The pandemic boosted the multidisciplinary E3 project on indoor health safety

In the picture Enni Sanmark

Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) is one of the partners in a recently launched three-year co-innovation project, which has received significant funding of 6 million euros from Business Finland. The project, with its origins in practical needs, brings together companies and research institutes to study how to create as safe an indoor space as possible from the point of view of infectious diseases and pandemics. Ph.D. and a specialising physician Enni Sanmark from HUS tells more about this joint project connecting various disciplines and companies.

Goal: maintaining safe interaction  

Enni Sanmark, who leads the project at HUS, says that the uniqueness of the E3 project (Excellence in Pandemic Response and Enterprise Solutions Co-innovation) lies in its wide representation of participating companies and research organisations spanning over multiple disciplines. In addition to the medical understanding, HUS brings to the project a hospital environment platform necessary for both the validation and  the research and development work. Hospital environment is inevitably a space where different pathogens are present.  

The project will yield massive amounts of valuable research data, new innovations and ideas which will help to renew the current solutions and practices for indoor spaces in hospitals, workplaces, restaurants, and other spaces where people meet and pathogen-transmitting airflows move. The project’s key element is to find ways that allow people to continue to interact as safely as possible despite ongoing epidemics or pandemics.   

A diverse group of companies and research institutes

The E3 co-innovation project involves 23 companies of different sizes, and seven research institutes. The project is characterised by a strong research basis and the subprojects involve themes such as the development of construction technologies, creation of models for the pathways of aerosols and airflows, monitoring people flow, studying pathogens, transmission routes and different diagnostic methods, learning about technical solutions and evaluating and developing related equipment. In addition to HUS, the other public actors in the project are, Helsinki University, Tampere University, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, VTT, Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL)Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and Finnish Meteorological Institute. Tamlink Oy is in charge of the E3 project coordination.    

In the sub-project related to diagnostics for the upper respiratory infections HUS is working in close collaboration with another CleverHealth Network partner Roche and SME companies Olfactomics and Biomensio. They all work together to develop new tools to ease, define and speed up related diagnostics.

Identification of the spreaders of infections is the key

Enni explains that in the project, HUS is primarily studying the transmission routes and diagnostics of respiratory infections and how people’s individual differences affect the spreading of airborne infections,  in other words, the phenomenon of the so-called super-spreader. 

Faster diagnostics are also being developed for testing and monitoring people and later on, spaces. In practice, this could mean that the space where an infected person has been detected, could be effectively ventilated at once. There is also a need to enable the piloting of validated solutions in hospital environment. Here, especially the joint work on Smart Modular Healthcare led by Granlund plays an important role.  

”The E3 project offers an excellent opportunity to researchers and companies to co-develop world-class solutions to promote safety during pandemics. Granlund coordinates the co-development within the health care sector with an objective to create smart and modular solutions covering the range from design and construction to actual usage,” says Tuomas Laine, Director, Innovation and Development at Granlund.

Expectations on the E3 project footprint

Enni’s role in the project is to focus on the key areas of HUS research and to share the medical insights to the different parties within the consortium. As a young researcher, she is delighted of the opportunity to become a part of such a pioneering project. She hopes that her example also motivates other young researchers to boldly take on new, disruptive projects. 

To sum up, Enni hopes that the project would lead to an active ecosystem of research institutions and companies with readiness to join their forces again when new crises emerge. Enni says: “It would be great if our project outcomes would prevent people from needing to stay confined at their homes for years to an end, but instead, everyone could continue to safely meet each other and interact socially, as it is so important for our wellbeing.”


E3 – “Excellence in Pandemic Response and Enterprise Solutions Co-innovation” is a multi-disciplinary joint R&D project built together by CleverHealth Network ecosystem and IAQe (Indoor Air Quality Ecosystem, funded by Business Finland and the participating companies.