Partnerships and ecosystem building
“Ecosystems” which support the development of strong international research and the facilitation of innovations are important for research and economies to prosper. For this, a relevant degree of coordinating actions is required.
For us at Aalto University to work closely together with physicians, other researchers, patients, and the end users of technologies is in the very nature of the health and wellbeing research area. We have always needed this for much of our research in technologies and physiology. Similarly, we also need tangible collaborations with healthcare-system leaders, physicians, and political and civil-service decision-makers in our research on healthcare operations management, healthcare policy, and the architectures of healthcare facilities.
Starting from the decades-long background that we have in deep hospital and medical-school collaboration, we are committed to developing broader and yet deeper collaboration with our partner institutions so that we can jointly build a more efficient ecosystem for health-related research and innovations in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Health Capital Helsinki.
Among Aalto University’s important collaborations in the health and wellbeing area, we are also developing so-called profiling and other collaborations with Finnish engineering research institutions as outlined in a section below.
Health Capital Helsinki
Since 2015, we are collaborating with our key partners for building Health Capital Helsinki, an ambitious consortium for making the Helsinki metropolitan region the Number 1 Northern European region and a top European region in innovations and business in the life sciences and health technologies. This significant innovation policy action by the partners is our joint response to the national Health Sector Growth Strategy for Research and Innovation Activities.
Universities have an important role in this as a base for leading research, including translational research, and the connected process of technology transfer.
As the first phase of building Health Capital Helsinki, Aalto University started in 2015 to deepen, broaden, and systematize its traditional collaboration in health and wellbeing research with the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) and with the University of Helsinki, where our most important collaborations are with the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, and the new Helsinki Life Science Center. A central office for the management of Health Capital Helsinki was established.
As the second phase, we are bringing more companies and other parties such as research institutes and public administration into the sphere of deepened collaboration.
Health Capital Helsinki will work to streamline how hospitals and universities support companies (and each other) as research and innovation platforms, including support for joint work in ideation, research, development, and validation.
Strengthening international collaborations is also a key focus of Health Capital Helsinki.
The management of Health Capital Helsinki leads this process with the direction and support of Health Capital Helsinki’s board (contact for Aalto University: Markus Mäkelä.)
Finnish Engineering Research Institutions
Aalto Health Platform is also engaged in a discussions process on mutual profiling decisions in the areas of medical technologies with our collaborators in several Finnish universities of technology and at the VTT Technical Research Centre. Establishing complementary profiles with scientifically and technologically strong focus areas is important for Finnish universities of technology, and Aalto University is proactively participating in this.
These discussions simultaneously aim at improving technology transfer from research to business – including when university hospitals and other healthcare-provision institutions serve as innovation platforms and testbeds for the technologies, in the fashion outlined above for the Health Capital Helsinki consortium. Moreover, strengthening international collaborations in research is a focus also in this collaboration.