The aim of the new national competence network is to increase cooperation between universities, hospitals, and the business worlds and to make Finnish neuroscience know-how visible internationally. Neurocenter Finland is part of the health sector growth strategy and the Personalized Medicine project.
Neurocenter Finland is a collaborative network for neuroscience research involving seven universities and five hospital districts in Finland. The coordinating unit for the co-operation has now been established in connection with the University of Eastern Finland.
“The establishment of Neurocenter Finland is an excellent demonstration of the fact that Finnish neuroscience experts have a genuine desire and ability to network and act in unison to achieve common goals,” says Jussi Pihlajamäki, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland.
Preparatory work for the now established competence network began in 2017 as part of the implementation of the health sector growth strategy. The central role of Neurocenter Finland in fostering cooperation in neurosciences has also been taken into account in the updated strategy for the growth of health research and innovation, the roadmap for 2020-2023 of which was published in December 2020 with the signatures of three ministries and ministers.
“The network brings neuroscience research closer toward clinical practice and patient involvement. The long-term effectiveness of this cooperation is reflected in progress with increasingly precise diagnoses of diseases, better treatments and prevention,” says Tuula Helander, Director of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
The purpose of this knowledge network is to reduce the costs associated with brain-related diseases and to promote the brain health of the population. These goals will be pursued by intensifying research cooperation and enhancing the commercialization of neural innovations resulting from multidisciplinary cooperation.
“The societal cost burden of brain diseases and mental disorders is enormous, estimated at up to € 11 billion a year. Aging of the population also increases the incidence of diseases, so the need for new forms of prevention and treatments is obvious. Finnish research in the field of neuroscience is of high quality, so we have unique opportunities for revolutionary solutions,” says Mikael von und zu Fraunberg, Director of the Establishment Phase of Neurocenter Finland.
In the preparation and establishment phase of Neurocenter Finland, the mapping of regional ecosystems in the neural sector was performed by collecting information on all actors involved in the neurosciences in Finland. Neurocenter Finland aims to promote synergistic actions at both regional and national level, and this work has actively continued after its establishment.
The agreement for Neurocenter Finland was signed by the University of Eastern Finland, Northern Savonia Hospital District, University of Oulu, Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, University of Tampere, Pirkanmaa Hospital District, University of Turku, Southwest Finland Hospital District, University of Jyväskylä, University of Helsinki, Aalto University and Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District.