Tekes provides funding for two new strategic research openings

The fields are to be innovative pharmaceuticals and emerging market innovations.

Tekes has decided to fund two strategic research openings. One of the research projects aims to revolutionize the treatment of heart and brain diseases, while the other will improve the expertise and business opportunities for companies in emerging markets.

These strategic research openings are bold projects aiming to make serious breakthroughs that will lay the foundation for entirely new areas of business.

"The projects combine scientific ambition with a strong vision of future business opportunities," says Director Pekka Kahri from Tekes. 

"We want to encourage leading Finnish research teams to address complex issues and create something radically new."

The strategic research openings must be ambitious and have a high degree of scientific vision, as well as a clear vision of how they will be exploited by business and an excellent degree of management. So far, Tekes has funded a total of five strategic research openings. The next application period will close on 28 February 2014.

New strategic research openings:

The New Global: Co-Creating Frugal and Reverse Innovation in Complex Global Systems

Partners: several groups from the Aalto University
Coordinator: professor Minna Halme, Aalto University
Tekes funding: 1,8 million euros for 2014 - 2015

Rapid population and economic growth in emerging markets is leading to a shift in global dynamics. The need to serve this growing middle class, despite increasing scarcity of natural resources, will trigger future innovations that are resource scarce, affordable as well as socially and technically smart (frugal innovation). When these innovations are adapted to the condition of developed economies (reverse innovation), they may be disruptive and very price competitive.

The New Global project aims to build Finnish national capabilities to engage in frugal and reverse innovation so as to benefit from their future market potential both in emerging and developed markets.

The required knowledge and capabilities will be generated through action research. Pioneering companies, ranging from start-ups, SME's and larger companies, join to co-create, rapidly prototype and test innovations in selected emerging economies. The project takes a systemic approach, engaging multiple stakeholders and disciplines in the innovation process.

The New Global project combines the advanced knowledge in the different schools of Aalto University in the areas of inclusive business, renewable energy technologies, design thinking, architecture and water engineering. A well-established global network of partners allows for innovation activities that are deeply embedded in the local contexts of emerging markets.


3i - Innovative Induction Initiative

Partners: University of Helsinki, Aalto University
Coordinator: professor Heikki Ruskoaho, University of Helsinki
Tekes funding: 4,8 million euros for 2014-2016

The vision of the project is to enhance regeneration by induction of new cells locally in the heart and brain by innovative pharmaceuticals and drug delivery systems. If successful, this will revolutionize the treatment of heart and brain diseases and impact on therapeutic markets. The partners of this radical and challenging Large Strategic Opening are the University of Helsinki, Aalto University and Helsinki University Central Hospital, combining expertise in areas of life sciences, chemistry, physics, engineering sciences and medicine in an innovative fashion.

Ischemic heart disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury and degenerative brain diseases are today major global causes of death and drivers of the healthcare budget.  In this unique 3i-project, cardiac and neural cells will be created by the induction of new cells from stem cells, or cellular reprogramming, through the use of novel drugs. There is also a great potential to develop nano-drug formulations for commercial purposes, particularly at the pharmaceutical industry level, and cost-effective diagnostics tests for early diagnosis of degenerative diseases based on fast monitoring of biomarkers using microchips.

Commercialisation expertise will be accessed through Helsinki Innovation Services Ltd (HIS), a company owned by the University of Helsinki and responsible for all innovation-related matters at the University. The proposed platform will generate a range of technology assets of significant commercial value for both new spin-out opportunities and existing companies in Finland. In the project, a new model for the promotion of drug development encompassing academia and industry will be developed.

More information

Director Pekka Kahri, Tekes
Tel. +358 50 5577 684