How innovative is the University of Oulu?

Compared to other European Universities and research institutes, in our University more inventions and startups are coming from the research. Instead, we have less resources for staff handling knowledge transfer and patenting of inventions.

According to ASTP-Proton's report, more and more is being invested in European higher education institutions and research institutes to knowledge transfer. It means making, protecting and commercializing inventions, co-funded projects with companies, material transfer and consulting.

Knowledge transfer serves as a link between research and industry, generating new products and services. There are great differences between countries, as some countries have long invested in knowledge transfer while in others actions related to it are new. The University of Oulu has been resourcing knowledge transfer since 2000. At present, the task is handled in the Innovation Services.

ASTP-Proton is a European wide organization for knowledge transfer professionals. It does a survey every year for Universities and research institutes. Now the results for the year 2015 were published. The answers were received from 419 research organizations. The most answers came from UK, Spain and Italy. Three Finnish universities / research institutes answered to the questionnaire.

How are we compared to others?

Compared to other European Universities and research institutes, in our University more inventions and startups are coming from the research. Instead, we have less resources for staff handling knowledge transfer and patenting of inventions.

In many European countries, especially in the UK, the most important income from knowledge transfer to the University is coming from consultative work of researchers for companies. In our University these kind of consultancy contracts do not go through the University, but are done between a person and a company.

Status 2015

University of Oulu

Average in European research organizations

Research expenditures

appr. 131 M€

appr. 102 M€

Invention disclosures

54

29

Priority patent applications

8

12

Research based startups

5

1,7

Staff at knowledge transfer (FTEs)

3,25

8,59

 

Comparing the results, however, has its own challenges. Among the respondents, some are those where research focuses on, for example, humanities and social sectors rather than technical sciences. Consequently, activity in making inventions and their patenting is small.

Inventions may also be owned by someone other than a University, so patenting is handled by another entity. Among the respondents, there was a great deal of variation in how much contract research is carried out by which the company pays all the costs incurred in the research. In this case, the company is entitled to the inventions that have been created.

Also a large part of our inventions come out from research projects involving companies. Thus, the company often is responsible for the protection and commercialization of inventions.

Over the last few years, the emergence of research-driven startups from the University of Oulu has been boosted by TUTLI funding from Business Finland (formerly Tekes). It has made it possible to test the functionality of the invention, for example, by building prototypes, but above all to make inquiries about customer needs, market size and business models.

More information

 

Last updated: 6.9.2018