Call for papers: UAS Journal 2/2021, Open RDI activities and open education in universities of applied sciences

We invite RDI and open education experts to write in the UAS Journal themed issue 2/2021 on open RDI activities and open education in universities of applied sciences. In this themed issue, we will prefer diverse and cross-organisational articles. 

The open organisational culture has developed vastly in universities of applied sciences during the past few years. There was a significant improvement in maturity levels in the maturity report of research organisations by the Ministry of Education and Culture. However, the report reminds us that there is still developing to be done in the open organisational culture. The obstacles in openness as experienced by various actors need to be solved, guidance and supporting services further developed and cooperation between organisations and networks strengthened. Despite Finnish higher education already being at the head of open research and science in Europe, there is need to develop further in international collaboration. 

Open RDI activities mean that RDI projects, their publications and other output, theses, study materials, RDI data, methods and indicators are kept available and at use as openly as possible. Additionally, the processes in availability and storage need to be controlled.  Open activities increase the visibility, quality, reliability and impressiveness of the RDI activities, as well as promote collaboration with companies and organisations. 

Open Education (OE) means extending learning and participation for all. Open education aims to lower hindrances in learning and increase availability, accessibility, supply and learner-centredness. Open education is often carried out using digital technology. OE diversifies the possibilities of teaching, learning, knowledge forming, co-creation and co-sharing, as well as merges formal and informal learning. Central concepts are Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices. (Avoin tiedehttps://avointiede.fi/fi/tutkijalle/ukk#oppiminen) 

The submissions for the themed issue may deal with following topics or questions: 

  • How has openness been developed in RDI activities and education in universities of applied sciences and the whole innovation eco system? 
  • How is open education promoted in universities of applied sciences? 
  • How are the results, data and competences in the RDI activities of universities of applied sciences made available for use during the activities – and not only as final results? 
  • How has openness changed developing or regional impact in the world of work? 
  • How can the services and competences provided by universities of applied sciences and their RDI infrastructure be found? How can they be better utilised? 
  • What kind of education and training or services are provided in connection with RDI activities and education? How are the activities organised? 
  • What kind of practices in open access publishing have been developed, i.e. parallel publishing, article processing fees, licences? 
  • How have data management process been developed? 

We hope to receive expert article submissions both from universities of applied sciences and outside of them. We also hope to receive ’best practices’ articles sharing good methods and practices. You may also submit less formal reviews, summaries, and interviews, as well as commentaries about open RDI and open education. The maximum length of an expert article is 10,000 characters, review 4,000 characters, and less formal texts around 3,000 characters (including spaces). See for more advice in the instructions for writers. 

This issue 2/2021 has two-phase submission process. In the first phase we ask you to submit an abstract of around 200 words. We will form the contents of the themed issue based on the abstracts. After that we will ask for the final drafts based on the chosen abstracts. 

Guest editors: 

  • Seliina Päällysaho, Ph.D., M.Sc. (Econ.), Research Manager, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences 
  • Anne Kärki, D.Sc. (Tech.)Principal LecturerSatakunta University of Applied Sciences 
  • Hannu HyyppäD.Sc. (Tech.).Professor, AALTO University 
  • Katja Laitila, M.Soc.Sc., Information Specialist, Häme University of Applied Sciences 

Please send your abstract of around 200 words to the guest editors in Word format vithe following linkhttps://www.lyyti.in/Abstrakti_UAS_Journal_2_2021 

Timetable: 

  • Send your abstract via the link above by Friday, 3 March 2021. 
  • Response based on the abstract will be sent by 14 March 2021.  
  • Send the first version of your article to the guest editors at seliina.paallysaho(at)seamk.fi by Friday 9 April 2021. 
  • Feedback will be sent to the corresponding author by 25 April 2021. 
  • Send your final version by Friday 7 May 2021. 

The issue will be published during the week 20. 

Please share this call for papers! 

 

Fostering Autonomous Learning in Universities and Workplaces

Authors: Tanja Vesala-Varttala & Anna Hankimaa.

Autonomous learning is a professional necessity in today’s fast-changing and internationalizing workplace environments, in companies and universities alike. Keeping on top of change requires that learners have the ability and opportunity to self-regulate their continuous learning process.

In the Erasmus+ co-funded project CORALL – Coaching-oriented Online Resources for the Autonomous Learning of LSP, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and five European partner universities have collected qualitative data about autonomous learning experiences from companies, educators, and higher education students across Europe. This article will outline how universities and employers can work together to provide support for autonomous learning and foster key workplace competences.

Autonomous Learning as a Critical Competence

According to Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture by Council of Europe (2018), autonomous learning is a “critical competence” that encompasses a set of “skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and attitudes” learners need to “to pursue, organize and evaluate their own learning, in accordance with their own needs, in a self-directed and self-regulated manner.” This includes identifying learning needs and goals, critically using multiple sources of information, making efficient use of peer support, applying appropriate learning strategies and techniques, and reflecting on both the results of learning and the learning process. Overall, learner autonomy enables one to “act upon new challenges and possibilities” in work-related contexts and “public and private spheres of society.” It is also emphasized that language competence is an integral part of learning and knowledge sharing. (Vol. 1, pp. 14, 17, 33, 46).

Autonomous learning is an established research tradition in the field of language for specific purposes (LSP). One way to approach the phenomenon there has been to divide it into four spheres that illustrate the multidimensional nature of autonomous learning: technical, psychological, socio-cultural, and political-critical (Oxford 2003). We need technical, psychological, and socio-cultural competences to manage our learning in terms of tools and techniques, cognitive processes, reflection, emotions, motivation, and collaboration. Critical-political competences are needed to bring about change in learning environments and social situations (e.g. Holec 1981; Boud, Keogh & Walker 1985; Wenden 1995; Littlewood 1996; Benson 1996, 1997, 2001, 2011; Kumaravadivelu 2001; Little, Ridley & Ushioda 2002, Tassinari 2012).

