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Åbo Akademi University successfully delivered an online course on bioinnovation

In May, the Department of Biochemistry at the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Åbo Akademi University successfully completed a 12 week online course on bioinnovation for 70 student from several universities.

The course was developed within the Jobitti project, funded by The Ministry of Education and Culture, and aiming at establishing high-quality online courses on important topics of bioscience, biomedicine and pharmacy disciplines. Students from Åbo Akademi University, University of Turku, University of Eastern Finland, and Turku University of Applied Sciences participated in the bioinnovation course.

The course started in March and ended on the 31st of May, and was delivered through the Digicampus Moodle learning platform. During the course, students learned about the commercialization process of how to turn promising ideas derived from research into innovations, about tools and methods used for solving a challenge or a problem, and to present their idea through a pitch video.

As a real-life example, a company called Aavagen, specialized in horse genetics, was invited to give their contribution to the course. CEO Maria Jensen prepared introductory videos for each topic of the course and provided the students with a challenge to be solved.

“I was delighted when I was approached by Åbo Akademi University and asked to be involved in the course through sharing my experiences as an entrepreneur in the biotech and life science sector”, Jensen says.

“When I was a cell biology student I had no idea whatsoever on how to actually start the path of being an entrepreneur in this field. It is clear how to proceed if you either want to have a career in academia or a career with big pharma and life science corporations, but choosing a career as an entrepreneur is unfortunately something that in my opinion is spoken of way too little in most universities here in Finland.”

“There are too many great innovations in our universities that never make it out there and the only way to tackle this is through engaging and informing students early-on through courses like this Bioinnovation course.”

Jensen points out that many of the course work had great potential.

“After seeing the presentations that each team made for the course, I was utterly impressed by what each and every team had done: the quality of their work was good and one could tell that they had grasped the concept of innovation and how to start commercializing an innovation. Many had even developed fully feasible business concepts with great commercial potential. Hopefully we will see more of these courses in the future, as I believe that they will have a long-term impact on our country and society even, in the grand scheme of things.”

Click here for more information on the Jobitti project.