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Students took a deep-dive into innovation and entrepreneurship in the health industry

Students deepened their knowledge on health technology innovation and the commercialization of new technologies and business models during the HealthTech Linkage course in spring 2023.
Students at the HealthTech Linkage course 2023

Students from Aalto and University of Helsinki learned about the health care system, medical device innovation and commercialization, and digital health-related services, among others, at the HealthTech Linkage course. Altogether ten guest speakers provided insights into entrepreneurship, innovation and business incubation. The course serves as a community building platform, linking together students from diverse backgrounds with professionals from every corner of the healthtech industry. The course is limited to 20 students and is open for master students at Aalto and University of Helsinki. 

”I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the HealthTech Linkage course, which is one of the few that integrates industry and entrepreneurship into the world of science. From the insightful sessions with industry experts to the fascinating excursions, this course truly had it all. The innovation challenge was a real highlight for me, and I learned important skills that I'll carry with me into my future work. However, what made this course truly special was the chance to meet and connect with like-minded peers who became life-long friends,” says Ghida Khalife, a M.Sc. Student in Translational Medicine at the University of Helsinki. 

Students solve real-life challenges for companies  

As part of the course the students first did a two-week group project on how to improve the treatment of Parkinson patients in the Finnish healthcare system. After that they continued with a six-week group project analyzing and providing a solution to a business problem for a company. 

There were lots of contributors to the course in addition to the students – 10 teaching staff, 10 guest lecturers and many other company representatives. Each student got an individual mentor.

The challenges the students were solving were:  

  • Bayer: In clinical trials, how to better include caregivers like family members of trial participants 
  • Nordic Healthcare Group: How to improve staff satisfaction and retention to provide better service in public dental care
  • Gluce: How to commercialize a training app through motivating individuals to train more and 
  • Kring Ventures: How to commercialize a 3D printed shoe insole that, among other things, can relieve pain and increase comfort.

“We provided a student team with a project that really challenged them. I was quite impressed by the work of the students and their ability to engage with various healthcare stakeholders and patients to validate an entrepreneurial opportunity in a rather short amount of time,” tells Christoph Brandin, a partner at the Copenhagen-based venture studio Kring Ventures. 

At the final event on 20 April the students presented their solutions to the mentors and guest lecturers, other entrepreneurs, representatives of large companies, teachers and other industry stakeholders with also guests from Denmark and Germany. The event was hosted by Bayer Nordics at their headquarters in Tapiola. A lot of valuable discussions were held and interesting contacts formed during the event.

“It was a great experience to contribute to the course. The community event created an opportunity to make contacts with others players in the industry and will certainly help to intensify the collaboration in the Nordic health tech ecosystem,” says Christoph Brandin. 

Meri Helleranta, a partner at Courage Ventures, an investor focusing on the Nordic health industry, said: “I was quite impressed by the student presentations. They were on par if not better than what I have seen from entrepreneurs.”

About the HealthTech Linkage course 

This interdisciplinary course is run by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at Aalto University and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki. Students come from diverse master’s programs like Master’s Programme in Life Science Technologies, Master’s Programme in Industrial Engineering & Management and Master’s Programme in Economics at Aalto University and Master’s Programme in Translational Medicine, Neuroscience and Physiology at University of Helsinki. The course is open to all master’s level students from Aalto University and University of Helsinki, worth 10 ECTS credits, and limited to 20 participants. 

The course will take place again in spring 2024. More information can be found at: https://healthtechlinkage.aalto.fi

Program Director

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