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High-tech for more than a century

The Helsinki University of Technology is Finland’s oldest and largest university of technology and architecture, and has been a key player in building the foundation for the country’s economic dynamism for more than a century.
Aalto University

Discovering and disseminating new scientific knowledge – and promoting innovation – is a fundamental mission for an organisation such as the Helsinki University of Technology (TKK). Research and teaching at TKK play a key role in Finnish high technology, benefiting business and society as a whole.

An exceptionally dynamic centre, with a special focus on developing inventions and promoting innovations, TKK is also an important part of the international scientific community – and one of Europe’s leading technical universities – with a number of internationally respected research centres on its campus.

Some 250 professors teach in the university’s 12 faculties, which offer 19 main degree programmes to around 15,000 undergraduates and postgraduates.

Five units have been nominated as Centres of Excellence for the five-year period from 2002 to 2007 by the Academy of Finland. These are the Smart and Novel Radio Research Unit; the Bio- and Nanopolymers Research Group; the From Data to Knowledge Research Unit (a joint effort with the University of Helsinki); and the Helsinki Brain Research Unit (a joint effort with the University of Helsinki and the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa); and the Tissue Engineering and Medical, Dental and Veterinary Biomaterial Research Group (a joint effort with the University of Helsinki).

TKK takes part in several thousand R&D projects annually, with hundreds of Finnish companies – including Nokia, other leading ICT companies, and companies in the forest products, mechanical engineering, chemicals, and energy sectors, as well as the Finnish Defence Forces.

More than a third of TKK’s projects are international, with the main emphasis on European cooperation in research and training.

The Otaniemi area, where TKK is located, has become northern Europe’s most important centre of high technology, particularly in the information sciences and biotechnology.

Expert services

The Otaniemi International Innovation Centre (OIIC) plays an important role in the university’s activities, offering a wide range of expert services, from research liaison on R&D projects to assistance with patents and starting up a business. The OIIC is also responsible for managing TKK’s research contracts and recruitment and alumni services.

The OIIC acts as a ‘one-stop shop’ for R&D services in promoting the development and use of competencies, skills, and research findings, and fostering innovation activities campus-wide and more generally in the Helsinki Metropolitan Region.

The Innovation Centre assesses promising new technologies and evaluates their potential for Finnish industry and TKK itself. Making research know-how and skills available outside the university, and promoting the start-up of new high-tech companies, is very much part of this work.

Concentrated high-tech

TKK is located in Otaniemi, home to a unique cluster of scientific and technological knowledge and skills.

In addition to TKK and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, several other research institutes and scientific centres of excellence are located in Otaniemi. These include the Geological Survey of Finland; KCL; the Center for Scientific Computing, CSC; Technopolis; Technopolis Ventures; Innopoli 2; and Culminatum, the Helsinki Region Centre of Expertise.

The activities of these various bodies have all contributed to the development of the Otaniemi area into northern Europe’s most significant centre of high technology, particularly in the information sciences and biotechnology.

Innovation projects at TKK and the Otaniemi Science Park are underpinned by an emphasis on cooperation and interdisciplinary synergy, with Finnish business and industry, particularly the large high-tech companies based at the Park.

> Veijo Ilmavirta
(Published in High Technology Finland )