Innovative and proficient integrated health ecosystem
Are you interested in innovating within the areas of health sciences, ICT and natural sciences? We present OuluHealth: an innovative and proficient integrated health ecosystem. OuluHealth provides the most desirable environment for your company to thrive: it is a world-class innovation platform that helps enterprises integrate with suitable academic institutions and public health providers.
OuluHealth ecosystem strives to be a forerunner in creating innovative solutions to global challenges in the health care sector, aiming for the efficient return of investments and, most importantly, for the creation of jobs and health.
OuluHealth is one of the five innovation ecosystems of Oulu Innovation Alliance. The OuluHealth ecosystem comprises several stakeholders from academia, the public sector, and the private sector. The principal idea is to facilitate open collaboration and to accelerate innovation by bringing together various partners able to contribute to the needs of the health care sector. The ecosystem approach enables the combination of expertise from wireless information technologies and life science to introduce smart ICT solutions for delivering advanced, personalized, connected health service solutions.
In physical terms, OuluHealth is located in Kontinkangas, a health campus close to the center of the Oulu city. The OuluHealth campus has developed around the Oulu University Hospital, opened in the 1970s, and is quite unique in the way that it compactly combines both public and private actors in the health care sector, ranging from Biocenter Oulu to a wide spectrum of small and medium-sized businesses.
How do the different organizations relate to each others? Oulu University Hospital in the chair of OuluHealth board. BusinessOulu is in charge of the ecosystem collaboration facilitation and supporting the companies in growth and commercialization. Centre for Health and Technology is responsible of coordinating the research and innovation acitivties. OuluHealth Labs offers a unique innovation platform which enables citizen and professionals involvement. OuluHealth belongs to the international network of the European Connected Health Alliance.
Medical technologies in Oulu
Finland’s northern city of Oulu is becoming a widely recognized player in the emergent field of medical technology, which combines life sciences and medicine with different aspects of engineering. As the population ages and the desire to take control of one’s own health grows, so grows the need for novel, affordable technologies that promote measuring health. Development of such technologies lies at the intersection of engineering, medicine and natural sciences, which is exactly where the competitive advantage of Oulu lies.
Oulu’s medtech ecosystem is a multifaceted network consisting of the university, public organizations like the Oulu University Hospital and the VTT Technical Research Centre, and various medtech companies and medtech service providing R&D companies and manufacturers.
Two of the University of Oulu’s main research focus areas, biosciences & health and information and communications technology (ICT) are being combined in the university’s research projects. Indeed, a good deal of health-related innovation in Oulu stems from university research. Some of these scientists and designers have gone on to massive global success, such as Polar Electro. Although not directly related to medical technologies, Codenomicon, an Oulu-based company that also has its roots in the university’s research, was recently chosen by the US Food and Drug Administration to provide solutions for fuzz-testing medical devices and software.
Biotech in Oulu
In addition to medical device technology and information and communications technology, Oulu’s reputation as one of the most intelligent and innovative cities in the world stems from the novel work being done by the city’s biotech labs and businesses. Among them are the world’s first production method for recombinant collagen, world class production technologies for biopharmaceuticals, and drug discovery based on cutting-edge research related to connective tissue and hypoxia, to name a few.
Oulu’s particular blend of modern biotech has its roots deeply set in academic research. A main player coordinating and supporting cutting-edge biotech research in the area is unquestionably Biocenter Oulu. Founded in 1986 within the University of Oulu, Biocenter Oulu is the first biocenter founded in Finland, and serves as a multidisciplinary umbrella organization. It gathers together the strongest assets of Oulu’s biotech and health related research, which is one of the university’s main research areas of focus.
Such excellence hasn’t been left unnoticed by the business world. One of the most successful biotech companies currently benefiting from Oulu-based research is US-based biotechnology company FibroGen, which concentrates on the development therapeutics. Their collaboration with the University of Oulu began back in 1994, when the company was searching for a partnering research group with specialized know-how on collagen research.
Oulu’s excellence in protein research and production also expands beyond extracellular matrix proteins. This high class protein research provides biotech companies in the Oulu region with strong expertise in many traditional biotech areas, including bioprocessing and recombinant protein production.
Key stakeholders in the ecosystem
BusinessOulu is in charge of implementing the City of Oulu’s industry policies, and providing growth companies with the services they require, in addition to promoting export, import, investments, and employment. With the help of its international partner network, BusinessOulu acts as a partner to companies and helps them grow, particularly in the north. BusinessOulu facilitates OuluHealth ecosystem collaboration.
Biobank Borealis of Northern Finland. The population of Northern Finland is uniquely homogeneous, which makes the sample collections especially valuable for research. Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, the University of Oulu, Nordlab and the hospital/healthcare districts of Lapland, Länsi-Pohja, Central Ostrobothnia and Kainuu have established a biobank in Northern Finland. The biobank operations started on 10 July 2015. The Biobank Borealis of Northern Finland offers the research community an access to professionally maintained sample collections linked to clinical health information and to accumulating research data as well as sample storage, management and data mining infrastructures.
Biocenter Oulu is a multidisciplinary umbrella organisation within the Biosciences and Health research focus area of the University of Oulu. Most of the current Biocenter Oulu research groups are working at the Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, and at the Faculty of Medicine and the University Hospital. The Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine houses the core facilities focusing on protein analysis and structural biology.
Centre for Health and Technology (CHT) is an innovation unit at the University of Oulu. CHT is building the innovation capacity in the OuluHealth ecosystem by reinforcing Research, Development and Innovation cooperation in the field of health and well-being. CHT focuses on the development of service structures and care solutions and on the creation of new business growth opportunities in the area of personalized health and care.
ECHAlliance Ecosystems bring together communities connecting the whole range of health, wellbeing and social care stakeholders interested in developing a joint health agenda across a specific country or region.
Ecosystems strengthen partnerships committed to accelerating the adoption of solutions to challenges in health and social care.
They’re all about:
- Breaking down the silos
- Developing lasting collaborations
- To create better patient care
- At lower costs
- And driving economic growth
Medical Research Center Oulu (MRC Oulu) is a strategic research organisation of the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District and the University of Oulu. MRC Oulu offers a multidisciplinary research environment for clinical, translational and health care socioeconomic research. Currently MRC Oulu consists of several different research groups from University of Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, and Oulu University Hospital ERVA-area.
Oulu University of Applied Sciences is a strong multidisciplinary university of applied sciences. We train competent and innovative professionals and actively cooperate in research and development. Together with our partners, we create new vitality to the region. Oulu University of Applied Sciences (OUAS) has approximately 8500 students and 640 staff members. Master´s Degree Programmes have around 400 students.
Oulu University Hospital is the northernmost of five university central hospitals in Finland. The hospital currently provides treatment for the people in the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District and northern Finland in general. It also offers medical services to Scandinavia and other parts of the world. The hospital utilizes the latest international knowhow and equipment in all specialized branches of medicine. Its’ various departments and wards employ a total staff of more than 4,500 highly trained professionals, including world-class surgeons and experts.
The University of Oulu is an international science university which creates innovation for the future, well-being, and knowledge through multidisciplinary research and education. Future innovation is about seeking, utilizing and applying new knowledge. The University of Oulu conducts research on people and culture in a changing living environment, as well as on the opportunities that new technology provides for improving the wellbeing of people and the environment. The University of Oulu is a multidisciplinary expert in Northerness.