OuluHealth Christmas Calendar

December 1, 2023

The OuluHealth Ecosystem


The OuluHealth ecosystem is one of the five innovation ecosystems of the Oulu Innovation Alliance. Having had its start a decade ago, it aims to strengthen the collaboration between the City of Oulu, universities, researchers, health and social care providers, and the private sector. OuluHealth also aims to accelerate the implementation of health innovations, boost the healthtech business, and create better solutions to benefit citizens.


Over the course of 10 years, the OuluHealth ecosystem has been continuously supporting a research and innovation culture along with health and life science companies to create the leading health technology centre. Oulu is continuously growing as a healthtech hub, as the city accommodates one of Europe’s most important communities for tech companies and stakeholders, as explained by OuluHealth’s Key Account Director, Heidi Tikänmäki: “The region has a strong heritage in engineering where wireless solutions and electronics have created a cornerstone for other more recent stacks of technology, such as machine learning and computer vision. The population of Oulu is extremely tech-savvy and as a location, it can provide full-stack resources for various needs in modern digital solutions”.


“Oulu is a tech city and Health and Life Science business core competencies are such as medical imaging, printed electronics, artificial intelligence, and 5G in Health research”, Heidi further explains. “For hospitals and home care, OuluHealth encompasses topics on the prevention of disease, identification of risks, and early diagnosis of diseases with the use of mHealth solutions, wirelessness, IoT, 5G technology, virtualization, sensors, data analysis, wearable technology, and data-based decision-making”.


Building a close network has been one of OuluHealth’s prominent actions and a key factor in its establishment as a strong healthtech hub. “I strongly believe our co-operation and multi-stakeholder set-up has been the key to our success. Together we get much further than anyone alone”, says Minna Komu, Network Director. Heidi adds to that: “We have the know-how and the entrepreneurial atmosphere here in Oulu where companies can easily get connections and grow their businesses”.


In 2023, many Health and Life Science companies from Oulu had great achievements, such as Monidor winning the tender for the remote monitoring of infusion therapy by the HUS Group, as shared here. Heidi also mentions Medanets’ expansion to the UK, NE Device SW’s solution being piloted and planned to be taken into use in Pakistan, and Finnadvance receiving the ISO 9001 certification.


When sharing highlights, Minna points out the recognition Oulu received recently: “Startup Blink’s assessment of the best cities for health technology development ranked Oulu in 30th place”, she shares. “We have also been successful in various projects funding, and to name one, we are now part of the European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH), HealthHub Finland, which was highly competitive funding. We have also worked hard for OYSTER, the digital health RDI centre of the future and it is great to see some achievements. We have also continued international networking, which is the key to the future”.

December 2, 2023

OYS TestLab


Located in the Oulu University Hospital, the OYS TestLab is a specialized healthcare products and services test environment that offers testers and developers an authentic hospital environment with genuine users, with premises that can replicate diverse hospital units. Companies that run tests in the TestLab also get the chance to receive feedback from real healthcare professionals.


Under the OYS2030 programme, the Oulu University Hospital is being rebuilt and aims to become the world’s smartest hospital, and that causes the lab to adjust to the renewal of the hospital operations as well. In 2023, the lab is adapting to a new organisation structure, says Development Manager and Head of Testing and Innovations Timo Alalääkkölä. “The new wellbeing services county, Pohde, was started officially at the beginning of this year, and it has been a major transformation in how healthcare is provided in Finland. That is a big change for the operation of the University Hospital and how primary care is provided”.


Among the highlights of the work done in 2023, Alalääkkölä shares that the quality of Oulu Innovation Alliance activities has increased. “We have been taking a step forward in this collaboration with other Innovation Alliance organisations. There is a really good contact between health and research operators in the region”. He also highlights the addition of OuluHealth Labs labels to their cooperation with companies and other partners: “If they are doing a collaboration with us, testing or co-creating something, we can provide them with the OuluHealth Labs label, which is like a recognition of the good work completed with us”.


