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Turning Finnish research into commercial success: Evaluation of the Tekes TULI Programme shows need to focus on results

30 Apr 2013

Finland has been criticized for its ability to turn R&D investments into commercially successful innovations. The evaluation of the Tekes programme “Creating Business from Research” (TULI) showed that the structures and competences for commercialization – as well as attitudes – have developed substantially during the last 10 years. While this competence-building phase was necessary, it is now time to move on to the next level where success is measured by commercial results.

Evaluations of Finnish innovation system indicate that while Finland performs well in research, we have not won any gold medals in turning R&D investments into innovations, commercially successful inventions that is. The TULI programme has been the key tool for Tekes in research commercialization, including all Tekes’ activation and financial activities over the last 10 years that concern commercialization of business ideas or innovation platforms based on public research results.

Evaluation of the TULI programme showed that TULI was in essence a programme for building up the competences for commercialization, and  a learning process. Perhaps the greatest impact was achieved and changing the researcher mind-set and increasing awareness for entrepreneurship as a career path. . On the whole, integration of commercialization into the academic world has been far from a straight-forward task. Commercialization was not included in the strategic targets of universities’ top management, and although TULI created favourable preconditions for commercialization, the efficiency and capability of the processes in creating commercial output needs to be improved.

“We should now move up to the next level, to  focus on producing solid commercial output – in globally competitive terms”, says Dr. Laura Juvonen, leading Spinverse expert in the evaluation team.

The key question to answer is how to create a system that integrates commercialization into research and is guided by the needs of the industry and end-users? The evaluation produced three cross-cutting main recommendations to four target groups:

  • Give clear strategic targets to commercialization and measure success in terms of commercial output;
  • Increase international competitiveness and focus resources on those who are committed and show results;
  • Commit for long-term and develop strategic public-partnerships to provide direction and improve the efficiency of the operations.

The evaluation of Tekes’ TULI programmes was carried out by Spinverse in collaboration with inno AG.

See the full evaluation report: Path to creating business from research – Evaluation of TULI Programmes

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Laura Koponen

Managing Director, D.Sc. (Tech.) +358 40 350 0898

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