Bridging the gap between bench and bedside


There is an inherent risk that early-stage projects will fail during development, no matter how promising the science. Such nascent projects are unlikely to attract interest from industry or investors until they have reached significant milestones. Unfortunately, there is very little funding available from the government, foundations, or private investors for this critical transition.

Too often, people also think that development programs and financiers should focus on picking the winners. In real life, it is an extremely difficult task.

We focus on dedicated project owners – scientists, students, and healthcare professionals – that are constantly on a learning curve and have relevant ideas for unmet health related needs. We support them in their path and allocate our resources for it. For finding the direction, we use a guiding thought:
“Starting with the End in Mind”.

SPARK Finland

SPARK Finland program is designed to increase the maturity of academic and clinical discoveries towards practical and value creating solutions in the health tech and life science space.

Program supports also career development by educating scientists, students and health care professionals on drug and health tech development and building the understanding of business aspects related to the discoveries.

We work in close relationship with innovation and technology transfer offices of our associated institutions.

In March 2021 – the leading digital media covering the European Biotech industry- selected SPARK Finland as TOP25 biotech incubators in Europe.

The Stanford SPARK program is the cornerstone for our program. It was established by Professor Daria Mochly-Rosen in 2006 for advancing new biomedical research discoveries into promising new treatments for patients. It provides top-notch mentoring and education, and a cost-effective model to generate proof of concept by using industry standards.

SPARK Finland follows the same principles that have been cornerstones of SPARK at Stanford, and our program is an official member of SPARK Global network.


Our Goals
  • Provide a path to generate practical and value creating solutions
  • Educate scientists, clinicians and students how to build solutions
  • Support for taking responsibility for the project
  • Integrate and expose teams with key players in main markets
  • Support career development
  • Build a “systemic memory” of success
  • Advance the renewal and growth of the industry
  • Build our European and global networks

You can find the project and alumni list at Projects section… According to the recent numbers more than 50% of projects that go through the program will achieve their product and business related goals.

Enablers and collaborators

SPARK Finland is a collaborative program. In the founding phase it was financially supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and members of Health Capital Helsinki alliance and University of Tampere (as representative of Tampere3 alliance) were other key financiers. Since August 2018 key institutions from Health Campus Turku alliance brought Turku Region to the program and in 2020 University of Eastern Finland brought Kuopio and Joensuu regions to SPARK Finland.

Since April 2020 SPARK Finland is fully funded by the member institutions and supporting cities. In 2020-2023 program is nationally coordinated by Tampere University and regionally by University of Helsinki (Faculty of Medicine), Tampere University, University of Turku (Faculty of Medicine) and University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio campus).

Other regional organizations and programs that are working in collaboration with us:

Business Tampere logo
Kuopio Health logo

SPARK Global

SPARK is proud to support the programs at institutions across the world working to develop their own translational research programs.

Read more about Spark Global


For further reading

Universities start program to accelerate growth of research-based companies in the health sector (University of Helsinki, 2017)

Health business with Stanford’s teachings (University of Tampere, 2017)

SPARK partnering with Business Schools – Case Finland Report. By Teemu Heinonen, Waltteri Sorvisto, Pasi Sorvisto and Juho Väisänen – in collaboration with SPARK Global network (SPARK Finland, 2018)

Rescuing the Lost in Translation (2016) by Sinje Gehr and Craig C Garner

Moving medicine forward faster (2015)

Repair Reproducibility (2014)

Stanford program gives discoveries a shot at commercialization (2011)

A Practical Guide to Drug Development in Academia: The SPARK Approach.
By Daria Mochly-Rosen and Kevin Grimes (2014).