Turning research into business: Evaluation of TULI programmes

Tekes’ initial Creating Business from Research (TULI) programme led to the establishment of 100 new companies. In connection with the second programme of the same name, a total of 135 companies were established at universities and research institutes while universities of applied sciences gave rise to 52 new companies.

The Creating Business from Research (TULI) programmes have been a central instrument for Tekes for increasing the utilisation of public research and for creating a foundation for new business and growth companies. The concept of TULI programmes refers to activation and funding measures aimed at commercialising business and innovation ideas based on research results. From 1993 onwards, the matter was advanced via local projects, until the establishment of the first TULI programme in 2002.

The objective of the evaluation of TULI programmes was to chart the success of TULI activities as a promoter of the commercialisation of public research from 1993 onwards and to produce recommendations for the future. The evaluation was carried out by inno Group and Spinverse Oy using the methods of a survey, interviews and a review of case examples.

New processes and structures for commercialisation

The TULI programmes had a fundamental role in the creation and development of the processes and structures of commercialisation in research organisations. The integration of commercialisation into the academic world also entailed various challenges. Commercialisation was not yet part of the strategic objectives of the management of research organisations, and some ambiguities also existed regarding licensing. Moreover, the structure of TULI programmes did not provide sufficient encouragement for cooperation between different actors.

The TULI evaluation presents us with the following challenge: how do we shift to a system in which commercialisation has been integrated into research and is guided by the needs of the industry and end users.

The evaluation produced three cross-cutting recommendations for four different target groups:

  • Clear strategic objectives must be set for commercialisation; it is also necessary to monitor the realisation of these objectives
  • esources must be directed to commercially successful actors in order to promote international competitiveness
  • A long-term commitment to commercialisation is necessary, and partnerships must be developed between the private sector and the field of research

Reformed research funding

In 2012, Tekes reformed its system for allocating research funding. "New knowledge and business from research ideas" is one of the three funding instruments of the reformed research funding system. The instrument aims at generating, through research, knowledge and expertise significant for the utilisation of the research idea, and the commercialisation of the idea in the form of new business is prepared alongside the research itself.

Click on the link to read the publication on the evaluation of TULI programmes

Further information

Pekka Pesonen
Chief Adviser
tel. +358 50 5577 804
pekka.pesonen (at) tekes.fi

Laura Juvonen
Senior Consultant
Spinverse Oy; representative of the evaluation team
tel. +358 40 589 6263
laura.juvonen (at) spinverse.com

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