Figure 1. Examples of competences under autonomous learning spheres .

Qualitative Insight into Autonomous Learning Challenges

The CORALL project develops autonomous learning in international study and workplace settings. The project partners of Haaga-Helia are Budapest Business School (Hungary), Beuth University (Germany), Polytechnic Institute of Guarda (Portugal), University of Economics in Bratislava (Slovakia), and University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague (the Czech Republic). The project brings together educators, companies, and students to test, develop, and co-create autonomous learning solutions.

In spring 2020, the CORALL team collected qualitative insights into autonomous learning through one-to-one interviews, group interviews, and written reflections from 18 corporate representatives, 24 educators, and 48 higher education students in six countries. The data was categorized according to the main research themes of autonomous learning conceptions, challenges, and solutions. After that, the data was interpreted from individual, team, and organizational perspectives. Finally, the findings were compared with the national career monitoring survey data collected in 2019 from Finnish UAS graduates of 2014 in response to the question “How important are the following knowledge and skills in your current job?” (Table 1).

Table 1. The most important world-of-work knowledge and skills according to national career monitoring survey (Vipunen – Education Statistics Finland 2019).

Six most important skills in respondents' current jobavg.n
1Initiative and self-direction5.418,518
2Stress tolerance and adaptation to new situations5.368,527
3Independent working and time management5.348,517
4Ability to learn and adopt new things5.348,505
5Communication and negotiation skills5.328,504
6Problem solving skills5.278,526

The autonomous learning experiences described by the CORALL informants have clear connections with the six most important workplace competences brought up in the national career monitoring survey. The qualitative data illuminates the demands and challenges that autonomous learners face in their learning efforts (Table 2). This insight gives direction to planning support for autonomous learning to develop key workplace competences for current and future needs.

Table 2: Comparison between selected national career monitoring survey (Vipunen – Education Statistics Finland 2019) and CORALL qualitative research (2020) results.

Finnish Career Monitoring Survey 2019: Key workplace knowledge and skillsCORALL 2020: Individual level autonomous learning challengesCORALL 2020: Team level autonomous learning challenges
1. Initiative and self-directionGoal-setting; internal motivation; self-leadershipDefining shared purpose, goals and vision; differences between team members in their ability to learn autonomously
2. Stress tolerance and adaptation to new situationsSkills and resilience to deal with uncertaintyTolerating mistakes; making use of peer support; keeping up team motivation
3. Independent working and time managementTime management and multitaskingTeam and project management
4. Ability to learn and adopt new thingsFinding courage and self-confidence to take responsibility for learning new professional and cultural skills; self-assessment and self-reflection skillsOvercoming technical, psychological, and socio-cultural barriers to collaborative learning, peer-assessment skills
5. Communication and negotiation skillsPaying heed to cultural, social, and economic realities different from one's ownSoft skills to share knowledge and cultivate trust in cross-functional and cross-cultural teams
6. Problem-solving skillsFinding relevant information sources, learning solutions, and digital tools to facilitate problem-solvingProactive engagement with peer networks and learning communities to facilitate problem-solving

Developing Pedagogical Support for Autonomous Learning

The CORALL project aims at fostering learner autonomy through developing pedagogical tools, models, and support systems. As autonomous learning is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon, it is important that the tools and models are practical and easy to use by individuals, teams, and organizations for various types of international business and workplace challenges.

Individuals need tools with which to structure complex knowledge and become aware of their learning progress and development needs. For teams, we develop support for project management, collaborative learning, and uncertainty tolerance. For universities and employers, there is a need to create long-term learning paths and tools that help align individual and team goals with organizational goals. The qualitative findings also underline the importance of creating an encouraging atmosphere supportive of autonomous learning through interaction and dialogue. The data obtained from students show that working on authentic challenges and company projects can boost motivation to learn autonomously.

At Haaga-Helia, the project continues by testing and co-creating autonomous learning solutions together with students, educators, and company partners. The test environments are Haaga-Helia marketing and communication students’ Creative Agency Krea and the specialization study path Global Markets and Trade. Both offer project-based study modules where students and their coaches work together with company clients to solve authentic international business challenges.

In these project-based learning environments, we experiment, on a weekly basis, with autonomous learning tools and models facilitating students’ learning at different stages of their project work. Our company partners experiment with some of the same tools, along with models and support structures of their own. At regular intervals, an advisory board of company representatives, educators, and students come together to discuss the results of the experiments and to make plans for further development.

We also collect guided reflections from students through learner diaries and forms of self and peer assessment. In this way, learners develop their reflective skills and their experiences can be subjected to international comparison and scrutiny between the CORALL partners. Finally, we publish best practices, models, and tools as open-access online resources to foster autonomous learning in the international workplace.

Autonomous Learning to Facilitate Change

Educational institutions have an important role to play in helping individuals, teams and organizations to navigate global business and workplace challenges. Both work-related research and close collaboration between students, educators, and companies are needed to foster autonomous learning and develop key workplace skills and knowledge.

In addition to technical, psychological, and socio-cultural competences, it is important to develop learners’ critical competences to help them become active citizens and drive social transformation. With pedagogical solutions suitable for both higher education and workplace learning, educational institutions can support life-long learners and employers to facilitate sustainable change.