For 2024, the OYS TestLab has plans for testing and co-creation: “We will be focusing on need-bases development and need-based co-creation, so we want to provide solutions for the major current challenges in the healthcare system”, says Alalääkkölä. “We are also focusing on early-phase validation of new technologies and new solutions that will be taken into use. We want to know the added value of new solutions in real operations”.


Companies interested in submitting testing and co-creation enquiries can reach the team via the electronic contact form for all of the OuluHealth Labs.


You can also check an article about the OYS TestLab here.

December 3, 2023



Part of the OuluHealth Labs, the Mittlab is a medical imaging teaching and testing laboratory located at the premises of the Oulu University Hospital. Established in 2021 in a European Regional Fund Project in collaboration between the University of Oulu and the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, the Mittlab is one of the many environments in Oulu that serve as an innovation platform for education and product development purposes, and they are open to customers from Finland and abroad.


Comprising various physical and virtual components, the lab includes radiography, mammography, a cone-beam CT system, a conventional CT system, phantoms, radiation dose meters, 360°-virtual simulation environments of imaging suites, virtualized imaging device interfaces, and virtual 3D anatomy environments.


The Mittlab enables pervasive cooperation and provides valuable feedback for every phase of an R&D process. In 2023, for example, Njord Medtech, a company from Sweden, tested their patient transfer device, Atle®180, in the Mittlab. The solution is a motorised medical device used to facilitate horizontal patient transfers in healthcare, therefore easing caregivers’ work and increasing the quality of patient care. You can read more about the testing of this solution here.


Along with product development, the Mittlab is also an exceptional environment for healthcare professionals to be able to familiarize themselves with new healthcare solutions, as well as for students in the field of healthcare to increase their knowledge and practice their skills.


The OuluHealth Labs are available for testing for companies from Finland and abroad. Interested parties can submit proposals via the contact form or by contacting the labs directly.

December 4, 2023



OuluHealth Labs is a co-creation platform that enables cooperation between health and social care providers, research and innovation organizations, and companies. The OuluHealth Labs provide a specialized environment and end-users’ feedback for every phase of the development of health innovations. The goal of OuluHealth Labs is to promote the introduction of new products and services to the healthcare market and to use them to enhance social and healthcare processes to promote citizens’ wellbeing.


One of those labs is the Oamk SimLab, located at the Oulu University of Applied Sciences. Established in 2010, it has expanded extensively over the years. The facilities cover bioanalytics, nursing and emergency nursing, optometry, oral health care, radiography, midwifery, and radiation therapy, as well as rehabilitation learning, testing, and development environments with related equipment. The studios in the facilities can be combined and transformed into different spaces, ranging from individual patient situations to accident and disaster training. Within that scope, the training environment can become a patient’s home, a daycare centre, a hospital, or even a road accident scenario.


The Oamk SimLab is not only used for the testing and development of health solutions, but also for educational purposes. The lab works as a platform for students to expand their knowledge and practical skills. Companies testing their solutions in the environment can, therefore, gain valuable feedback from students and teachers, which helps the solution cater more properly to the current and future needs of healthcare.


One of the cases that stood out this year was the one conducted with Emedpatch LTD: “Students of different ages tested the prototype of their cough measurement device”, explains Eija Hautala, Senior Lecturer at Oulu University of Applied Sciences. She also mentions the collaboration between the companies and students, as in the case of Topcon Healthcare Solutions: “The company wanted to receive feedback from nursing and optometry students on the optical software they developed”. The case is further explored in this article.


Companies interested in submitting testing and co-creation enquiries can reach the team via the electronic contact form for all of the OuluHealth Labs.

December 5, 2023

OuluHealth Labs Labels


The OuluHealth Labs provide a unique environment in Oulu, allowing companies and social and healthcare professionals to develop new solutions in authentic conditions, with genuine users. Innovations can be tested through the entire service chain, from private homes to health centres and hospitals.


OuluHealth Labs has developed a systematic approach to evaluate digital and technological solutions and innovations. Based on this evaluation process, the OuluHealth Labs can give companies the OuluHealth Labs Label as an acknowledgment of the solution that has passed the process. Labels are divided into three different categories: tested, co-created, and approved. Each category caters to different criteria. You can read more about these criteria here.


