Finland wil naar wereldtop

Nieuws | de redactie
17 april 2009 | Crisis of geen crisis, Finland zorgt voor een nieuw type HO-gemeenschap en ambitie. De Economische Hogeschool, de TU en de Kunst en Design universiteit van Helsinki fuseren tot de Aalto University. Met zo´n 19.000 studenten gaat deze nieuw multidisciplinair onderzoek en onderwijs ontwikkelen. Zij is vernoemd naar de grote architect die alumnus van de kunstinstelling was en de bouwmeester ervan.

Finland’s leading institutions brought together
Aalto University is strongly future-oriented while at the same time building on the combined 300-year-history of three highly-regarded universities. Only the best students and researchers are admitted to study and conduct research at HSE, TaiK and TKK. The three universities co-operate actively with companies and their graduates have very high employment rates. HSE has been granted all of the major certificates of excellence in the field of economic sciences, TKK has more than ten centres of excellence and TaiK is an internationally acknowledged institution. Aalto University is involved in all of the Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation (SHOK). HSE’s, TaiK’s and TKK’s alumni (70,000 in total) form a network that makes a significant contribution to society. They occupy leading positions in companies and organizations.

Aalto University’s targets
Aalto University will actively draw on its multi-science and multi-arts nature. The objective is to be one of the world’s leading universities by 2020. A student-centred culture that encourages people to passionately learn new things will be created at Aalto University. The new university will provide high-quality research and education and create an internationally attractive environment for learning and research. Aalto University provides encouraging academic career paths that attract future players to work at this new university. A significant role will be established for Aalto University both in Finland and abroad. Networking and co-operation guarantee active dialogue on both the national and international markets. We are already co-operating with the world’s leading universities and networks.

Aalto University will focus its research on major global issues. New research environments often evolve into larger research programmes or units through themes that require a cross-disciplinary approach. Aalto University’s success will be based on enhancing the quality of research and education provided by the science community formed by HSE, TaiK and TKK.

Collaborative environments for companies and communities
Aalto University offers its partners the possibility to co-operate closely with the university community. This co-operation yields new expertise, for example through the Lab Let platforms. Design Factory, Media Factory and Service Factory are Aalto University’s first joint projects. These so-called New Expertise Workshops are learning, teaching, research and co-operation environments in which academic teams and projects as well as companies or communities work together.

The workshops support internationality, open innovation, new ways of teaching and learning as well as a cross-disciplinary approach. The workshops’ research findings are seamlessly integrated into the teaching. The workshops are based on areas in which the three universities already have interdisciplinary co-operation. Design Factory concentrates on product development, Media Factory on the media and Service Factory on high-value-added services. The new university aims at further deepening the expertise of each university in addition to its joint multidisciplinary projects.

Aalto University Foundation
The Aalto University Foundation Board decides on the Foundation’s strategy, operation and financial issues and is responsible for any far-reaching plans. The Board started its work in August 2008. Kone Oyj’s President & CEO Matti Alahuhta and Professor Marja Makarow, CEO of the European Science Foundation ESF, were appointed Chair and Vice Chair respectively. The other five members of the board are Robert A. Brown, President of Boston University, Anne Brunila, President & CEO of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation, Bengt Holmström, Professor, MIT, Saku Mantere, Professor, Hanken School of Economics and Anna Valtonen, Head of Design Research & Foresight at Nokia.  All board members hold a doctorate.

The Aalto University Foundation Board appointed Professor Tuula Teeri as President for a term of five years beginning 1 April 2009 in a meeting held on 19 December. “It has become evident that a multidisciplinary approach and cross-disciplinary cooperation bring about new ways of thinking and stimulate innovation. Working together towards a common goal in teams of experts with very different backgrounds is inspiring and rewarding; exploring the interfaces between disciplines leads to unexpected results, and the surprises lead to new discoveries.

I have already had a chance to see the benefits of combining the viewpoints of science, arts and business even in my own work. Such cooperation does not undermine the importance of any party involved. Rather, the different fields complement and inspire each other, leading to new forms of expertise.”

Teeri has previously been the vice-president of KTH in Stockholm among other positions. She will lead the transformation process towards Aalto University together with the rectors of HSE, TaiK and TKK, Eero Kasanen, Helena Hyvönen and Matti Pursula.

Aalto University is a foundation-based university. The foundation’s basic capital of EUR 700 million will be accumulated in three stages in 2008, 2009 and 2010 through a Government donation of EUR 500 million and donations of EUR 200 million from other financiers, including companies, foundations, other communities and private individuals.

The capital of the foundation and its returns will have a central role in achieving the targets set for the university. The capital in itself gives the university the solvency it needs. The returns on the capital enable the implementation of the university’s strategy and put the university in a better position than before to carry out fundamental research, an inherent part of a university. 

The name – a tribute to Alvar Aalto
The name of the university symbolises change and is a tribute to Alvar Aalto, a prominent architect who is renowned for his achievements in technology, economics and art. The name portrays the new university’s idea, spirit, values and ambitions. Alvar Aalto is TKK’s alumnus and the designer of both the city plan for the Otaniemi area and the main building of TKK.

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