The Technologization and Commercialization of Universities
A broad research project looking at the changes in the social role and function of universities in terms of technology policy in Finland. The research looks at science and technology policy during two opposing time periods (welfare state and neo-liberal) through six different departments at three universities (University of Helsinki, Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration and Helsinki University of Technology) in the Helsinki area. The project was begun in cooperation with Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration, but is continued in this group. The research can be divided into two inter-connected components:
1. The Possibilities and Obstacles of Modern Knowledge Production
Marja Häyrinen-Alestalo and Ulla Peltola; Funding: Academy of Finland 1998-2000.
This project looks at the changing conditions of universities as producers of knowledge, the concept of innovation as a relevant model for knowledge production and the ability to use commercialization as a measure of the social value of academic science.
2. The Commercialization of University Activities
Marja Häyrinen-Alestalo, Karoliina Snell, Antti Pelkonen and Aaro Tupasela; Funding: Ministry of Trade and Industry 1998-2001.
What possibilities exist in reformulating university policy according to science and technology policy in Finland. In particular we are looking at changes at the university level as a result of market and commercial pressures. Three universities in the Helsinki region are analyzed in terms of the concepts of marketing and commercialization as well as commercial conflicts. This project is made up of the following sub components:
  • Antti Pelkonen: Intermediary Organizations Promoting University-Industry Links.

  • Looking at the role of intermediary organizations in the commercialization of university research. The study uses the cases of Helsinki Science Park (University of Helsinki), Otaniemi International Innovation Center (Helsinki University of Technology) and LTT Research (Helsinki University of Economics and Business Administration) to analyze the integration of these organizations into the university structures and problems associated with the commercialization of university research.
  • Karoliina Snell: University Education Serving Science, Masses and Markets

  • A study looking at the contradictory pressures which emerge through increased commercialization, outside research funding and new political demands on university research. University education is trying to accommodate for the needs of the job market by becoming more vocation oriented and shortening the time it takes to graduate. As a result the teaching of scientific methods and thought are compromised. With increased focus on advanced research the connection between research and teaching becomes weaker. Outside funding becomes more concentrated in research groups that are not directly connected with teaching. Although education is an important component of political programs it does not bring added value to universities and teaching becomes less important under commercial pressures.
  • Aaro Tupasela: The Privatization of Public Knowledge - Innovation Policy and Intellectual property Rights at the University of Helsinki

  • The study looks at the risks and problems of patenting and licensing university research. Current national and supra-national innovation models are problematic and contradictory when looked at from a case study of Helsinki University Licensing. On the one hand they try to promote a broader dissemination of information and technologies while at the same time calling for closer ties between universities and industry. Such links usually entail the patenting of innovations which tends to lead to exclusive rights and monopolies over research results. Models such as Mode 2, Triple Helix and Entrepreneurial Science have shortcomings when looked at in light of experiences at the University of Helsinki.
    Science and Technology Programs in Finland: The Structure and Networking of the Technology Development Center: TEKES
    Ulla Peltola and Marja Häyrinen-Alestalo, together with Pekka Berg (research coordinator), Ellen Tuomola (Tampere University of Technology) and Maria Nedeva (University of Manchester); Funding: Technology Development Center: Tekes 2000-2001.
    The changing role of Tekes as a tool and guide of state technology policy in Finland and the relationship between Tekes strategies and state technopolitico programs. The study focuses on three areas in particular: forestry, information technology and biotechnology programs.


    Updated 6.3.2002