The tested label is intended for the solution that is targeted at the social and healthcare sectors and is still being developed, or a solution that already exists, but is not directly targeted at the social and healthcare sectors. In the latter case, a company wants to test the feasibility of its solution in said sectors.


The co-created label is intended for the solution or idea whose maturity is to be developed or a solution or idea whose feasibility is intended to be developed in the social and healthcare context.


Finally, the approved label is intended for a solution that already exists and is targeted at the social and healthcare sectors.


The first awarded OuluHealth Labs label was granted to NE Device SW’s solution, Vitacam. NE Device SW developed and successfully tested their innovation in the OYS TestLab, posteriorly receiving the label, which can be a good asset to support the company’s marketing and communication activities. You can read more about NE Device SW’s experience here.


The OuluHealth Labs are available for testing for companies from Finland and abroad. Interested parties can submit proposals via the contact form or by contacting the labs directly.

December 6, 2023



The Oulu University Hospital is currently being rebuilt and renewed through the OYS2030 programme. With a long-term development programme, new facilities are being built and functions are being renewed in order to tackle the future challenges in specialized medical care. With the vision to become “the world’s smartest hospital”, the OYS2030 programme combines the newest technologies, modern facilities, and up-to-date expertise to ensure effective healthcare. Moreover, OYS2030 believes that a smart hospital is also fully accessible, and client- and patient-oriented, offering individual and humane treatment. Through close cooperation with partners, OYS aims to ensure the vitality of healthcare in Northern Finland and the advancement of healthcare through research.


The new hospital facilities will occupy a smaller area but will be more efficient in its use of space. User and activity-centred planning have played a key role in this: hospital staff have participated since the early stages in the design of their own future operations and the facilities, equipment, and systems they require.


This year, the OYS2030 programme achieved an important recognition: it won an award in the Ashikaga-Nikken Excellence Award for Green Hospitals category of the International Hospital Federation’s IHF Awards 2023. In this category, hospitals and healthcare organizations promoting sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives were nominated. More than 500 projects from 43 countries were included in the IHF Awards 2023, with the most distinguished ones being honoured in Lisbon on the 26th of October. You can read more about the award here.


Environmental sustainability and sustainable development are being taken into account during the OYS renewal programme, both during construction and in the planning of the hospital’s future operations. Among their measures to promote more sustainable operations, the hospital aims to, for example, improve energy efficiency when compared to the old hospital. New digital solutions will also contribute to the reduction of the hospital’s carbon footprint. In the future, remote medical services and other digital service channels will enable the hospital’s patients to not only have a pleasant but also ecological alternative to engage with the hospital, with the possibility to do so even in the comfort of their own homes.

December 7, 2023



Among the Oulu University Hospital facilities, there is a very important Centre for Clinical Skills – Knoppi, a joint learning centre of the Northern Ostrobothnia Wellbeing Services County and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu.


Knoppi organizes training for the personnel of the hospital district, as well as training for medical students, mainly from the third, fourth, and fifth years, according to Anne Riihijärvi, Special Designer. “The most common training procedures are cannulation training, injection training, wound suturing, hand disinfection, and sterile dressing for the OR”, she shares. “We also have many lessons and classes. Medical students are taught by clinical specialists who work in the hospital, such as anesthesiologists and surgeons. Students also have self-activated training, which means that they come to Knoppi and practice by themselves, usually cannulation and suturation. It is about 10 to 50 students per week, and if they need any help, I can help them”.


Knoppi is, according to Riihijärvi, a special place. “We offer not just facilities and supplies for practicing, but also our knowledge and professional competence. The staff at Knoppi is very easy to approach, and we do our best so that users would like to visit us and like to spend some time here”, she explains. Anne also highlights the facilities’ good location – right at the University Hospital, next to the Faculty of Medicine.


For the next year, there are already exciting plans in store: “We are just about to start training with VR glasses. The Faculty of Medicine has five pieces of VR sets, and medical students can practice surgical procedures and aseptic competence with them”.

