Pix4Business – power for business from image data

Pix4Business is a project of Turku BioImaging, a joint organization of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, aiming to improve business sector collaboration. The main goal of the project is to increase the usefulness, impact and productivity of bioimaging data in the R&D activities of life science companies in Southwest Finland.

Image data has been estimated to be the most significant and impactful area of growth and development in biomedical research within the next few years, and understanding its potential is currently at a turning point globally. By utilizing modern methods, such as deep learning and cloud computing, and by mining old image data for new information, companies could speed up their product development and processes, and possibly renew their business.

However, preliminary survey indicates that image data is currently both an unused possibility and a bottleneck for future development in most companies. Turku is Finland’s bioimaging capital, with world-class infrastructure benefiting the entire Southwest Finland bio and pharma sector. By strengthening the region’s bioimaging with new, high-quality services of image data analysis and management, it will be possible to increase the value of all activity related to imaging, and to enable more versatile utilization of image data both as a workhorse of product development and as a driver of new innovations.

Pix4Business grasps this topical opportunity by i) making academic image data expert services and knowledge available to the companies in the region, ii) building a network of companies and experts that will increase knowledge and understanding of the utilization possibilities of image data, and iii) improving the integration of imaging students in  relevant companies, ensuring a better understanding of imaging in the companies in the future.

In this way, Pix4Business consolidates and complements Turku’s strong imaging cluster with the increasingly important image data services, and thus promotes wise and versatile use of imaging resources in the region’s bio and pharmacompanies.

Pix4Business will be carried out by Turku BioImaging’s Image Data Team, which at the moment offers advanced and much sought-after services of image data analysis and management to academic research groups. Pix4Business will expand these services to the business sector with new resources. The project will hire a project manager, who will focus on charting companies’ needs and expertise related to image data, forming a multifaceted network, and developing agile image data services. The project will also hire an image data expert, who will develop the content and quality of image data analysis and management methods, and formulate these into products that companies can use. In addition to new functional services, communication and dissemination is essential for the success of the project, and will therefore be given particular attention.

The collaborative network formed in Pix4Business will be utilized also to increase the readiness for work and business sector collaboration of the students of the Turku International Master’s Degree Programme in Biomedical Imaging. This will speed up exchange of new ideas, foster innovations and strengthen the attachment of international experts to the region’s companies. Pix4Business takes into consideration horizontal principles. The project advances resource efficiency and wisdom, as more effective and versatile analysis and reuse of image data increase the utilization of existing data and reduce the need to produce new data. Digital image services can also be executed remotely, reducing the need for travel and other resource consumption, thus supporting greener operations. The project will also create better possibilities for SMEs to utilize image data and academic expertise in their R&D work, which in turn improves equality between large and small companies, as image data expertise will be better available also to smaller companies.

The project is financed as part of the measures implemented by the European Union due to the covid-19 pandemic. This project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (EAKR).

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