The Young Researcher Entrepreneur of 2013 is Anssi Lehikoinen, PhD. The award is a new Finnish entrepreneurship prize which aims to recognize new businesses developed by researchers and encourage other young researchers to become entrepreneurs.
“This is very important for the society, because a new business can be used to promote the utilization of major research findings and create new jobs,” says KAUTE Foundation Advocate Jouni Lounasmaa.
International demand for precise measurement methods for process industries
Anssi Lehikoinen, PhD, is currently President and CEO of Rocsole Oy, the company he founded in 2012. The company develops and commercializes process industry monitoring methods based on capacitance tomography and on-line measuring devices.
“Our product can be used to adjust the amount of deposit inhibitor chemicals used in process industries – thus reducing energy consumption of the use of these chemicals,” Lehikoinen says.
Since its founding, Rocsole Oy has been active in international markets. At the moment the company’s primary market is in North America. Customers include the basic process industries, the petroleum, chemical and food industries as well as process industry equipment manufacturers. In the future new markets will increasingly require accurate measurements for the precise management of various processes. As an example, Lehikoinen mentions closed water treatment systems, which currently do not have sufficiently reliable measurement solutions by which to determine the accumulation of deposits in pipeline. Also improvements can be made to the measurement of the moisture content of many powders.
During its very first year of operations the company’s turnover surpassed EUR 200,000 and the forecast for 2013 was EUR 1 million. Roscole Oy has been accepted to participate in TEKES’s Young Innovative Company program.
Breakthroughs in research lead to business success
Anssi Lehikoinen, born in 1979, completed his doctoral degree in 2012 at the Department of Applied Physics at the University of Eastern Finland Department. His doctoral thesis researched the applicability of a type of tomographic imaging method – impedance tomography – for soil research as well as pipeline flow monitoring in industrial processes. Lehikoinen developed computational methods to address inverse problems. These methods can be used to identify errors in both the measurement and modeling of image reconstruction. As a result of his research, tomographic methods have been made more robust allowing for their use in practical applications.
This is a breakthrough that has allowed for the commercialization of measurement methods and thus the generation of new businesses.
Two companies founded based on research
Before Rocsole Oy, Anssi Lehikoinen founded Numcore in 2008, which was sold to Outotec in March of last year. Both companies’ products are based on Anssi Lehikoinen’s research and its application in various industrial processes. Lehikoinen was also granted young researcher award for his outstanding doctoral thesis by the University of Eastern Finland in 2013.
The Young Researcher Entrepreneur 2013 competition was organized by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises’ Young Entrepreneurs and KAUTE Foundation’s Academic Entrepreneurship Fund. The jury’s decision was unanimous.
“Anssi Lehikoinen has demonstrated his unique capabilities to understand new issues in his research as well as his ability to network with the international research community. Furthermore, in addition to his duties as CEO he has been active in his companies in commercializing solutions to scientific and technical problems,” said chair of the jury Jarmo Hallikas.
“Thus, in his activities Anssi has successfully combined entrepreneurship and innovative research.”