December 8, 2023

BusinessOulu’s International Affairs


Many companies strive for internationalization, which can be a solid path to growth. This step, however, calls for careful preparation – knowing the target market, having the right networks, and securing financing are important aspects for a company to go beyond Finland. BusinessOulu’s International Affairs is a key piece for that.


Petri Karinen is the Head of International Affairs. His work involves all services that are provided to companies in the context of internationalization – this means bringing in different delegations from different countries to find cooperation partners, developing partnerships, and building international networks for companies in their target market areas, such as all the Nordic countries, and other countries in Europe and beyond. “To simplify, I basically matchmake, match people and companies together”, he explains.


Over the years, OuluHealth has been working in international cooperation with countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and the USA, for instance. But there are other opportunities coming up, as well: “We are currently trying to build up a health delegation to Tromsø, Norway. At the beginning of the next year, there is a big event in Tromsø, and now we are trying to find how many Oulu companies from the health sector would like to go and seek the Norwegian market”, Karinen shares. Fairs and events are an important piece of the backbone of International Affairs’ work: “They help open the doors for companies. We take different companies from the Oulu region, and then we have a local partner, and we matchmake them. Either we can travel to Spain, Germany, France, or somewhere else, or the companies can come here”.


When it comes to international health companies bringing their delegations to Oulu, Karinen points out that the OuluHealth Labs serve as an attractor: “The OYS TestLab, for example, brings a lot of delegations from different countries to visit Oulu”. This aligns with what a lot of international companies look for when contacting BusinessOulu: “Because our reach is very heavily concentrated on R&D results and development work, a lot of companies look for partners for research and development for their own products. They may need some kind of capabilities or know-how, and they are trying to find those by using us as a bridge because we know our companies very well”. 


Karinen also explains how the work is done to connect international and local Oulu companies: “We collect a list of companies that would be suitable to start a discussion with and make the connection. And nowadays, it is much easier. Before, we always had to travel, but now we can just use Teams or Zoom. But after that initial discussion, something needs to happen. We need to push the companies to go further”.

December 9, 2023

Studying in Oulu


Niyati Kandikanti completed a dual master’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the University of Oulu. Her studies were conducted partly in the Kontinkangas campus, in Oulu, and partly in Germany. Originally from India, Niyati chose Oulu as a city to live in due to the fact that the University of Oulu is one of the few universities in Finland providing higher education in the Life Sciences field. “I ultimately chose the University of Oulu to experience the well-reputed education system in Finland and the adventure of living in a Nordic city”, she says.


“At the University of Oulu, I was able to work in multidisciplinary research projects involving international research teams from various scientific backgrounds”, she shares. She could also choose the courses or internships of her interest to complete her degree. “For me personally, I am happy about the practical lab skills I have obtained, something that textbooks or literature cannot always substitute for”.


While living in Oulu, Niyati found herself engaged in student council activities, community activities, hobbies, and new friendships. “Studying in Oulu was a wonderful opportunity for me to fulfill my career goals while also experiencing personal growth”. She would recommend the experience of studying in Oulu to others, as well: “If you’re someone looking to study in a respected Finnish university, love the Nordic nature, are keen on snow sports, want to enjoy your student life, have specific career goals and perhaps have a limitation on budget, I would recommend Oulu”. She points out what makes the city an attractive student destination: “its great programmes, modern campus facilities, active student culture, helpful mentors all around, and its jaw-dropping, beautiful seasons!”

December 10, 2023

OuluHealth’s Newsletter


The Health & Life Science Newsletter is a great way to stay up to date with all the latest information about OuluHealth and its stakeholders. Released every other month, it features diverse pieces of information about healthtech companies in the Oulu region, as well as highlights of upcoming events – in Oulu, other places in Finland, and abroad – that can be of interest to companies and individuals.  


The previous editions of the Health & Life Science Newsletter can be accessed via BusinessOulu’s archive. In order to receive the newest editions, subscribe to the newsletter here. We hope you enjoy the next edition – it will for sure feature a lot of interesting pieces!

