the organisation | Resources and Economy | Occupational skills and competence

Updated: 10.03.2011 /KBym  |  Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Metla, unless otherwise stated  |  Copyright Metla  |  Feedback