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Entrepreneur school for health researchers

At the School of health innovation, participants will gain knowledge, tools and networks that will enhance their ability to solve future health challenges and further develop the healthcare system.

Three postdocs in a pleasant discussion

Joao Pedro Mauricio Rosa, Karolinska Institutet, Oscar Rangel-Huerta and Silje Krokeide. Photo: Monica Bring Estensen/UiO

How can we cooperate with the business community to develop new diagnostics and improved methods of treating patients?  How can more interdisciplinary work help us to solve the really difficult tasks in medicine?

These are some of the issues health researchers learn to work on in School of health innovation. In the spring of 2017, 42 researchers from all over Scandinavia became the first group to complete Course I at School of health innovation (HIS): "Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship".  

One of these was Oscar Rangel-Huerta, a postdoc in the Scientia Fellows Programme in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Oslo (UiO).

– I learned how to change my mindset a bit from the scientific world to thinking in another way to create new ideas.  I was also very pleased with the people I worked with. I learned a lot from them and I feel we got useful tools and a valuable team. It was a good experience to be part of, says Rangel-Huerta.

An evaluation of the course showed that 94 percent of participants thought it was relevant to their career. 

Problem solving in a new perspective

HIS, the first of its kind in Scandinavia, is a collaborative effort between UiO, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm. The school was developed in collaboration with the Nansen Neuroscience Network (NNN) and other actors from both the health sector and the business community.

Course 1 is a session-based course that runs from February to May.  It is divided into three modules, each of which is organised by one of the universities in its city.  Each module lasts for two to three days.

Participants and instructor at blackboard
Participants solved and presented solutions on real issues from selected companies. Foto: Monica Bring Estensen/UiO

During the course, participants will meet researchers who have become entrepreneurs before them. In addition to learning from the experiences of others, participants will also be introduced to methods of idea development and group work.

The objective is to learn how innovation processes work in biotech and medtech companies. Participants will learn this by solving real issues the companies have. Each group will present a solution to the companies.

– We learned a lot about teamwork, developing products, developing ideas and how to protect your ideas. That’s biggest “take home”, how to work outside the scientific mindset, says Joao Pedro Mauricio Rosa from Karolinska Institutet.

– I think the most important thing is activities that challenge you to think differently.  Even though you start off with some knowledge, you’ll be forced to use it in new ways and under time pressure, says Catherine Taylor Nordgård, a PhD from NTNU.

She does not hide the fact that the sessions have been intense.  The participants have had to learn a lot in a short time and to solve some major issues.  This has put problem solving in a new perspective.

– We’ve been able to see how much we can actually achieve by working like this.  It was quite surprising when you're used to going through the theory first, she says.

Learning from each other's experiences

Right from the first day, participants were divided into groups based on their background and experience.  These groups were maintained throughout the course.

Nordgård, Rosa and Rangel-Huerta worked closely with Kine Østnes Hansen from UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Joao Pedro Mauricio Rosa from Karolinska Institutet, Georgina Ruth Adeline Askeland from UiO/Oslo University Hospital and Silje Krokeide from UiO.

Nordgård also emphasises the work of the group as a very useful and educational experience.

– You have to get involved in your group, get to know the people you’re working with and learn by doing - I think most researchers are programmed to learn how to do something before they do it, she says.

Working together for innovation

Hilde Nebb
Hilde Nebb, Vice-Dean of Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Medicine at UiO. Foto: UiO
Pål Romundstad
Pål Romundstad, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at NTNU.

To best meet the health challenges of the future, such as an ageing population and resistant bacteria, it is important to provide health researchers with the tools they need.  The three universities behind School of health innovation have a common goal:

– We want our young researchers to learn more about being an innovator.  School of health innovation help new ideas to grow and develop faster among our health researchers in academia and hospitals for the benefit of patients and for value creation and more jobs, says Hilde Nebb, Vice-Dean of Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Medicine at UiO and the initiator.

She is supported by her colleague Pål Romundstad, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at NTNU.  He expands on this:

– There is a need for new thinking, for health-driven innovation.  HIS can help to create this kind of thinking.  And that is what we need to give people better healthcare in the future, says Pål Romstad, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at NTNU.

For further information about School of health innovation and a course description for Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


Evaluations from the students who took part in the School of health innovation in the spring of 2017 (scale from 1 to 5, where 5 is best):

  • New knowledge (4,58 and 4,58)
  • Overall impression (4,5 and 4,57)
  • Inspiration/learning from others (4,45 and 4,27)
  • Organization/administration (4,29 and 4,63)
By Monica Bring Estensen
Published Nov. 24, 2017 12:30 PM - Last modified Sep. 8, 2020 9:46 AM