December 11, 2023

Polar Bear Pitching


How much would you be willing to endure to make your business dream come true?


Polar Bear Pitching is the world’s coolest start-up event! Instead of a regular stage, entrepreneurs pitch in an ice hole in the frozen Baltic Sea. There is no time limit for the pitches – participants can speak for as long as they can stand submerged in waist-deep cold water. The event, a good example of perseverance, has been giving Finnish and foreign start-ups a platform to gain visibility and attract valuable funding opportunities.


After a hiatus, the event will be back in 2024, on the 29th of February. “Reviving Polar Bear Pitching after a four-year hiatus has been an exciting journey. With BusinessOulu taking the lead, the event is making a robust comeback, creating stronger ties within the Finnish startup ecosystem and beyond”, explains Viera Karam, Startup Program Manager at BusinessOulu. “The most exciting aspect is the mutually nurturing relationship we’re building – as Polar Bear Pitching gains momentum globally, it strengthens our international partnerships turning the unique Avanto Competition into a global phenomenon”.


Polar Bear Pitching is for sure an event that displays not only entrepreneurs’ resilience and commitment, but also Finland’s and Oulu’s uniqueness. And what better place to hold a startup competition than one where innovations can thrive? “Finland is a cradle of world-class technologies! With the 6G Flagship Program and industry titans like Oura, Polar, and Fingersoft, Oulu embodies the essence of Finnish innovation”, says Viera. “Leveraging over 50 years of experience in wireless communications, we are at the forefront of game-changing solutions in healthtech, cleantech and other industries. With our know-how and R&D environments, Oulu is not just a place to start a business, it is a launchpad to transform any innovative concept into a market-ready product”.


Whether you are already familiar with the event or not, you can certainly expect great opportunities to dive deep into the inspiring innovations from the North – and this time with fresh additions to the event. “With our mission to empower startups, you can still expect the Avanto Competition at Polar Bear Pitching. However, our morning conference will undergo a transformation spotlighting the tech expertise of Finland”, Viera shares. “IceTech Summit, led by ICTOulu, has a dedicated focus on cutting-edge topics like AI Large Language Models, Metaverse, and Printed Intelligence”. The new format aims to enhance the event, as Viera explains: “It will offer deeper insights into the ground-breaking technologies for our visitors”.


You get an extra day next year – so why not spend it in Finland?

December 12, 2023

OuluHealth’s Polar Bear Pitching Side Event: Northern Freeze


Polar Bear Pitching is surely a unique event. With its next edition being held on the 29th of February, 2024, the event dares entrepreneurs to be different and to push the boundaries of what they are willing to endure in the pursuit of their dreams.


OuluHealth is happy to be part of this amazing experience and to invite you to the Polar Bear Pitching Side Event – Northern Freeze!


“The event brings companies an opportunity to expand their network of contacts, learn more about the support our team offers to make them grow and internationalize, as well as listen to investors’ and health companies’ pitches”, explains Joanna Seppänen, Health and Life Science Coordinator.


With the slogan “It may be freezing cold, but it is a hot time for networking”, the event will give health technology innovators from Oulu the chance to present their solutions to investors and other participants, with a speaking slot of a maximum of five minutes. Those interested can register here and contact the team for more information about speaking opportunities. “We invite investors, innovative health companies, OuluHealth’s supporters, and health enthusiasts to spend an afternoon with us, to find out more about our activities and health innovations developed in our region, to establish new contacts, as well as to enjoy a wonderful winter scenery in Oulu getting ready for the Polar Bear Pitching event that kicks off the next day”, Joanna shares.


Just like Polar Bear Pitching, this side event is one you should not miss. “Organizing or coordinating events is closely related to building a special atmosphere that brings participants together and makes them feel comfortable enough to engage in discussions and express their own opinions”, Joanna says. “This is also the case of Northern Freeze”.

December 13, 2023

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December 14, 2023

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December 15, 2023

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December 16, 2023

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December 17, 2023

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December 18, 2023

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December 19, 2023

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December 20, 2023

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December 21, 2023

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December 22, 2023

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December 23, 2023

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December 24, 2023

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