In autumn 2022, Business Finland granted Research to Business funding to eight University of Helsinki research projects from cancer research to physics, pharmacology and social sciences representing all four university campuses: the City Centre, Kumpula, Meilahti and Viikki.
Research to Business funding is the most important instrument for Finnish research projects seeking to commercialise their innovations. Success in the application process is the key to ensuring the commercialisation of new research-based innovations and helping to develop new technologies for use in the wider market.
Research to Business funding enables public research organisations to prepare the commercialisation of research-based product or service ideas and to conduct applied research supporting commercialisation. The main task of the funded projects is to concentrate on preparing the commercialisation of their ideas over a period of one to two years.
A secure instrument for commercialising research innovations
Among the University of Helsinki research projects succeeding in the application process is SOLID-IO. It brings together expertise in medicine, molecular biology, engineering and commercialisation. If implemented, the idea behind the project can provide a diagnostic technique for cancer patients based on their own cells, guiding the selection of the correct treatment in real time.
“This valuable method could also be used for the diagnostics and investigation of new and expensive immunotherapies for cancer,” says Principal Investigator Heidi Haikala.
“Without this financial instrument, it would be challenging to transfer academic discoveries directly into the world of startups. My advice to future applicants is: consider the big-picture significance of your invention and how it could change the world. Describe its commercial potential in a credible way. And put together a skilled and versatile team. Our SOLID-IO team is supported by a steering group of seasoned pros,” Haikala explains.
Kajsa Kajander, Interim CEO and Operations Director at Helsinki Innovation Services Ltd, is pleased with the historical success rate.
“I’m especially happy that the successful projects represent all University of Helsinki campuses. This is the first time different disciplines have been so widely represented among the funded innovation projects,” Kajander says, adding: “Our success in the autumn 2022 round can be attributed to well-prepared applications and the research teams’ focus on presenting their topics clearly.”
Year-round commercialisation support and training for University researchers by Innovation Services
Helsinki Innovation Services Ltd (HIS) is the University of Helsinki’s technology transfer company that assesses the innovative value and commercial potential of ideas derived from University research projects and helps projects prepare for Business Finland’s Research to Business Funding calls.
HIS organises R2B funding coaching for University projects with the potential to commercialise their innovations. The purpose of the training is to share information about Business Finland’s funding instrument and about intellectual property rights, budgeting and other commercialisation issues relevant to applicants. Training sessions are held twice a year, namely before Business Finland’s funding calls in the spring and autumn.
In addition, Helsinki Innovation Services provides University of Helsinki researchers and research projects with easy-access support based on a continuous service model. The support covers the commercialisation process as a whole, from invention disclosures and patenting to intellectual property rights, starting a spinout company, and networking in the startup sector.