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.

Business Collaboration Team – Research Services – University of Helsinki

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.

Joel Takala
Joel Takala – University of Helsinki

For the past years, Joel has worked on innovations and creating new business. He has hands-on R&D experience from his own start-up company, and he has also been part of the Aalto University Start-Up Center. “Aalto was a deep learning experience in the start-up ecosystem and in how to start a company”, he says. Joel’s start-up drive continued at the University of Jyväskylä. There, he led an EU-funded project creating a joint commercialization process for the University of Jyväskylä and for the JAMK University of Applied Sciences. The project was a great success: in just two years, it helped create 45 new student- and research-based companies.

Joel’s previous experience includes working in non-governmental organizations where he designed new concepts for development cooperation fundraising/communications and for the digitalization of fundraising.

At the University of Helsinki Joel is helping researchers boost their research impact and business collaboration. For this, he developed an excellent tool, the Impact Accelerator Program. Joel is specialized in Business Finland funding (Co-Creation & Co-Innovation).

Joel has studied social sciences (M.Soc.Sc) and he also has a specialist degree as Product Developer.

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.

Krister Talvinen
Krister Talvinen – University of Helsinki

PhD Krister Talvinen has a long history with the different players in the field of higher education. He has worked at the Academy of Finland, in the Ministry of Education and Culture, and in the National Defense University. His academic background is in social sciences and humanities, and his doctoral thesis in philosophy in 2009 dealt with the impossibility of knowledge.

However, at the time of his the thesis, he was already working for a marketing research company, Taloustutkimus Ltd. Providing surveys or brand image analyses for all kinds of businesses proved to be an invaluable lesson in the ethos and operating logics of the business world.

Krister considers himself a passionate worker, for whatever the task, he is always ‘all-in’, and he strives for the best possible result.

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.

Tanja Suni (on leave until September 2020)
Tanja Suni – University of Helsinki

Tanja is a physicist with a background in land-atmosphere interactions. She received her PhD in environmental physics at the University of Helsinki in 2004 and worked as a post-doc at CSIRO in Canberra, Australia, in 2005-2007.

The next 8 years she spent working in different roles in Future Earth, a large international research programme that aims at providing solutions for sustainable development through science. As Secretary General of Future Earth Finland, Tanja brought together scientists and decision-makers, businesses, and science-policy stakeholders to improve the societal impact of research. In Future Earth Europe, Tanja led co-production and stakeholder engagement training for European students, scientists, and stakeholders.

Tanja is a research impact professional with a passion for helping science make the world a better place. “Business collaboration is a great channel for researchers to get their results visibility and added value. We are here to help you get started!”

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.

Pasi Rautiainen
Pasi Rautiainen – University of Helsinki

Pasi’s role is to help research teams find new sources to the supplementary funding of their research activities. He helps researchers improve their research-industry cooperation models and crystallise the impact of their research. Pasi supports the researchers in identifying and contacting industry partners with a message that is customized to fit their needs. “I have strong passion for bringing research results in use, so please let me help you in that”, he says.

Pasi has an engineering background with an M.Sc. (tech) in data communications. Since his graduation, he has worked as a patent agent (Page White & Farrer), software developer (Syscon Automation), and an innovation officer (Tampere University of Technology, TUT). At TUT, Pasi had role in creating many new models for university – industry cooperation: (i) DSII (new industrial doctorate school), (II) strategic partnerships with companies (Nokia, Rautaruukki, Intel, Microsoft), (iii) research partnerships with research organizations (VTT, Aachen University, Politechnico Milano, (iv) establishment and negotiations of first European site for Center for Visual & Design Informatics (CDVI), (v) interinstitutional commercialization activities with VTT, Aalto, universities of Helsinki, Turku, Oulu, eastern Finland and Vermont (US), (vi) administrative coordination support for more than 20 FP7 and H2020 projects, (vii) negotiation team in connection with ITER (European fusion reactor) commercial remote control supply awarded 20 M€ (TUT share).

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.