Authors

Tanja Vesala-Varttala, PhD, Principal Lecturer in Marketing and Communication, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, tanja.vesala-varttala(at)haaga-helia.fi
Anna Hankimaa, MSc (Econ), doctoral candidate, Senior Lecturer in International Business, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, anna.hankimaa(at)haaga-helia.fi

Benson, P. 1996. Concepts of autonomy in language learning. IN: Pemberton, R., Li, E.S.L., Or, W.W.F. and Pierson, H.D. (eds.) Taking control: autonomy in language learning. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, pp. 27-34

Benson, P. 1997. The philosophy and politics of learner autonomy. IN: Benson, P. and Voller, P. (eds.) Autonomy and independence in language learning. London and NY: Longman, pp.18-34

Benson, P. 2001. Teaching and researching autonomy in language learning. Harlow: Longman

Benson, P. 2011. What’s new in autonomy? The language teacher, 35(4), 15-18. Available at: https://jalt-publications.org/files/pdf-article/plen3.pdf. Accessed 15.9.2020

Boud, D., Keogh, R. and Walker, D. (eds.). 1985. Reflection: turning experience into learning. London: Kogan Page / New York: Nichols Publishing Company

Boud, D., Keogh, R. and Walker, D. 1985. What is reflection in learning? IN: Boud, D., Keogh, R. and Walker, D. (eds.) Reflection: turning experience into learning. London: Kogan Page / New York: Nichols Publishing Company, pp. 7-17

Council of Europe. 2018. Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture. Volume 1

Holec, H. 1981. Autonomy and foreign language learning. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Kumaravadivelu, B. 2001. Toward a postmethod pedagogy. TESOL Quarterly, 35 (4), pp. 537-560

Little, D., Ridley, J. and Ushioda, E. 2002. Towards greater learner autonomy in the foreign language classroom. Dublin: Authentik

Littlewood, W. 1996. “Autonomy”: An anatomy and a framework. System, 24(4), pp. 427-435

Oxford, R. L. 2003. Toward a more systematic model of L2 learner autonomy. IN: Palfreyman, D. and Smith, R. C. (eds.). Learner autonomy across cultures: language education perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 75-91

Palfreyman, D. and Smith, R. C. (eds.). 2003. Learner autonomy across cultures: language education perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Pemberton, R., Li, E.S.L., Or, W.W.F. and Pierson, H.D. (eds.). 1996. Taking control: autonomy in language learning. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press

Tassinari, M. G., 2012. Evaluating learner autonomy: A dynamic model with descriptors. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 3(1), pp. 24-40

Vesala-Varttala, T. 2019. Coaching-based autonomous learning: Tackling skills gaps in international marketing. eSignals. Helsinki: Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. Available at: https://esignals.fi/en/2019/11/18/coaching-based-autonomous-learning-tackling-skills-gaps-in-international-marketing-2/#dfb37a5b. Accessed 15.9.2020

Vesala-Varttala, T. 2020. Creative Agency Krea – Customer research, concept design and omnichannel storytelling. eSignals. Helsinki: Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. Available at: https://esignals.fi/en/2020/08/25/creative-agency-krea-customer-research-concept-design-and-omnichannel-storytelling/#dfb37a5b. Accessed 15.9.2020

Vipunen – Education Statistics Finland. 2019. Career Monitoring. Available at: https://vipunen.fi/en-gb/polytechnic/Pages/Uraseuranta.aspx. Accessed 15.9.2020

Wenden, A. L. 1995. Learner training in context: a knowledge-based approach. System, 23(2), pp. 183-194

Future-proofing ALL our students and graduates

Author: Sandra Slotte.

International alumni: the missing piece of the puzzle

The national Career Monitoring Survey is an annual national survey sent out to alumni who have graduated from a Finnish university of applied sciences (UAS) five years ago. It has so far been conducted twice (the third is ongoing at the time of writing this article) and includes alumni from both Bachelor and Master levels. However, the survey is only sent to alumni whose contact details the UASs possess and the survey is only answered by the recipients who choose to do so. This vastly reduces the amount of respondents, which was only 33% of all alumni nationally who graduated 2018 and 35% in 2019 (Helmi & Lauronen, 2020). Another issue is that in 2019 94% of the respondents had Finnish nationality, of which 1.5% had another mother tongue than Finnish or Swedish (Lauronen & Saarinen, 2020). This means, that we do not have accurate data for the international alumni who either did not receive the survey or chose not to respond. This leaves a significant knowledge gap nationally for how international alumni have perceived the quality of their Finnish education and their employment after graduation. As Finland has several internationalisation policies from national to municipal and institutional level, it would be extremely valuable to be able to access more data on international alumni from Finnish higher education institutions (HEIs).

Combining available data to paint the whole picture

The UAS Graduand Feedback Questionnaire (AVOP) is another national survey sent out annually to evaluate the students’ perceptions of the quality of their education, including its relevance for their future careers. It is sent to all students who are about to graduate from a Finnish UAS. Some institutions have made it compulsory and many do their best to encourage their graduating students to fill it out. Therefore, the response rate is very high nationally in contrast with the Career Monitoring Survey. This also means that there is rich data available also regarding international students. Additionally, some Finnish HEIs have participated in the commercial iGraduate’s International Student Barometer (ISB) either annually or sporadically. The barometer is exclusively sent out to current international degree and exchange students, providing valuable insights to these particular student groups. It also provides benchmarking data both nationally, at European level and globally. In 2017 The Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) analysed the data from participating HEIs at a national level. Unfortunately, only two UASs participated (Arcada and HAMK) and so the national data does not accurately reflect UASs students’ perceptions due to this underrepresentation compared to research universities.

AVOP has been criticised for appearing too late in the game, i.e. when the students are already about to graduate and thus can no longer affect their own studies. The ISB surveys current students at all years of the study programmes, but is aimed only at international students. iGraduate does offer a similar tool for surveying national graduates, but mostly Finnish UAS rely on their own particular feedback systems for current students and there is a lack of national-level data. Having national quality assurance systems for student feedback from early studies, to graduation (AVOP) and 5 years after (Career Monitoring Survey), would provide a more holistic view of the perceived quality of the student journey in Finnish UASs. By simply combining data from both national surveys as well as with the ISB data available, we would not only have longitudinal data, but we would also have a better understanding of our international students’ perceptions.

