Oulu universities join forces for more effective university–company collaboration
The University of Oulu has a reputation for supporting new ideas and turning them into successful businesses. Because many promising innovations and commercial solutions are research-based, it was natural for the University of Oulu and the Oulu University of Applied Sciences to establish the University Innovation Centre (UIC) to gather various services available for entrepreneurs and researchers in one place.
The UIC opened its door on 4 September 2019 during an official ceremony held at the University of Oulu’s premises. The centre is located at the Linnanmaa Campus and will also have a presence in the new Kontinkangas Tellus Arena.
A wide range of new services
The main intent is to create a new cooperation model and turn commercialisable ideas into promising businesses. The UIC will offer support – from training to professional advice on licensing and international research projects. In addition, it will provide access to various spaces on the university grounds, such as laboratories and infrastructure services to support product development.
‘Commercialisation of research results will cover, for example, examination and development of commercial opportunities both in the project application phase and later on during projects as well as investigation of business and market opportunities for inventions. In addition, the UIC will focus on elaboration of business ideas arising from research, preparation of TUTL proposals and composition of the TUTL team together with the research team and aid in finding financing for research-based start-ups,’ comments Jouko Uusitalo, Business Development Manager at the University of Oulu.
UIC will serve researchers, entrepreneurs and students interested in entrepreneurship. The goal is to generate the establishment of five to seven new companies every year. The centre will also be beneficial for companies that already operate in the market, as it will support them, for example, in introducing new commercial activities.
Kaisa Still, a specialist in business collaboration at the UIC highlights that the centre will provide unique and easy access to the expertise of almost 25,000 academic and research staff from both the University of Oulu and the Oulu University of Applied Sciences. Its activities will be fuelled with yearly research funding of about €100 million.
How to combine research and business?
The centre will work with researchers in catalysing novel ideas and research results into business—towards IPR and start-ups. Expertise, networks and tools will be available—everything that new ideas need to grow. For example, Avanto entrepreneurship programme will provide funding for a proof-of-concept phase and help researchers find relevant business partners.
‘We want to make this collaboration as easy as possible for companies. Universities are versatile and multidisciplinary partners for novel ideas, solutions, talent and knowledge in many forms. The UIC aims to match business needs with the university offering to support already existing collaborations and create new ones. Our goal is to support research and work together to create positive societal and economic impacts as well as develop innovations. The more we know about companies’ vision of the future and their challenges in getting there, the better we can help. The key question always refers to what we can do together that none of us can do alone,’ says Still.
In addition, advisors from BusinessOulu, who will be available for consultation at the UIC every Tuesday, will complement the team of university personnel.
‘We want to encourage companies to come and engage with the innovation community in our spaces, so let us know what kind of meetings and interactions we can help you with,’ concludes Still.
Companies interested in cooperation may contact the centre directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also welcome to fill out an online contact form to receive more detailed information.
IPR and Technology Transfer, University of Oulu
Business Collaboration, University of Oulu
Business Development, University of Oulu
Text: Joanna Seppänen, Health & Life Science, BusinessOulu
Image: University Innovation Centre