When Juha Siivola began work at Aalto University after a long career in industry, his objective was clear. He wanted to help develop ideas, technological solutions, products and companies from academic research. These will advance the Finnish society and help maintain Finland’s competitiveness, and Aalto is an ideal environment for such activities.
Siivola, who graduated as Master of Science in Technology in the late 1990s, worked in the industrial business a couple of decades before moving to his current task as an innovation advisor at Aalto University School of Science. He gained experience in, for example, international software and product development at Nokia, Symbian and Digia, along with several smaller companies and startup-typed projects.
Siivola started working as an innovation advisor at Aalto University School of Science in June 2019 and believes his experience will prove useful when the ideas stemming from the work of Aalto’s researchers is commercialised.
The academic world often focuses on the academic merits of the research alone. Siivola wants to encourage researchers to innovate and consider the commercial possibilities related to their work. These should be considered monthly. ‘In addition to having a long-term academic goal, it would be good to think about possible short-term results,’ Siivola says.
It is also useful to look into the types of research being carried out at other departments and institutes of higher education. Several successful innovations and inventions are based on cross-disciplinary collaboration, and opportunities for collaborating at Aalto are good.
‘When considering, for instance, the field of information technology, it is good to keep in mind that software are always tied to e.g. equipment solutions and the manufacturing of material. Considering the technical impact of, say, algorithms when they are applied to a different branch of industry, is beneficial.’
Aalto provides a safe environment for experimenting with commercialisation
Siivola and his colleagues are in charge of the School of Science’s IPR, i.e. intellectual property rights and transferring them. Practically, this deals with patents and control over them. A research and innovation service team helps supporters in refining invention ideas and applying for patents. The application process is a long one, lasting even three to five years.
This communication was first published 14 February 2020 by Aalto University.