Neurological research of a high quality by international standards is conducted in Finland. However, the opportunities provided by it remain underused. One of the reasons is the fragmented nature of the field of brain research. If Finland wants to be at the forefront of the development in neuroscience also in the future, the fragmented expertise in neuroscience must be utilised in a coordinated and efficient manner.
The establishment of the national neurocenter is aimed at speeding up national and international research cooperation in the field, at linking research better to practical work with patients and to healthcare and social welfare innovations, and at promoting new growth companies in the field of brain health.
The aim is that the Neurocenter Finland would maintain in an online database comprehensive and up-to-date information on research projects, infrastructures, methods, materials and innovations in the field of neuroscience. The center is expected to enhance research in the field and strengthen Finland's competitiveness.
The Neurocenter Finland would be based on a one-stop-shop principle and it would operate between Finnish brain research and external, mainly commercial operators to enhance the utilisation and commercialisation of Finnish neuroscientific research, visible as a huge increase in entrepreneurial activities and investments in the field in Finland. In the long-term, its effectiveness could be seen as progress in the treatment and prevention of brain diseases.
Preparation of the Neurocenter
The University of Eastern Finland coordinates the cooperation network preparing the Neurocenter Finland. The university has convened a working group to plan the establishment, operating model and activities of the Neurocenter.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of Education and Culture supported the related 18-month pilot project with EUR 1.8 million in 2018.
The government aid granted by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health was allocated to research and development pilot projects supporting the main project's objectives, and universities and uni-versity hospitals jointly carried out the pilot projects. The pilot package combined basic research and experimental clinical research, equipment development and pharmacotherapy for the treat-ment of brain diseases.
As part of the Health Sector Growth Strategy for Research and Innovation Activities, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health launched a call for government grant applications for 2020 for further preparation of the Neurocenter Finland. The Ministry granted EUR 800,000 to the University of Eastern Finland for the preparation of the establishment phase of the Neurocenter Finland.