Skip to content


Call 15.9.2021

Research to Business – funding for the commercialization preparation of a research based idea, call 2/2021

Submit your application before Wednesday 15.9.2021 klo 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.

In the evaluation of funding applications we examine following issues:

  • Project team's experience and skills level especially in commercialization but also in the 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

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.

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 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

Apply for funding

Submit your application via Business Finland's online service at the latest on Wednesday 15th September, 2021 at 23:59.

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

  • Measures, resources, timetable and costs related to the preparation of commercialization as well as the share of these costs of the total budget
  • Measures, resources, timetable and costs for 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

Submit your application via Business Finland online services

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. After the project you should know, what is the best way to commercialize the idea.

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?
The goal of the Research to Business project is to prepare the commercialization of the research idea. If the start-up is set up to commercialize the idea, the project's goals are 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 a joint project the research organizations have common project plan, where they show the benefits of the joint project, common goals and the tasks and resources of both organizations. Both organizations have to make their own application. The cost allocation for commercialization preparations (minimum 40%) can be a common target in the joint project. If either of the research organizations does not follow the project plan or reach the goals, the funding will be discontinued from both parties.

What should be taken into account when making procurements for the project?
Procurements made for the project are governed by provisions on public contracts and any instructions issued by the beneficiary's administration. Ask for instructions on innovation services or tendering services in your own organization. If a procurement has been made in violation of the procurement provisions, the procurement price is not an eligible project cost.

What communication costs can be eligible for a project?
Communication costs that are necessary and reasonable for the implementation of the project can be eligible for the project in accordance with the funding conditions set out in the project plan.

Communication costs may relate to the dissemination of research results, e.g. in a scientific conference or article in which they are the costs of applied research, or they may relate to the preparation of commercialization when communication of the project and its results aims to networking and finding potential customers and investors. In this case, the costs eligible for the project may include, for example videos, webpages, even podcasts, when they are not general communications of the organization. Ineligible costs include the cost of economic activities, brand building, marketing materials (e.g. letter templates, logos, clothing, pens, etc.).

All project communication should always mention Business Finland as a financier.