Filling the data gap while showing the value we place on feedback

As I am responsible for analysing Arcada’s data from all three surveys mentioned above, I saw this gap already in 2018 and decided to fill it on my own. I was in charge of the International Orientation Day for new students (about 90) at our Bachelor’s degree programmes in English and decided to ask these students 1) what they wanted to accomplish while at Arcada, except for a degree; 2) which skills and competences they were hoping to develop during their forthcoming years at Arcada, except strictly discipline-specific skills; and 3) what they thought they could do themselves to develop them. I did the same in 2019, and in 2020 I was invited to talk to all new students (about 500) at our Bachelor’s degree programmes about the future of education and work, and the importance of global competences. This opportunity provided me with data from over 400 students who chose to share their thoughts on the above-mentioned questions. The aspirations of our new students during the first week of their studies correspond very well with the information provided by our students about to graduate (AVOP) and our alumni of five years (Career Monitoring Survey). The latter two provide us with insights as to how well we meet these expectations.

Figure 1. Mentimeter results from Global Competences session with 110 Business Management and Analystics Bachelor’s degree students 29.8.2020.

I used this opportunity to report back to our students and show that we take feedback seriously by presenting the Career Monitoring Survey results for the question: “What kind of professional and field-related competence would you encourage current students to obtain to prepare them for future working life?” which in Arcada’s case were soft skills such as e.g. stress management skills, networking skills, multicultural skills and communication skills. This corresponds well with what the new students had told me they wished for in the beginning of the session. I also showed them data on employability skills, i.e. skills and competences employers are looking for (The Future of Jobs, 2016), as they too correspond very well with both our alumni’s recommendations and the new students’ expectations. Put together, this data makes a compelling case for enabling the development of soft skills and global competences for all our students. It is also made the case compelling for HEIs, as the national funding scheme places emphasis on these skills in the Career Monitoring Survey by connecting funding to 6 particular competences, out of which 5 are soft skills.

Soft skills are considered important, but UASs are underperforming in this area

The skills and competencies connected to the funding of Finnish UASs through the Career Monitoring Survey are: Problem solving skills, Initiative and self-direction, Development skills, Entrepreneurship skills and Ability to learn and adopt new things. The survey question is two-fold and formulated as: “How important are the following knowledge and skills in your current job?” and “How did your UAS studies develop these skills?” Is it the latter that is connected to the funding, but the former is also very interesting information on the actual need for these skills in the respondents’ current jobs. Curiously, even at a national level it is the soft skills that are perceived to be the most important in the respondents’ current jobs, while they feel that their UAS studies did not develop these skills very well. And although entrepreneurship skills are considered important in the funding scheme, the respondents overall did not find this skill particularly important in their current jobs or very well developed in their studies. The former can at least partly be explained by a large amount of respondents being employed at a company. Nationally, only 3% of the respondents who graduated in 2013 and 4% in 2014 currently work as independent entrepreneurs (vipunen.fi Employment situation 5 years after graduation). However, as we almost completely lack data on international alumni and their careers as well as their satisfaction with their UAS degrees, we cannot know if we are teaching them the right things or if they get return on investment in their studies at Finnish HEIs.

Image 2: www.vipunen.fi UAS career monitoring: Equivalence of Competence and work. National results. Graduation year 2014.

Conclusions

The national student and alumni satisfaction surveys provide excellent learning opportunities for evaluating the respondents’ perceptions of the quality of Finnish higher education and services with regards to employability, career development and entrepreneurship, but there are improvements to be made in the collection and analysis of data:

  1. There is a lack of representation of and thus valuable data regarding international alumni’s perceived satisfaction with their UAS studies and the studies’ relevance for work life and career, due to the low amount of international respondents in the Career Monitoring Survey.
  2. There might be value in having access to longitudinal national data from earlier stages of the student journey than graduation, which would require a third survey or a coherent feedback system for all HEIs.
  3. Soft skills are highly valued by employers, are connected to the national funding scheme for Finnish HEIs and are by the alumni respondents perceived to be the most important in the respondents’ current jobs. However, they feel that their UAS studies did not develop these skills that well.
  4. Although entrepreneurship skills are considered important in the funding scheme, the respondents overall (both AVOP and Career Monitoring Survey) did not find these skills particularly important in their current jobs or very well developed in their studies.

Other important aspects are the dissemination of results and taking actions towards development within the HEIs as well as in cooperation with the government, municipalities, employers and entrepreneurs. In order for us to future proof our higher education as well as all our students and graduates, we need to know what we should do, how we should do it and most importantly – why we should do it.

Author

Sandra Slotte, M.Sc.Ed., Head of Sustainable Career Support, Arcada University of Applied Sciences, sandra.slotte(at)arcada.fi

Helmi, S. & Lauronen, T. 2020. AMKista Uralle. Uraseurantatiedot käyttöön. Esitysmateriaali Tulosseminaari 11.3.2020.

Lauronen, T. & Saarinen, S. 2020. Ulkomaalaisten ja ulkomaalaistaustaisten AMK-alumnien työllistyminen Suomeen. Esitysmateriaali PedaForum 21.8.2020.

The Future of Jobs. Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. January 2016. Global Challenge Insight Report. World Economic Forum

Image 1: Mentimeter results from Global Competences session with 110 Business Management and Analystics Bachelor’s degree students 29.8.2020.

Image 2: www.vipunen.fi UAS career monitoring: Equivalence of Competence and work. National results. Graduation year 2014. www.vipunen.fi retrieved 4.9.2020

Abstracts 4/2020

Editorial: Career Monitoring Promotes Education Development

Jyrki Laitinen, Vice Rector, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, jyrki.laitinen(at)oamk.fi

A Career Monitoring Survey is sent annually to graduates who have received their Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees in a university of applied sciences five years earlier. The purpose of the survey is to find out the graduates’ career, position in the job market and satisfaction in the degree they have finished.

