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New openings in university-industry cooperation: Aalto University as the forerunner of European University Reform

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The Innovation University (IU)—to be called the Aalto University after Alvav Aalto, a famous Finnish architect and MIT professor—is a new university which will be created through a merger of three existing universities: the Helsinki University of Technology (TKK), the Helsinki School of Economics (HSE) and the University of Art and Design Helsinki (TAIK). The commitment to this reform can be summed with one figure: start-up funding is 700 MEUR coming from the government and industry. The objectives set for the IU require long-term development of operations in a way that makes societal interaction and in particular, effectiveness serving working life an integral part of all the operations. This cannot be achieved without education and development services essential to working life competencies, meeting also short-term competency challenges and representing international top level. Themes, research topics and ways of working crossing boundaries will be nurtured within the focus areas of the new university. These facilitate comprehension of how knowledge and skills acquired through various disciplines are to be integrated into the teaching and learning practices. The IU is the developer of new learning environments and a determined promoter of lifelong learning. The new university will position itself within the core of global competition, as an active interaction node and meeting forum for the international academic community and the most noteworthy networks formed by global companies. In selected key areas, the new university will volunteer to act and take a role as the network orchestrator.

Keywords: continuing education; innovation; lifelong learning; university reform; university-industry cooperation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Helsinki University of Technology, Lifelong Learning Institute Dipoli, Espoo, Finland 2: Helsinki University of Technology, Language Centre, Espoo, 02015 TKK, Finland

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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