About us

University of Helsinki’s, Research Services, Business Collaboration Team at your service!

We offer support and coaching for building new collaborative research projects between the university and businesses. We give services to researchers, academic leaders, faculties and companies.

businessteam (at) helsinki.fi
Research Services, City Centre, Fabianinkatu 32, Helsinki
Flamma intranet:
Services for business collaboration (pricing, contracts, IPR, etc.)

Maarit Haataja
Head of Business Collaboration
Maarit Haataja – University of Helsinki

Maarit has been leading the business collaboration team since May 2016. Her aim is to build capacity for researchers to collaborate with companies and to create supporting services for both researchers and businesses.

Maarit has extensive experience in service design, co-creation, as well as in research funding and impact. Since 2011, she has been involved in helping researchers to apply for funding that emphasis research impact, commercialization and co-creation (for example Tekes and the Strategic Research Council). In addition, she has extensive experience in research administration, from department to faculty and central administration level.

Maarit’s scientific background is in ecology and evolutionary biology. She received her PhD at the University of Uppsala in 2001, and after that she worked as a post-doc in the Universities of Oulu and Helsinki.

Heidi Kinnunen
Heidi Kinnunen – University of Helsinki

A single university course on Popularization of Science changed PhD student Heidi Kinnunen’s life in 1997. Heidi realized that scientific endeavors are important only if the information is transferred to the society. She completed her PhD thesis about animal ecology in 1999, but was still intrigued by knowledge transfer processes. Heidi sought her way to the post of spokeswoman at the Finnish Museum of Natural History and built a large network within journalists and media professionals. The exhibition trilogy “Metamorphoses” celebrating European Cultural Capital Helsinki in 2000 was Heidi’s first connection to the corporate world supporting science and art. In 2007 Heidi was promoted to Head of Administration, and cooperation with companies took off at once. The marketing and sponsoring specialist company Image Match trained the museum staff to approach businesses and seek for partners.

Apart from media and sponsorship experience, Heidi is well versed in the university’s financial management systems. As Head of Administration, she was also responsible for HR practices. Because of her previous reporting experience, she was chosen to be one of the core data masters at the university. At present, she is responsible of TUHAT database information concerning “activities”. This material consists of information on public talks, popular articles etc. and may be used for measuring the societal impact of scientific work. At present, Heidi is developing indicators for quantifying university’s impact on the society.

In the business team, Heidi has been developing the process of academic consultancy. The new business university funding? model will most likely include remuneration for consulting researchers. Heidi believes that in order to increase impact, the university should consider career-related incentives and streamline mobility possibilities between industry and academia.

Amanda Paananen
Amanda Coniel – University of Helsinki

Amanda Paananen works as a business development officer and has degrees in biomedical sciences, business creation and entrepreneurship. Her passions include fostering innovations and bringing value to society through building partnerships between different stakeholders.

She started her career in Gothenburg, Sweden, where she worked as a business developer in both medical device and pharmaceutical start-ups. Her passion of creating partnerships between different stakeholders then lead her to work at Innovationskontor Väst, where she proceeded to help initiate different private-public sector collaborations within the medical simulation industry. After leaving Sweden, she started working at Helsinki Innovation Services (HIS) as a commercialization officer. At HIS, Amanda assisted in the evaluation of inventions arising from the University of Helsinki and carried out business development activities in various commercialization projects.

As part of the team, Amanda’s main responsibility is to support the Meilahti campus in all matters related to research-business collaboration. She is well versed in intellectual property matters, coaching/training, pitching, commercialization, contracts, collaboration models and negotiations.

Titta Pirkola
Titta Pirkola – University of Helsinki

Titta has over 15 years work experience in the Finnish biotechnology business. She has been working at the leading edge of the modern molecular biology company, Finnzymes Oy. This company was well-known in the field of the DNA modifying enzymes and PCR. At Finnzymes Titta could be part of the success story when a local small enterprise grows to one of the leading companies in the international PCR business. While she was working in the biotechnology business she has created a strong network both with the local and international partners.

After the years in the business life Titta has embarked on a career as a lecturer. She worked over five years as a lecturer in the field of biomedicine, biochemistry in the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. She has also been teaching biology and psychology at the high school level. The past year she worked as a project coordinator in the EIT FOOD pan-European Master of Food Systems program.

Titta has a biology background with the M.Sc. in the cell biology and biochemistry. She has also gained a qualification in teaching in biology and psychology.


Maria Linkoaho-Nordling
Maria Linkoaho-Nordling – University of Helsinki

Maria has a comprehensive work career, both in private and public sector. Over twenty years she has been working in several positions at the University of Helsinki. Past year, Maria has been coordinating a multidisciplinary research project, MegaSense. “Transforming ideas into actions”, is Maria’s attitude.

Maria’s abilities to build up strong international relations, marketing, communications and problem-solving skills are of use in coordinating large international projects which include companies. She emphasizes that it is important to ascertains customers’ needs.

Maria has studied sociology as a major (M.Soc.Sc) at the University of Helsinki, and she also has a degree as an information planner. In 2018, she was appointed as a coordinator in Business Collaboration team.

Pekka Pellinen

Pekka joined the business collaboration team in 2020.

He is a passionate advocate of innovation and new openings having more than two decades of experience in working with companies – large and small –, as well as NGO´s and government agencies.

Pekka has a long track record of working on the interface of research- and business communities. He has held senior roles in high-technology companies,  organized co-operation between Finnish industries and major international research centers, and coached  technology start-up´s towards growth. His earlier duties include several assignments within Tekes/Business Finland, government agencies, policymakers and various stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem. He has special interests in the societal and industrial implications of science and technology, and has contributed to the development of indicators and metrics in these areas. Pekka holds an M.Sc. in technology.