When writing this editorial, the third national Career Monitoring Survey has just been concluded. A total of 8.870 persons of year 2015 graduates answered in the survey, making it 34% of those who graduated that year. The survey and customs connected to it have been developed in the projects ‘From UAS to career’ and ‘From UAS to career – Career Data for All’ in cooperatively with several universities of applied sciences. The discussion in various phases of the development work has been productive and crossed higher education borders. In the steering committee, along with the universities of applied sciences there have been representatives from Aarresaari – Career Services Network of Finnish Universities, SAMOK (a nationwide student organisation), Akava – Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, STKK (a confederation of trade unions), Statistics Finland, and Research Foundation for Studies and Education Otus.

The funding model of universities of applied sciences, entering into force in the beginning of 2021, lies in the background of the Career Monitoring Survey. Of the annual total of 25 M€ funding, 3% will be given based on career monitoring. The Ministry of Education and Culture has defined in the criteria for funding what kind of questions are presented to the graduates from five years earlier and how they are scored. The funding portion of each university is calculated based on the combined number of scores from the questions. In practice, the most defining actor measuring the success of a single university has been the number of respondents in the survey.

Vital signals to those arranging education

In addition to determining basic funding, career monitoring produces significant and useful information especially for developing education. The survey looks into the correspondence between the education of the graduates and work-related requirements from various perspectives. Results of the survey are gathered in the Vipunen – extranet service of the universities where they can be accessed in both numeric and graphic form. The general level of education and accumulation of various generic competences can be evalued with respect to the work-related requirements experienced by the respondents based on the results of the survey.

For instance in 2013 and 2014, 72% of the graduate respondents (total 16.736 persons) stated ‘slightly’, ‘somewhat’ or ‘completely’ agreeing with the claim “The qualification gave me sufficient work-related preparedness”. Conversely, 28% more or less disagreed with the claim. This can be seen as a significant share and a clear signal for development to the universities arranging education.

We may deepen the scrutiny by studying differences in fields of education. Respondents of health and social sector (total 6.246) were the most contented (77% min. ‘slightly agreeing’) with work-related preparedness. The least contented were respondents from the humanistic fields (62% min. ‘slightly agreeing’) and respondents from the fields of IT and telecommunications (65% min. ‘slightly agreeing’ respectively, totals 1.150 and total 1.027).

A window into work-related competence needs

It’s good to remember the time perspective when evaluating results from the career monitoring. The respondents have graduated five years earlier and in best case, started their studies nearly ten years before the survey. It is obvious that during this time frame both contents and implementation of the studies have developed, and thus direct conclusions between the results and current curricula or implementations cannot be made. The results of the survey can however be utilised in a relatively straight-forward manner when considering the emphases of curriculum planning or especially continuous education offerings. The results do describe such work-related competence needs that the basic education has not been able to provide.

In terms of individual competences, the surveys thus far have brought forward stress tolerance and adaptation to new situations, problem-solving skills, organising and coordinating skills, as well as communication and negotiation skills as most significant subjects requiring to be developed.

 

Work-related data into use and promoting development

Liisa Marttila, Special Designer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, liisa.marttila(at)tuni.fi
Satu Helmi, Quality Designer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, satu.helmi(at)turkuamk.fi
From UAS to career – Career Data for All ESR project

The articles in the UAS Journal themed issue Using data from work-related studies deal with employment, career, and competence needs of the highly educated, as well as work-based developing of education. These themes are looked into from the views of various fields and students, not forgetting economical, social, cultural and regional preconditions.

 

The Career Monitoring Survey provides information on the quality of employment

Satu Helmi, M.Ed., Quality Designer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, satu.helmi(at)turkuamk.fi
Ismo Kinnunen, Ph.D., Director of Development, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, ismo.kinnunen(at)oamk.fi
Sirpa Louhemäki, MBA, Knowledge Production Manager, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, sirpa.louhemaki(at)laurea.fi
Susanna Saarinen, M.Soc.Sc., Special Designer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, susanna.saarinen@tuni.fi

In the funding season of Universities of Applied Sciences starting from 2021, the quality of employment is considered in addition to the quantity. This refers to the correspondence between the employment of graduates and the education and, especially, the level of degree. The quality of employment is studied with the career monitoring survey, which is carried out annually. The target group is those who have completed a UAS Bachelor’s degree five years earlier.

For higher education institutions, the career monitoring survey provides information on how well the competence produced by the higher education studies meets the needs in the world in work. For current students, the survey produces information on what kind of work-related skills they are expected to possess and helps to understand the importance of developing other skills besides the professional ones. The difference between the competence produced by the higher education institution and the skills required in the world of work indicates the changes occurring in the world of work, and provides signals for the development of the quality of education as well as the continuous learning services and courses offered.

Key words: alumni, career, career monitoring, feedback from the world of work, funding model, monitoring indicators, qualitative employment

 

Lifelong learning is an essential part of artistry

Tomi Kuusimäki, Lecturer, Project Manager, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, tomi.kuusimaki(at)samk.fi
Sade Kahra, Regional Project Manager, Novia University of Applied Sciences, sade.kahra(at)novia.fi

The years after graduation are significant for integration into the industry, and this particularly applies to visual artists entering a field with few conventional jobs. Beyond the years of jeopardy is a nationwide project executed by four Universities of applied sciences offering degrees in visual arts. The project aims to improve the employability of visual artists by developing work studies and internships. During spring 2020, the project conducted an online survey with 161 current art students. The second target group was professionally active artists who graduated in 2008–2020. 51 alumni were interviewed. Findings show that students and alumni consider self-management, creativity, artistic vision, resilience to uncertainty and coping as important skills in the profession. Besides the essence of lifelong learning, the interviews revealed loneliness as a profession trait and an interest for cross disciplinary co-operations and art outside of the galleries.

