Successful Cooperation Creates New Contacts

February 7, 2023
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Press release from Oulu Innovation Centre

Juho Yliniemi explaining the benefits of company cooperation.

Cooperation in research with businesses is an efficient way of expanding your networks and to increase reputation outside the university. Juho Yliniemi presented the progress of his network and benefits of company cooperation in January’s InnoVisitor event.

When Juho Yliniemi started as the first doctorate student in the Fibre and Particle Engineering research team, hardly anything was known about geopolymers. Their development started to replace cement and to utilize the mineral waste of industries.

By this day, the research teams funding and publications numbers have reached a remarkable level: funding in year 2020 was almost 2 million euros, and there were 40-50 yearly publications. In the meantime, new businesses have emerged in the field in all over the production chain.

Building trust

Yliniemi states that companies have had central role in the success of the research team. When successful, the cooperation benefits both parties: companies by added value and research teams by getting funding. Company cooperation is concrete evidence for societal impact, which is frequently demanded in funding applications.

Developing a cooperation network requires strategy, and from the beginning building trust is a central element in it. Any successful cooperation leaves a mark and may encourage a company to commit into a larger project. Researcher can also acquire knowledge of recent problems requiring a solution.

Esimerkki hankkeen yhteistyöverkostosta. Laatinut: Tero Luukkonen

Telephone networking
And how do you develop these networks in practice? According to Yliniemi, one of the easiest ways is just calling the potential cooperator and pitch an idea for possible cooperation. The effort required is minimal, and even if the idea isn’t accepted, the knowledge of your knowhow has been passed forward.

Naturally your own personal network should be utilized when searching for cooperation. Also, the media should be informed about new and interesting research results. The wider your research is known around, the more likely it is that someone contacts you about it.

After establishing trust with company, the researcher benefits the networks of the network. Companies have their own partners or competitors, which may take interest in a project with successful research team.

Tangible results
In this manner the team represented by Juho Yliniemi has grown from few persons into a cooperation network reaching over 400 individuals.

The network consists of research facilities, companies, and public sector operators, and diverse funding is provided by local JTF and EAKR, national Business Finland and Academy, and European Horizon.