Cooperation and impact

Molecular and environmental basis for lifelong health


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 15 % of them come from the focus area of Molecular and environmental basis for lifelong health. Annually one or two of them are patented by the university. The aim is to either license patented inventions or form a startup around them.

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 Molecular and environmental basis for lifelong health. For example

BBS (Bioactive Bone Substitutes) develops biologically active medical device implants to be used in orthopedic surgery.

Chain Antimicrobials is a medical devices company in the field of preventive antibiotics. Its lead product is for the prevention of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI).

Cerenion develops a method for measuring the brain function of intensive care patients.


Networks and partners

The University of Oulu is a member of Oulu Innovation Alliance (OIA) between public and private operators, which seeks to strengthen Oulu as the fastest growing international urban area in the Nordic countries. It has agreed to steer research, development and innovation activities in Oulu within five ecosystems. This includes the OuluHealth ecosystem that boosts business in health tech and healthcare. It is dedicated to combining the different specialised fields in health, biosciences, IT, academic and business know-how to create patient-friendly technologies, prosperity and wellness in the Oulu region.

Research groups within Molecular and environmental basis of life-long health research focus area are closely connected with the Oulu University Hospital. Medical Research Center Oulu (MRC Oulu) is a strategic research organisation of the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District and the University of Oulu closely integrating clinical aspects from the hospital to the university area. MRC Oulu offers a multidisciplinary research environment for clinical, translational and health care socioeconomic research. Together with Biocenter Oulu they coordinate the Health and Biosciences Doctoral Programme of the University.

Northern Finland Cohorts (NFBC) comprise collections of data and biological samples from large population studies that are administrated by the NFBC Project Center at the Medical Faculty. The NFBC has attracted wide international collaboration and Oulu researchers are e.g. partners in large scale epigenetic projects funded from 2012 by the EU (EpiMigrant, and EurHealthAging), coordinate the DynaHealth project (funded by the EU 2015) and are a partner of the LifeCycle project (funded by EU 2017).

Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, the University of Oulu, Nordlab laboratory and the hospital districts of Northern Finland established Biobank Borealis of Northern Finland in 2015. The Biobank Borealis offers the research community an access to professionally maintained sample collections linked to clinical health information and to accumulating research data as well as sample storage, management and data mining infrastructures. Moreover, Biobank Borealis is part of the national FinBioBank consortium and, which is included in the European biobank research infrastructure.

Biocenter Oulu core facilities serve academic and other customers in their research and R&D projects. These infrastructures belong to the national distributed Biocenter Finland research infrastructure network and participate in international infrastructures ESFRI Infrafrontier, Euro-BioImaging, and Instruct.

The University of Oulu and Ulm University, Germany, have a Joint Doctoral Degree Programme in the fields of life science and biomedicine. The programme is coordinated by Health and Biosciences Doctoral Programme and the International Graduate School of Molecular Medicine Ulm, but it is open to a wider research community within both universities, including also cross-disciplinary research projects between biosciences and other fields of sciences such as ICT.

One of the university´s tasks is to spread knowledge and provide information about relevant topics for the public. In 2015-2017 Biocenter Oulu coordinates an Argumenta project Genes and Society, funded by Finnish Cultural Foundation. The aim of the project is to discuss the current state and future prospects of genetic research and its applications both academically and among wider audiences from a multidisciplinary point of view. The project has organised public seminars and lecture series in collaboration with both Finnish and foreign experts and partner-organizations. A book Kiehtovat geenit (Fascinating Genes) was published by Duodecim in August 2017.