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Meet Saara Inkinen

  1. Tell me in five words who is Saara Inkinen
    Innovative — resilient — optimist — goal-oriented — weightlifter
  2. What made you join CeMM?
    Before I joined CeMM in 2016, I held two thematically broad positions in Finland: I was responsible for the technology transfer activities of Åbo Akademi University, while simultaneously coordinating the funding of the Research Institute of Åbo Akademi University Foundation. I noticed CeMM was looking for an Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Manager and was attracted by the possibility to work in a smaller institute with a strong translational mission and vision. I was also impressed by the thriving research and innovation ecosystem of Vienna.
  3. What is it about science that interests you the most?
    The opportunity to make a positive impact. The challenges. Working with brilliant minds. In general, the endless possibilities!
  4. What is the best career advice you ever received, or you can give to the CeMM community?Being active in international networks and professional organisations has been immensely valuable for me throughout my career, and I recommend that for everyone — it’s a great way to find new inspiration, updates on relevant topics, and also like-minded friends!
  5. Tell us what happened to you after you left CeMM?
    I founded a consulting company called Nordic Catalyst in Vienna in 2018. Nordic Catalyst supports research organisations and deeptech companies in translating scientific results and inventions into new products and services. I focus on the commercial aspects of new innovations, and my daily tasks range all the way from assessing and developing the market potential of new inventions to creating valuable business opportunities for more mature concepts and supporting funding initiatives and accelerator programs. I really enjoy working closely with research teams and TTOs from different countries and disciplines, and the entrepreneurial working style also suits me very well.
    I have also stayed in touch with my old research colleagues from polymer science and co-authored a book chapter and a research paper with them based on our earlier collaborations in the past couple of years — once a scientist, always a scientist!
  6. What book do you have on your night table at the moment
    Science fiction and fantasy literature have always inspired me. I just started to read The Future by Naomi Alderman. Too early to say much, but I look forward to it based on her earlier novel The Power!

  7. What is the last song you heard?
    I love the energy and attitude of latin pop and trap, and most of my playlists are dominated by these genres. I’m a big fan of Rosalía, and for example Despechá is perfect for sunny days.                                 

  8. Any message you would like to give to CeMMies or a former colleague?
    Wishing everyone a great spring and summer and hope to see you in Vienna or abroad soon again — always happy to have a chat about science, innovation, or life in general!

    Saara Inkinen worked at CeMM as an Intellectual Property (IP) and Technology Transfer Manager. She holds a doctoral degree (D.Sc. Tech.) in polymer technology from Åbo Akademi University in Finland. She had her first scientific position in 2005, and her research focused on the design and synthesis of biopolymers for technical and biomedical applications. During her research years, she got fascinated by innovation management and IP business, when she noticed, how many valuable technologies and ideas stay within the boundaries of academia despite having potential for broader commercial and societal impact. Since 2018, she has accelerated the development and implementation of numerous innovations from many different fields and organisations through her own company Nordic Catalyst. In 2023, she was elected as a member of the Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in Finland. She currently functions as a Co-Chair of the Technology Transfer Committee of the Licensing Executives International (LESI).