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Research to Business

Funding for projects preparing the commercialization of the research based idea and promote its development as a new business at the same time.

Who can apply?

Research to Business funding is intended for public research groups and researchers in public research organizations, who want to build new business based on their research and make it real by commercializing their idea.

What do we fund?

With Research to Business funding public research organization can prepare the commercialization of research based idea and carry out applied research which support the commercialization. The main goal is on the commercialization preparation, not on research of the idea. At the same time key team members can develop their own commercialization skills. Business Finland can fund 70% of the eligible costs.

Two calls for applications will be arranged per year: in the spring and in the autumn.

In addition to funding Research to Business service supports the commercialization preparations by organizing events where teams with Research to Business funding can meet early stage investors and peers. See the news: The first Science Startup Day brought together researchers and investors.

The funded teams have an opportunity to showcase their project also in the Dealflow Finland tool to wake the interest of domestic and international investors.


  • The researcher or research team in the public research organization has identified a research based idea from their own research field, which idea has a commercialization opportunity and they have a skilled project team to promote the idea towards commercial exploitation.

  • The innovation services unit (or equivalent) in the research organization has evaluated the novelty and commercial potential of the idea as high and supports the funding of the project.

  • The new business pursued is estimated to be significant in scope.
  • The project prepares preconditions for the business to start.

  • The research organization has adequate exploitation rights for the background and emerging research results for commercialization.

  • The research organization has the desire and opportunity to disclose the rights after the project to the entity, who will commercialize the idea.

  • The project must have several commercialization options – the entity who commercializes the idea can not be known at the start or during the project. The actual product and business development occurs after the project either within a new company being established, or as a new business activity in an existing company.

What can the funding be used for?

Research to Business funding is intended for the preparation of commercialization of research idea and for the applied research that supports it.

At least 40% of eligible project costs must be targeted at the preparation of commercialization. If the project is funded in two phases, this rule applies in both phases. The commercialization preparation costs can include e.g.:

  • Novelty searches and other IPR and freedom to operate analyses
  • An evaluation of the research idea from the commercialization perspective (Proof of Relevance)
  • Determination of customer value, market surveys, customer surveys
  • Analysis of competing solutions
  • Experimental confirmation that the idea works (Proof of Concept)
  • Funding model investigations and potential investor survey
  • Business model investigations
  • Protecting intangible rights of the idea (not the maintenance costs)
  • Communication related to potential customer and investor surveys
  • Commercialization or entrepreneurship training which support the project

The funding can not be used for:

  • Making a company business plan
  • Purchasing marketing material or creating brand
  • Measures not directly related to the commercialization preparations
  • Commissioned research
  • Basic research

If the project does not progress as planned, the project will be suspended.

Some examples of the results of research to Business (former TUTLI) Funding

Explore some of the TUTLI funded projects on research organizations' web pages.

How does the funding work? 

Two calls for applications are organized every year, the main call is in February-March and a supplementary call in September.

The innovation service units of universities and research organizations help researchers evaluate the suitability of the project and guide them in the application process. The research team will pitch the project idea to Business Finland before submitting the application.

The actual funding application including the attachments (e.g. project plan) is submitted via Business Finland’s online services.

Project plan

The application requires a project plan. The main elements of the plan should be written directly in the application form. You can attach a separate project plan as a file to your application. Recommended length for the project plan is less than 25 pages.

The project plan should describe clearly:

  • Measures, resources, timetable and costs related to the preparation of the commercialization as well as the share of these costs of the total budget.
  • Measures, resources, timetable and costs related to applied research supporting the preparation of commercialization.
  • Measures, resources, schedule and costs for communications.
  • Proposal for project milestones (up to 6-10 months depending on project length) and final goals.

Evaluation of applications

Business Finland's experts will evaluate the research project for the preparation of commercialization as a whole. The evaluation will also take into account other applications competing for funding.

Important evaluation items include:

  • Project team's experience and skills level especially in commercialization but also in research related to the field of the idea
  • Team's commitment to the commercialization of the idea
  • Scalability of the business
  • The size of the targeted business
  • The impact of the project on the development of significant international business and on the society
  • New technologies or competences developed in the project
  • The commercialization path and its realism in the project plan; measures, resources, milestones and final goals
  • The composition and competence of the steering Group

If the project contains significant risks and uncertainties, we can fund the project in phases and grant only part of the funding. If the project progresses according to the milestones, the next phase's funding may be granted for the project.

Eligible costs

All costs that arise must be related to the implementation of the project. Eligible costs include:

  • Wages and salaries of person working directly for the project
  • Indirect costs (overheads and personnel costs)
  • Reasonable travel expenses
  • Costs of materials and supplies
  • Purchased services necessary for the implementation of the project

Eligible costs have been further specified in the General Terms and Conditions of Funding (pdf).

Exploitation of results

The aim of the project is to bring research results into a new business activity.

The new knowledge and related intellectual property rights generated by the project are the property of the research organization. The research organization can transfer the IP rights to the beneficiaries for compensation.

The results will be made public after the completion of the research project. However, the announcement of the results must not jeopardise the founding of a business, for example by preventing patenting or making business secrets public.

Steering and monitoring

The research organization must appoint an accountable project leader that is in an employment relationship with the organization. The accountable project leader is the person in charge of the scientific and research aspects of the project.

The research organization will appoint a steering group for the project. As a rule, the steering group members are not employees of the organization. The accountable project leader can act as the chair of the steering group. The steering group must include an advisor on commercialization, such as an expert from business and industry or the innovation unit of the beneficiary, for example. The steering group's role is to play an advisory role, to contribute to the achievements of the project in accordance with the objectives, and monitor that at least 40% of the eligible costs of the project are used for the commercialization preparation actions.

Business Finland representatives are entitled to attend the meetings of steering group. The meeting invitation and related material must be submitted to Business Finland contact person in good time before the date of meeting. The minutes of the meeting shall be kept and sent, together with the annexes, in addition to the steering group members, to the Business Finland contact person.

The research project is reported through Business Finland's online service three times a year. The report consists a description of the results achieved in commercialization preparation and in applied research in relation to the milestones or final goals as well as a cost report. In case of any problems or changes related to project progression, connect directly with the project's contact person in Business Finland.

If the project does not progress as planned, the project will be suspended.

Frequently asked questions