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Call 12.5.-16.9.2020

Research to Business – funding for the commercialization preparation of a research based idea, call 2/2020

Submit your application at the latests on Wednesday 16.9.2020 at 23:59.

For more information, contact

Jaana Rantanen
+358 50 3962 923
jaana.rantanen (at)

Call has ended!

Business Finland will fund Research to Business projects in public research organizations where the project team prepares a research-based idea for commercialization and carries out applied research which support the commercialization. The purpose of the commercialization preparation is to clarify the potential exploitation paths of the research idea and to help choose the most promising paths and ways that can lead to business either in a new start-up or in an existing company.

Business Finland can fund 70% of the total cost of projects.

This is a complementary call in 2020.

In the evaluation of funding applications we examine following issues:

  • Project team's skills and commitment; especially the experience, skills and commitment of the persons responsible for commercialization preparations
  • 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, milestones and final goals
  • The composition and competence of the steering group

We also require:

  • The research organization has adequate exploitation rights for the background and emerging research results for the commercialization. The research organization has the desire and opportunity to disclose rights after the project to the entity, who will commercialize the idea.
  • If the research organization has its own process of evaluating the commercialization of ideas (innovation services unit), it is required that the project is evaluated and approved by the process.
  • The project must have several commercialization options – the entity who commercializes the idea can not be known at the start or during the project.
  • At least 40% of project costs must be allocated to the preparation of commercialization costs.

The evaluation will also take into account other applications competing for funding.

Eligible operations in the preparation of commercialization, for example

  • 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 will work (Proof of Concept)
  • Funding model investigations and potential investor survey
  • Business model investigations
  • Protecting intangible rights of the idea (not the maintenance costs)
  • Commercialization and entrepreneurship training

Apply for funding

Submit your application via Business Finland's online service at the latest on Wednesday 16th, 2020 at 23:59.

Attach a project plan (max 25 pages recommended) which includes

  • Measures and resources for the preparation of commercialization
  • Measures and resourcing for applied research supporting preparation of commercialization
  • Proposed milestones for approx. 6-9 months and final goals

Submit your application via Business Finland's online service 

Explore more about Research to Business funding and services

Frequently asked questions

How long can the Research to Business project last?
Research to Business projects typically vary in duration to 12-24 months, depending on the project's industry and idea readiness.

What can I do with Research to Business project funding?
You can prepare the commercialization of research based idea and carry out applied research which support the commercialization.

Can I include basic research in the Research to Business project?
The objective of Research to Business projects is to prepare the commercialization of research ideas after basic research, so basic research is not allowed in this project. Instead, applied research can be carried out according to the approved project plan to support the preparation of commercialization.

Can I write a business plan in the project?
No. However, you can acquire information (customer surveys, market surveys etc.) that you need for your business plan.

Can I contact potential customers in the project?
Yes. When you are preparing your research idea for commercialization, it is important to find out, what problems or needs your potential customers have. You can do it e.g. by interviewing the potential customers or by running proof of concept tests in the customer interface.

Can I make product development in the project?
No. You can do proof of concept tests to verify the functionality of your research idea. However, ready-to-sell products cannot be made.

What should I do, if my research organization does not have any innovation/commercialization unit to evaluate my idea?
Contact the person in your organization, who is in charge of research and /or Business Finland.

Can we set up a start-up before the Research to Business project ends?
If the start-up is founded during the project, the project's objectives have been achieved and the funding will be discontinued.

What role does steering group have in the project?
The Research to Business project steering group is an advisory body. The steering group monitors that the project is implemented in accordance with the approved plan and objectives and that at least 40% of the project costs are used for the commercialization preparations.

What is the benefit of dividing the project funding in phases?
Research to Business funding is intended to determine whether it is possible to build international business based on the research idea. Evaluation of the project results with milestones is important in order to see if the project's final goals are achievable, i.e. the possibility of doing business still exists. Phased projects typically involve significant risks and uncertainties, which we try to manage with milestones. If the project does not reach the goals, the funding will be discontinued.

Can an accountable project leader raise salary for the project?
The responsibility of the accountable project leader is to lead the project. The project leader cannot allocate the direct costs of management to the project. If it is necessary for the person appointed as accountable project leader to also act as a researcher in the project, the direct costs of the researcher's work can be allocated to the project. Our recommendation is that the accountable project leader should not act as a researcher in the project.

How do we share the tasks and costs in a joint project?
In joint projects both research organizations must allocate at least 40% of the costs for commercialization preparations.