Cooperation and impact

Creating sustainability through materials and systems


Inventions and business ideas

The research at the university produces many kinds of results: new knowledge, biological materials, software, databases, inventions and business ideas. These provide the basis for publications and collaborative projects but also for creating new business.

Employees of the university make about 60 invention disclosures annually. About 20 % of them come from the focus area of Creating sustainability through materials and systems. Some of inventions are directly transferred to companies for further development whereas few are patented by the university and commercialised through new startups or licensing.

Inventions and business ideas can be developed further e.g. in Tekes funded TUTLI-projects. Such funding aims to generate new research based business (new startups or licenses). 



Annually 2-4 new research-based startups are established. Altogether more than 60 research-based startups have emerged from the University of Oulu in the last ten years. Some of them are coming from the research made at the research focus area of Creating sustainability through materials and systems. For example

  • Luxmet develops control systems for the steel and metal industries. Solutions enable the making of real time measurements directly from the high temperature metallurgical processes.
  • Meoline develops a field-compatible real-time trace heavy metal analyzer for industrial discharge waters.
  • Sapotech offers solutions for online monitoring and quality assessment of high temperature processes for the metallurgical industries.
  • Sensmet develops a micro-plasma technology which allows real-time and simultaneous monitoring of tens of elements in industrial water processes as well as in environmental waters like in lakes, rivers and oceans.
  • SFTec creates solutions for sustainable and resource efficient material handling and to increase the cost efficiency of bioenergy production.


Networks and partners

The University of Oulu is a member of Oulu Innovation Alliance (OIA) between public and private operators, which have agreed to steer research, development and innovation activities in Oulu within five ecosystems. The OIA`s Industry 2026 ecosystem is headed by the University of Oulu, with the focus on the Oulu area’s top research and know-how into industries’ actual needs to usher industry of the future, like circular economy, and bio and machine industries.

The Kajaani University Consortium (KUC), coordinated by the University of Oulu, is a networked academic community focused on scientific research, university teaching and community relations. The objective is to intensify cooperation between the universities and to develop collaboration with regional universities of applied sciences, business and commerce. The Kajaani University Consortium consists of four networked universities (Eastern Finland, Lapland, Jyväskylä and Oulu) that have units in Kajaani and Sotkamo. The University of Oulu’s operations focus on bioeconomy, cleantech and health-related topics.

Kerttu Saalasti Institute (KSI), in the Oulu South region, is an internationally active research institute at the University of Oulu. The institute participates in the development of enterprises and innovation environment by strengthening international orientation, RDI activity and expertise mainly through projects together with education and development organisations as well as municipalities, sub-regions and enterprises.

Biovalley Kokkola in the Biovalley region, operates the Luke and GTK research institutes, as well as the Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius and the Kerttu Saalasti Institute.

Tulanet is a network of the seven Finnish research institutes. The network consolidates the impact of research by providing its points of views to science and research politics. It promotes interdisciplinary research and fortifies expertise work that supports decision-making. Tulanet also promotes cooperation between universities, business life, state administrations, and other stakeholders.

CASR - the Centre for Advanced Steel Research covers 60 researchers in eight research units crossing two faculties of the University of Oulu. It forms a national centre of expertise focusing on the chemical, mechanical and physical metallurgy of steels, including control and information engineering and modelling.

The Finnish Geosciences Research Laboratory is a joint collaboration of Helsinki, Oulu, Aalto and Turku Universities, Åbo Akademi, and the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK).

The Ministry of the Environment has appointed a working group 2015 -2018 to prepare Finland’s association into the work of Intergovernmental panel on climate change IPCC. The working group is led by the Finnish Meteorological Institute and Professor Juha Pekka Lunkka is the representative of the University of Oulu in this group.

EIT Raw Materials, initiated by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is the largest and strongest consortium in the raw materials sector worldwide. It was founded to promote cooperation through the entire innovation chain, from education to research, innovation and entrepreneurship. EIT Raw Materials unites the most remarkable universities, research institutions and businesses of the field. They collaborate on finding new, innovative solutions to secure the supplies and improve the raw materials sector all along its value chain – from extraction to processing, from recycling to reuse. The University of Oulu is one of the core partners of EIT Raw Materials and belongs to EIT Raw Materials Baltic Sea co-location centre. Contact person: professor Kauko Leiviskä.

SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency) is a European Association committed to manage and implement the SPIRE Public-Private Partnership. It represents innovative process industries, 20% of the total European manufacturing sector in employment and turnover, and more than 130 industrial and research process stakeholders from over a dozen countries spread throughout Europe. SPIRE brings together cement, ceramics, chemicals, engineering, minerals and ores, non-ferrous metals, steel and water sectors, several being world-leading sectors operating from Europe. The University of Oulu joined the partnership in 2013.

CLIC Innovation is an open innovation cluster with the mission of creating breakthrough solutions in bioeconomy, energy and cleantech. CLIC Innovation coordinates research, development and innovation (R&D&I) project portfolios to construct systemic solutions that are beyond the resources of individual operators. The cluster is a cross-organisational fast-moving network. The shareholders of the nonprofit CLIC Innovation Ltd include 30 companies and 17 universities and research institutions, the University of Oulu being one of these.

Key international research infrastructures in the focus area include the Finnish Grid and Cloud Infrastructure FGCI and material- and atmospheric science beamline FinEstBeAMS (MAX IV Laboratory) where the University of Oulu coordinates the Finnish participation.