Key words: lifelong learning, visual art

 

Meaningful work – experiences of the alumni in the world of work

Juuso Puurula, Bachelor of Natural Resources, Soc.Sc. Master’s Student, Project Assistant, Häme University of Applied Sciences, juuso.puurula(at)hamk.fi

This article examines the change occurring in the world of work. In Oiva-project the experiences of sustainable development alumni were examined through a survey in fall 2018. The results confirm the findings of previous research that work has become a source of meaningfulness for many and that it’s more important to be able to self-develop at work than to earn a high salary. Also, the importance of generic work-related skills has grown and skills to search and analyze information as well as learn new things were voted as the two most important skills in the alumni survey. This research was conducted prior to the global corona virus pandemic which makes it possible to conduct a similar survey after the pandemic in order to research whether the meaning of work or the skills needed have changed due to the pandemic.

Key words: alumni research, change, meaningful work, sustainable development, work-related skills

 

Factors of commitment to work in the interface of studies and work

Henna Heinilä, PhD, Principal Lecturer, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, henna.heinila(at)haaga-helia.fi
Annica Isacsson, D.Sc. (Econ.), Research Manager, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, annica.isacsson(at)haaga-helia.fi
Anu Järvensivu, PhD, Principal Lecturer, Humak University of Applied Sciences, anu.jarvensivu(at)humak.fi
Eija Raatikainen, Dr.Ed., Principal Lecturer, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, eija.raatikainen(at)metropolia.fi
Nina Simola-Alha, M.Pol.Sc., Lecturer, Humak University of Applied Sciences, nina.simola-alha(at)humak.fi

Among young recent graduates, in social- and healthcare and ICT-sector, retention is a problem. It is hence important to study how to hinder retention and how to engage young employees at work, especially in these two fields. In this article, these aspects are dealt with from an educational perspective. The article is based on the Kannustava Puhe (engaging talk) research, which was conducted through adapted approaches involving Appreciative inquiry and Stimulated recall. The research involved 20 recently graduated employees from five related organizations.

The results indicate three interfaces between the world of work and higher education: project learning, work-integrated pedagogy and work and study model. For young graduates meaning at work is a value. Also, learning at work and personal competence development are seen, not only as a prerequisite for development, but as an appreciated privilege. That is why they also expect their studies to support these skills.

Key words: engagement to work, recent graduates, work-related skills

 

Master’s degree programmes of Universities of Applied Sciences renew work and competences – or do they?

Anne Rouhelo, Dr.Ed., Lecturer, Education Officer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, anne.rouhelo(at)turkuamk.fi
Leena Nikander, Dr.Ed., Principal Lecturer, Häme University of Applied Sciences, leena.nikander(at)hamk.fi
Taina Kilpinen, D.Sc. (Econ.), Project Manager, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, taina.kilpinen(at)laurea.fi
Sanna Niinikoski, MBA, Coordinator, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, sanna.niinikoski(at)laurea.fi

The target group for the national Career Monitoring Survey are alumni who have completed a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in a University of Applied Sciences five years before the time of the survey. Monitoring produces up-to-date information on alumni employment, competences and career opportunities provided by education, and the equivalence of studies to work. This article focuses on the results of a separate pilot survey conducted in 2019 describing the career paths of Master’s degree graduates in 2012. The pilot survey was conducted because the nature of the master’s degree is different from the undergraduate degree. The results show that alumni are satisfied with their degree and the career development it produces. In particular, the increase in professional self-confidence, the improvement of the position in the labor market and the advancement of professional careers were perceived as positive. On the other hand, according to the alumni, the recognition of the degree and the appreciation of the employers are not yet at a good enough level.

Key words: career monitoring survey, HE development, Master’s degree, monitoring careers, work-related relevance

 

University of Applied Sciences Master’s degree serves a wide range of career options

Kristiina Ojala, D.Ed., Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Education, University of Turku, krojala(at)utu.fi
Ulpukka Isopahkala-Bouret, D.Ed., Professor, Department of Education, University of Turku, ulpukka.isopahkala-bouret(at)utu.fi

The University of Applied Sciences (UAS) Master’s degree is completed from a variety of starting points. Students are also in different situations with regard to their careers. In this article we highlight our key findings from the career models of UAS Master’s degree graduates to support the development of the degree education. We recognised five types of career trajectories: rising career, renewing career, entrepreneurial career, continuous career and unstable career. These trajectories provide information about the different career progression routes. UAS Master’s degrees can re-orient and enhance different careers trajectories in multiple ways, e.g., by providing formal qualifications and new expertise. Understanding the nature of career trajectories of graduates at a Master level is important when we consider how UAS could better take into account the diversity of students’ work histories and career aspirations as part of the degree education.

Key words: career, career types, university of applied sciences Master’s degree

 

Masters of Social Services (UAS) are still looking for their place in the changing labor market

Sirppa Kinos, D.Soc.Sc., Principal Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, sirppa.kinos(at)turkuamk.fi

In my doctoral study (205/113 respondents), I examined the employment of Masters of Social Services in the labor market and their competences, challenged by the rapidly changing society.

The respondents aimed at the development of professional expertise, new duties as well as career advancement. Three quarters of graduates had achieved these goals at least partly. An equal number could be employed in their current position without the Master’s degree. One third of the graduates was promoted to more demanding work, less frequently in public sector. The most successful was the specialization in development and leadership.

The degree was considered a rewarding individual investment. However, their position in the labor market is unclear. The degree does not entitle to a position of a licensed social welfare professional. The task structure in social and health care needs reform. The degree program needs more publicity. An option is to concentrate on education for managerial positions.

