Does your idea have commercial potential?

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The START program takes your project closer to patients and society 

The START program is one part in the Karolinska Institutet innovation office offer. Within the START program we help you to validate the potential of your research- or knowledge-based idea. Initially, we aim to gain an understanding of the market, assess the possibilities to protect the idea by patents or trademarks and to confirm that the asset owner has the right to commercialize the concept. In a later phase we help to identify important aspects to take your idea to the next level.

The START program offer you:

  • A dedicated business coach with extensive experience and focus on commercialization/utilization
  • Access to qualified expert competence in life science product- and business-development
  • Funding of verification activities through the VFT program
  • Network of customers/investors
  • Seminars and workshops in Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Strategy for Impact and Sustainability 

The target group for START is researchers and students at Karolinska Institutet.

We offer you

Coaching and advice

Our business coaches have experience from research and innovation in the public and private sectors. We guide you on your innovation journey and help you choose a strategy for utilizing your knowledge or your research results.

Expert network

KI Innovations has a large expert network that can be used when needed. These activities are funded by the Vinnova Program Validation for Application (VFT). There are many activities that may be of interest, such as market analysis, customer and target group analysis, IP protection, development of business model and business plan, technical verification, legal support, regulatory strategy, team development or communication

Workshops and Seminars

If you have a project in START you can participate in various workshops and seminars that help you succeed in your innovation journey. Read more about all our activities and feel free to contact us if there were any topic you would like to hear more about. Via LinkedIn and our newsletters, we also provide tips on lectures and activities arranged by other actors.

Extensive Life Science Network

Projects supported within the START program gain access to our network of experts, investors, and potential customers in the private and public sectors. We can also help you who need to complement your team in the short or long term.

Tools and templates

You who have a project in START get access to quality-assured agreement templates tailored for the utilization of knowledge and research results. We can also introduce you to various tools for communicating your value proposition, mapping stakeholders and structuring and developing your utilization project.

Research projects from KI supported within the START program- a few examples

Within the START program, we support all kinds of innovative ideas originating from knowledge and research from Karolinska Institutet. It can include medicines, treatment methods, digital health solutions, diagnostic methods and much more. Below you can read about some cases that we have worked with during the last few years.

Cases in the START program

“Everyone will face death, but yet, we rarely talk about it”

Professor Carol Tishelman (Department of Learning, Informatics and Management and Ethics), runs the Döbra project to raise issues about everyday existentialism. Death is something we rarely talk about today. Therefore, many people are not prepared to encounter with death. The DöBra pack of cards can be used as a tool to help people talk about […]

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“New technology to reach organs which is hard to access raises hope for a variety of diseases”

Professor Staffan Holmin (Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet and Department of Neuroradiology at Karolinska University Hospital) conducts research on microcatheter technology in combination with imaging techniques which could help to diagnose and treat a range of different diseases. Together with partners from both academia and industry, Staffan Holmin has developed a method where […]

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“Novel compounds towards new treatment for cancer”

Professor Elias Arnér (Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics) has identified novel compounds able to potently and specifically inhibit a target related to oxidative stress as a treatment of cancer. The technology has been licensed to a biotech company and is currently undergoing further development towards clinical testing. The commercial development was originally supported by Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SFF), […]

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“We are exploring a novel diagnosis and treatment for NASH”

Myriam Aouadi, Group Leader for the NASH project, Centre for Infectious Medicine, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet is together with her team looking at non-invasive diagnosis method and treatment for NASH. Myriam is receiving support from KI Innovations START team and we asked her a few questions about her journey, her learnings so far and […]

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“Our aim is to develop a novel device to improve the performance of blood cultures”

Our aim is to develop a novel device to improve the performance of blood cultures in detection of microorganisms causing sepsis. The most important factor in reducing mortality rates and hospital-related costs in patients with sepsis is to start effective antimicrobial treatment as soon as possible. Effective antimicrobial treatment is only possible with detection, timely […]

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“Novel treatment of psychosis is a highly unmet clinical need”

Sophie Erhardt, professor at the Dept of Physiology & Pharmacology at KI  together with Lilly Schwieler, senior researcher, Dept of Physiology & Pharmacology want to discover a drug candidate that will decrease overactivity in dopaminergic projections in patients with neuroinflammatory-induced psychosis. Sophie is receiving support from KI Innovations START team and we asked her a […]

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“Reduce workers´ exposure to harmful volatiles emitted from goods”

Gunnar Johanson, Senior Professor and Researcher and  Urban Svedberg, Senior Researcher  are working at the institute of Environmental Medicine,Unit of Integrative Toxicology  at Karolinska Institutet. Gunnar and his team aim to reduce workers´ exposure to harmful volatiles emitted from goods. Gunnar and Urban are receiving support from KI Innovations START team and we asked them […]

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“Smart clothing that can detect prolonged periods of muscle inactivity”

Paul Ackermann, Orthopedic surgeon and Senior lecturer, Orthopedics, MMK  and Robin Juthberg, PhD-student and MD, Orthopedics, MMK are looking at new innovative ways to address the ever growing problem of muscle inactivity. Paul Ackermann is receiving support from KI Innovations START team and we asked him a few questions about the journey and learnings so […]

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We help you with :

How do I get started?

The process starts with you submitting a project proposal – please download the Idea Description Form. There are instructions on the form. The activities within the START program are free of charge for any researcher or student at Karolinska Institutet and all information is handled confidentially.

The START program always begins with your filling in the

Idea Description Form

All the activities in the program are free of charge and all information is handled with confidentiality

What happens then?

We schedule an inventor meeting where you will meet one of our experienced business coaches. In the meeting we go through your project and aim to identify the most critical issues. We also help to classify your product – is it (for example) a drug, a diagnostic tool or a MedTech device? Incoming projects are discussed at an internal decision meeting. Within projects that are granted support we engage external experts who help to increase the value of the project. These experts are financed with money from Sweden’s Innovation Agency, Vinnova. During your time in START, you also have the possibility to participate in seminars, workshops, and short courses.

The teacher exemption gives you the right to your inventions!

As a university-employed researcher in Sweden, you have a unique right to your own inventions through the so-called Teacher Exemption. The exception means that you yourself have the right to your inventions and results of your research. This applies unless you have agreed otherwise. The teacher exemption thus gives you an opportunity to decide for yourself what you want to do with the results of your research. But it also gives you a responsibility to find ways to ensure that the research is utilized in an appropriate way, something that is enshrined in the Higher Education Act. One way to utilize research results is through innovation development and commercialization. Regardless of which path you choose for recovery, it is important that you e.g. reviews opportunities for protection of your ideas and results, that you identify potential users and customers and develop a plan for how you can realize the development of a product or service from the idea. Read more about Karolinska Institutet’s IP Policy here.

As a KI researcher, you also get support in understanding KI’s other regulations that can be helpful to you. You can find this support at the Research Support office

Still have some questions? Or you’d just like to get started.

Get in touch


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