Finnish, Chinese, English – on this one evening in March, the lobby of Otakaari 3 was humming with happy voices speaking a variety of languages. Health technology is a growing global sector, and the premises were full at the opening of the Aalto University's Health Technology House.
‘It is wonderful to see such a great number of representatives from different fields here today – after all, a similar variety is very descriptive of Aalto as well,’ said Vice President Tuija Pulkkinen in high spirits.
‘Actually, health technology combines all the themes that are important to us: entrepreneurship, interdisciplinarity and responding to social challenges,’
Professor Ari Koskelainen from the Deparment of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering who presided at the opening has also headed the planning work of the Health Technology House.
Health and well-being is also one of Aalto's areas of priority, and the research-group community Aalto Health Platform has been providing support for the development of the field for more than a year. The Health Technology House will further enhance this cooperation by bringing the Aalto staff doing research in equipment technology and neuroscience under one roof. This group includes top experts in such fields as biophysics, brain imaging and stimulation, cognitive neuroscience, signal processing and rehabilitation equipment. The house is also a centre of teaching, and, in the future, will provide premises for health technology companies as well. Doing things together will give rise to innovations that will benefit both individual people and the Finnish economy.
‘Health technology is a unique opportunity for us – but we need to seize the opportunity rapidly,’ underscored Professor Raimo Sepponen, chairman of Aalto Health Platform.
The importance of data increases
The advances in health technology require a lot of research, for which companies do not always have opportunities on their own. Clinical collaboration [with healthcare providers] is often vital, but others may be important too.
Matti E. Lehtonen (in the midlle) presents the CARESCAPE B650 patient monitors donated to Aalto by GE Healthcare Finland. GE Healthcare and Aalto University already work together in areas such as theses and doctoral dissertations. In the future, the partners aim to expand their collaboration, particularly in the fields of data analytics and machine learning.
‘We need to be competitive to be able to operate in Finland, and therefore collaboration with partners like Aalto, VTT and Tekes is important to us,’ emphasised Matti E. Lehtonen, General Manager of GE Healthcare’s global Anesthesia and Respiratory Care business and Chairman of the Board of GE Healthcare Finland.
‘In the future, major healthcare challenges need to be solved in terms of service access, quality and costs. Therefore, producing bigger and better machines is simply not sufficient. Instead, we develop systems which utilize patient data to anticipate the need of care at the earliest stage possible.
The business activities of the Finnish Planmeca, one of the global giants within the dental care technology, are also changing at a rapid pace.
‘In the future, the biggest innovations will derive from software,’ said Tuomas Lokki, the company's Senior Vice President.
‘Up to 85 per cent of our product development engineers are already working with software development. Cooperation with Aalto is important for us particularly in the fields of imaging and artificial intelligence. And, naturally, we also want to find new talents here. Within the field of health technology, we are already starting to experience lack of experts, and we constantly need more of them!’
Aalto Health Platform supported the event
- Health Platform is a community of Aalto professors working in the fields of health and well-being and their research groups, with an office in the Health Technology House.
- The members of the community include 67 research groups from 17 Aalto departments, representing all the six schools.
- The objective of the Health Platform is to promote research and innovation activities within the field by developing cooperation both between research groups and external partners; in the metropolitan region as part of the Health Capital Helsinki alliance, and both at the national and international levels.
- The Health Platform also develops the university's support functions for innovation and growth companies within the fields of health and well-being.
- For stakeholders, the Health Platform offers a contact point to six research subareas: the devices, neuroscience, bio- and chemical technologies, information technology, management and processes, and architecture and design of the Health and Wellbeing sector.
- The Health Platform is headed by Markus Mäkelä, Executive in Residence.
- For more information on Aalto Health Platform, please visit health.aalto.fi