Key words: labor market, Master of Social Services, professional competences

 

Career monitoring data as a navigator of continuous learning

Jaana Kullaslahti, PhD, Principal Research Scientist, HAMK EDU, Häme University of Applied Sciences, firstname.lastname(at)hamk.fi
Tina Lauronen, M.Soc.Sc., Researcher, Research Foundation for Studies and Education Otus, firstname.lastname(at)otus.fi
Liisa Marttila, Dr.Ed., Special Designer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, firstname.lastname(at)tuni.fi
Sanna Niinikoski, MBA, Coordinator, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, firstname.lastname(at)laurea.fi

Continuous learning refers to education offered mainly for non-degree students by higher education institutions. The results of the UAS Career Monitoring Survey can provide broader statistical-based knowledge on trends in needs of content and forms of further and continuing education, as well as students’ profiles with different educational needs and expectations. In addition to training, the career monitoring survey results highlight the need for various guidance services.

Key words: career monitoring, continuous learning, universities of applied sciences

 

Work-related data as a basis for developing the strategy of continuous learning in Lapland

Helena Kangastie, MHS, Specialist (RDI and learning), Lapland University of Applied Sciences, helena.kangastie(at)lapinamk.fi

Education has undergone a major change in recent years also in Lapland. At the moment there is a need to jointly create a state of mind for the future direction of continuous learning development in Lapland. Higher education institutions have an important role in creating this state of mind, as they are leaders of lifelong learning strategy work. It is important to collect versatile and as comprehensive information as possible at different stages of the strategy process. It is essential to consider what kind of work-related information is collected as a basis for building the strategy.

In this article I describe the building work of a lifelong learning strategy, and the use of work-related data as its basis. I highlight the information provided by stakeholders as well as the feedback given by representatives from the world of work, and the utilization of both in the strategy work. The practice of collection and systematic analysis of work-related data also promotes higher education institution’s societal impact.

Key words: continuous learning, societal influencing, work-related data

 

Fostering autonomous learning in universities and workplaces

Tanja Vesala-Varttala, PhD, Principal Lecturer in Marketing and Communication, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, tanja.vesala-varttala(at)haaga-helia.fi
Anna Hankimaa, MSc (Econ), Doctoral Candidate, Senior Lecturer in International Business, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, anna.hankimaa(at)haaga-helia.fi

Autonomous learning is a professional necessity in today’s fast-changing and internationalizing workplace environments, in companies and universities alike. Keeping on top of change requires that students and employees have the ability and opportunity to self-regulate their continuous learning process. In the Erasmus+ co-funded RDI project CORALL – Coaching-oriented Online Resources for the Autonomous Learning of LSP, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and five European partner universities have collected qualitative data about autonomous learning experiences from company representatives, educational experts, and higher education students across Europe. The project brings together universities and employers to share knowledge and provide support for autonomous learning. This is a way to foster key workplace competences highlighted in the national career monitoring survey by Finnish universities of applied sciences (2019).

Key words: autonomous learning, life-long learning, self-directed learning, project-based learning, workplace learning

 

Do foreign students become international talents in the Finnish labour market?

Tina Lauronen, M.Soc.Sc., Researcher, Research Foundation for Studies and Education Otus, firstname.lastname(at)otus.fi
Susanna Saarinen, M.Soc.Sc., Specialist, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, susanna.saarinen(at)tuni.fi

The number of foreign degree students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences has increased over the past decades. Although studying in Finland is more common, foreign alumni can face more difficulties and breaks in their working life than Finns, especially if they stay in Finland. While 74 % of Finnish-speaking Finns have a permanent full-time job five years after graduation, the corresponding percentage for foreigners is 59. In addition, there is a clear wage gap between Finnish and foreign alumni working in Finland, probably suggesting that foreign alumni’s jobs do not always match their education. Hence, about a third of foreigners work abroad five years after graduation and many of them continue their studies in a university after completing a bachelor’s degree. Despite the higher unemployment rates and other employment-related challenges, foreigners are, on average, slightly more satisfied with their UAS degrees than Finns.

Key words: career monitoring, employment, Finnish labour market, foreign students, international students, university of applied sciences

 

Future-proofing ALL our students and graduates

Sandra Slotte, M.Sc.Ed., Head of Sustainable Career Support, Arcada University of Applied Sciences, sandra.slotte(at)arcada.fi

The national student and alumni satisfaction surveys provide excellent learning opportunities for evaluating the respondents’ perceptions of the quality of Finnish higher education and services with regards to employability, career development and entrepreneurship. But there is a lack of representation of and thus valuable data regarding international alumni’s perceived satisfaction with their UAS studies and the studies’ relevance for work and career, due to the low amount of international respondents in the Career Monitoring Survey. There might also be value in having access to longitudinal national data from earlier stages of the student journey than graduation, which would require a third survey or a coherent feedback system for all HEIs. In order for us to future proof our higher education as well as all our students and graduates, we need to know what we should do, how we should do it and most importantly – why we should do it.

Key words: career, data collection, employability, feedback, international alumni, satisfaction

 

Finnish for foreigners coaching as a tool for integration and employment in workplaces

Kirsi Autio, M.Pol.Sc., M.Ed., Project Specialist, Karelia University of Applied Sciences

Karelia UAS, Savonia UAS, and the University of Eastern Finland are jointly committed to promoting education-based immigration in Eastern Finland. The goal includes increasing the number of international students and their employment in the area. Educational immigration is seen as one solution to the problems of the labor market in sparsely populated areas. On the other hand, statistics, research, and experience show that higher education does not guarantee equal employment opportunities for international professionals compared to the general population. This article examines how Finnish for foreigners teaching was utilized in a joint development project between the University of Eastern Finland and Karelia UAS to address this structural problem. The article also describes what kind of information was utilized in preparing and implementing solutions. The project’s outcomes show that the Finnish for foreigners learning process may actually work as a two-way integration tool in workplaces and increase the sense of belonging and well-being at work.

