University research sprouts growth companies

A university’s core tasks include research and teaching. Research findings are also often of great use however, to the development of commercial ideas and successful businesses. Research commercialisation encourages financial growth in Finland, increases collaboration between the business world and universities, and promotes the creation of jobs and social wellbeing.

The University of Eastern Finland’s first professorship in innovative leadership and research commercialisation, titled Professor of Practice, was established in 2014. Anssi Lehikoinen PhD was appointed to the position for the term 2014–2017. His dissertation in the field of physics led to the creation of two new businesses, Rocsole and Numcore, which employ imaging and measurement technology. Numcore’s operations were subsequently acquired by Outotec.

As Professor of Practice, Anssi Lehikoinen is involved in designing and integrating the commercialisation process into the University of Eastern Finland. The research commercialisation process offers interesting assignments which combine technology, sales and the creation of new business opportunities. As Lehikoinen has observed, success is brought about by multidisciplinary teams working together to achieve shared goals.

Transforming innovative proposals into real action

The postdoctoral researcher Tero Montonen studies commercialisation research and works with Anssi Lehikoinen to source and develop innovative proposals put forward by research teams at the university. Saastamoinen Foundation is supporting Tero Montonen’s work by funding his salary for one year.

University research generates abundant results, furthers expertise and creates commercial potential. A good innovation proposal holds the key to a new kind of solution to a customer’s problem.

Research data can be commercialised through existing businesses or by establishing new university-based ones. New commercialisation platforms and guided commercialisation tracks are needed to overcome the challenges.

In addition, the university needs a new type of business model and incentive system to motivate researchers to commercialise their research.

Entrepreneurship, employment and wellbeing

Research commercialisation and academic entrepreneurship create new jobs while strengthening economic wellbeing across the entire university catchment area. Rapidly growing international business areas are particularly valuable to the region’s economy. Support from Saastamoinen Foundation is directed towards the commercialisation of research at the University of Eastern Finland, the creation of businesses with growth potential and the strengthening of entrepreneurship, especially in the Pohjois-Savo region.

Research-driven businesses

Aurealis Pharma, a biotechnical company that develops chronic inflammation and cancer treatments

Bone Index, a company that develops measuring devices for the diagnosis and screening of osteoporosis

Nanocomp, a designer and manufacturer of micro-nanophotonics

Rocsole Oy, a company that develops tomography technology for industrial processes

Photo: Kimmo Syväri, ©University of Eastern Finland