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PoDoCo Doctors Support the Renewal of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
The Post Docs in Companies program funded 17 new partnerships between doctors and companies in the fall round. As many as 134 young doctors have already supported the renewal of industry through PoDoCo program. The Finnish Cultural Foundation is supporting four partnerships this year.

17 doctoral and business partnership projects are funded in the fall 2019 application round of the PoDoCo program. The program received 30 collaboration applications from companies and doctors who have recently completed or will soon complete their degree. A total of 134 grants have been awarded in the PoDoCo program since 2015.

– Especially small and medium-sized enterprises have been active and successful in the PoDoCo program. In this application round, 75% of the collaborative projects funded are focused on research and innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises, says Dr. Seppo Tikkanen, leader of the PoDoCo program.

The transition time from research to business is shorter than before in the currently funded collaborative projects, as nearly half of the PhDs have been completed this year or will be completed in the spring. PoDoCo program has played a major role especially in the recruitment of doctors with foreign background to the private sector. In this fall application round, almost half of the PhDs are of foreign background.

The funded projects represent a wide range of disciplines and sectors, from medical to material technology and from applications that support children's emotional development to active magnetic bearing. 

Weather forecasts with block accuracy

In the city, the weather conditions change from block to block. This is caused by different surface shapes. As the climate and environment change, it becomes even more important to understand the local weather conditions. Vaisala’s PoDoCo project is implemented in cooperation with the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Maria Filioglou explores in her research the wind forecasts of Helsinki using Vaisala's new wind lidars for remote sensing of wind.

– The expected results of the project will provide information for the development of Vaisala's Smart City business concept. The results will give a better understanding of how the best accuracy of urban environment weather forecasts could be best achieved on a block scale. Future citizen services, such as air taxis and drone-transport, need more accurate weather information to enable safer and more efficient operations, says Tapio Haarlaa, Head of Aviation, Strategy and Business Development, Vaisala’s Weather and Environment business area.

Studied plants for wall and table

Martina Angeleri, currently a Researcher of Plant Molecular Biology at the University of Turku, is studying the effects of light in small greenhouses in her PoDoCo collaboration with Plantui Ltd. The chemical composition and growth of plants grown in Plantui's miniature greenhouses, which combine special light and aquaculture technology, has not been previously studied. The goal of the PoDoCo-project is to study the effects of changes in light conditions on the levels of vitamins and various antioxidant compounds as well sugars.

– In the project I am developing light conditions that affect the growth and taste of the plants. The idea is that everyone can enjoy the food they produce as they wish. I'll start my research with lettuce, kale and tomatoes. The intention is to expand to other plants later. I look forward to the project because food science has always been close to my heart, and now I can integrate it into my research, Angeleri says.

Urban green infrastructure

Long Xie, a doctoral candidate from the University of Helsinki, has been researching microbial growth in vertical plants for six years. His PoDoCo research concentrates on the indoor and outdoor green walls and it is done in cooperation with a Finnish SME, InnoGreen.

According to Xie’s earlier investigations, beneficial microbes can have a major impact on the function of plant walls. In outdoor walls, especially stormwater management capacity is of interest.

– We hope that the results of the study will inspire consumer interest in plant walls and provide evidence of stormwater management in the new outdoor plant wall structure we have under development. The research is vital for InnoGreen in order to develop the best possible product for creating an urban green infrastructure and stormwater management. This lays the foundations for successful internationalization, says Mikko Sonninen, founder member of Innogreen.

Next grant application round in spring 2020

The next PoDoCo grant application round will be held March 1 - April 15, 2020. PoDoCo program is funded by Finnish Cultural Foundation, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki ry, Svenska Kulturfonden, Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion, Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, Foundation for Economic Education, KAUTE Foundation, The Paulo Foundation and Helsingin Sanomat Foundation. The total funding is up to million euros every year, which enables around 35 PoDoCo grants each year.

DIMECC Ltd. is responsible for the practical implementation of the programme. DIMECC is a co-creation platform owned by 67 leading Finnish companies, universities and research institutions.

Projects supported by SKR:

Applicant Company Discipline Grant (€)
Kihlström Minna Finnadvance Oy Medical and Health sciences - Medical biotechnology 21 000
Kulmala Antti Orion Pharma Oy Medical and Health sciences - Medical biotechnology 28 000
Li Shupin Aittokoski Experience Ltd. Social sciences - Educational sciences 28 000
Xie Long InnoGreen Oy Agricultural sciences - Other agricultural sciences 28 000

Additional information

PoDoCo program leader, Dr. Seppo Tikkanen, tel. +358 40 840 2780
Chairman of the PoDoCo Management Board Dr. Yrjö Neuvo, Aalto University,