Towards growth in health sector research and innovation through a joint action plan

The health sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. Finland has solid competence in this sector, which could be exploited more efficiently to boost growth and competitiveness. Ministries and health sector actors are preparing a joint growth strategy and action plan.

A working group to prepare the growth strategy for health sector research, development and innovation activities (RDI) has been appointed, with representatives from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes and the Academy of Finland. A broad-based expert group will be set up to assist in the drafting process. The working group aims to present a draft strategy to the stakeholders in October and to the Research and Innovation Council at the end of the year. The objective of the cooperation is to make strategically important choices and to coordinate the resources allocated to their implementation.

Finland has internationally competitive competence and development opportunities in such fields as health technology, medical research, personalised health promotion and treatment of illnesses as well as health sector service innovations. The good scientific databases in Finland, biobanks to be set up and sizeable information resources offer growing opportunities for exploitation. The public sector has worked for the long-term development of the life science research environment, and investments have been made in the development of the industry. It is now possible to bring the cooperation inside and between the sectors up to a new level.

Every year, Finland invests EUR 300−400 million of public funding in health sector research and development. According to a study commissioned by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in 2012, private research activities in the health technology and medical research sectors could increase by 2.5 times by 2020. The study also encourages making active efforts to attract to the country foreign health sector investments and international research activities that could benefit Finland. Higher education, research and innovation activities in the health sector take place close to those who use the services. This is why the results also benefit Finnish health care patients without delay.

The preparation of the growth strategy is coordinated by Attorney at Law Mikko Alkio from Avance Attorneys Ltd, the author of the aforementioned study, who also serves as the Chair of the working group. The Vice Chair of the group is Executive Director Minna Hendolin from Tekes, and its members are Head of Division Petri Lehto from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Director Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Counsellor of Education Erja Heikkinen from the Ministry of Education and Culture and Vice President Marja Makarow from the Academy of Finland.

For more information

Working group Chair: Attorney at Law Mikko Alkio
Avance Attorneys Ltd
Tel. +358 (0)50 413 5502

Working group Vice Chair: Executive Director Minna Hendolin
Tekes, tel. +358 (0)50 5577 665

To read the Ministry of Employment and Economy's report 33/2012 (in Finnish, summary in English) "Terveysteknologia ja lääketutkimus Suomen kasvun tukijalkana", please visit the Ministry's website


Pia Mörk


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