Key words:

 

Continuous evaluation and the cooperation in the world of work at the core of quality development

Marjo Jussila, M.A. (Arts and Design), Project Manager, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, marjo.jussila(at)lapinamk.fi
Pirjo Könni, M.Ed., Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, pirjo.konni(at)lapinamk.fi

Digiassari project and Digiassari training aim to meet the skills needs for the future. Continuous evaluation of the content, implementation and influences of the training program is the key for the development of the training. Participants have been happy with better skills for networking, job search and for designing and implementing digital marketing. The employers have had very concrete expectations for the assignments and students have met their needs well.

Key words: competence, education, evaluation, work-based

 

Managers’ evaluations of specialization education

Hanna-Leena Melender, Specialized Nurse, Dr.Sc. (Health), Principal Lecturer, Vaasa University of Applied Sciences, hanna-leena.melender(at)outlook.com
Anu Piirainen, Public Health Nurse, M.Sc. (Admin.), Designer, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, anu.piirainen(at)kamk.fi
Paula Vikberg-Aaltonen, Specialized Nurse, MHS, Lic.Ed., Principal Lecturer, Häme University of Applied Sciences, paula.vikberg-aaltonen(at)hamk.fi
Sirkka Saranki-Rantakokko, Specialized Nurse, MHS, D.Sc. (Admin.), Principal Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, sirkka.saranki-rantakokko(at)lapinamk.fi

The objectives of the specialization education programs are to meet the work-related competence needs and to support continuous learning. The aim of the Specialization Program of Registered Nurse’s Appointment Work (30 ECTS) is to strengthen competence in patients’ clinical nursing care, client education and evidence-based practice. The first educational program was implemented in 2018-2019 in six Finnish universities of applied sciences and to develop the education, evaluation data was collected with a survey in the workplaces of the students. An invitation to the survey was sent to 32 persons and 17 responses were received from persons who were working as managers. They had received information about the education program mostly via email. The arrangements of the education had succeeded well from the point of view of the workplaces. By offering an opportunity to participate in the education, the managers had most often aimed to support the career development of an employee, the learning of new, strengthening of clinical competence and development of evidence-based practice. However, utilization of the new competencies of the employee was not always planned before.

Key words: evaluation, educating the future workforce, health care, professional specialization, registered nurse’s appointment work

 

Agile developing of competences needed at work

Helena Turunen, D.Sc. (Econ.), Principal Lecturer, Häme University of Applied Sciences, helena.turunen(at)hamk.fi

The objective of this article is to describe how co-operation between higher education and work can be enhanced in master’s degrees. The research was conducted in the master’s degrees in business management at Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK). An agile and flexible pedagogical model is applied in HAMK master’s studies, utilizing teamwork, flipped classroom pedagogy, online tools and students’ workplaces as learning environments. This model enables effectively new forms of co-operation.

As a conclusion, the further development of co-operation should be flexible and should take place at three levels: operational flexibility, tactical flexibility and strategic flexibility. Strategic flexibility refers to increased joint planning of education at a national level, whereas tactical flexibility aims at concrete actions in co-operation. Operational flexibility, again, means joint implementation plans and models.

Key words: agile and flexible higher education, co-operation between education and work, Master’s studies in business management

 

Orientation to the world of work as an inspiration for engineering education

Katri Hendriksson, M.Eng., Project Manager, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, katri.hendriksson(at)lapinamk.fi
Timo Kauppi, IWE, IWI-C, Lic.Tech., Principal Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, timo.kauppi(at)lapinamk.fi

An interview study was conducted at Lapland University of Applied Sciences in 2019, in which mechanical and production as well as electrical engineers graduated between 2009-2016 from Lapland University of Applied Sciences were interviewed to clarify their employment status after graduation. Similar study was implemented at Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences in 2009 to engineers graduated between 2003-2008.

Study was conducted to find out important information for the development of training programs. The results obtained from this study were compared with the previous study. Engineering education at Lapland University of Applied Sciences has a very high-quality status based on the comments which raised in the survey.

Based on the results, it was possible to map the employment status of graduated engineers and whether they were more likely to end up in supervisors or expertise related tasks. A large number of responses were received and the mapping could be performed versatile. The work tasks varied some, but there was a clear emphasis on supervisor and expert tasks.

Key words: education, engineering, industry, research and innovation activities, university of applied sciences

 

Work-related data of the social and health care sector to be used in the SOTETIE project

Jari Helminen, D.Soc.Sc., Principal Lecturer, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, jari.helminen(at)diak.fi
Ulla Markkanen, MHS, Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, ulla.markkanen(at)tuni.fi
Tiina Säilä, MHS, M.Sc. (Admin.), Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, tiina.saila(at)tuni.fi

One way to collect work-related data is be part of the national projects. In the ESF-funded (SOTETIE) project an electronic roadmap for the development of the skills of social and health care professionals will be developed. In the spring 2020, work-related data were collected through five workshops and couple of surveys. The workshops and surveys provided a wide range of data.

Short-term continuing education is better suited to developing the common skills of social and health care professionals than long-term or specialization studies. The needs for the development of professional competence in both the social and health sectors are best met by short-term (1–5 cr) and / or long-term (15–30 cr) studies.

When planning specialization education, common areas of the expertise in the social and health fields must be taken into account. For example, the formation of a common language and professional understanding was seen as an advantage of common education.

Key words: competence development, continuing professional education, orientation to the world of work, social- and health care sector

Call for papers: 1/2021, Current Issues

AMK-lehti / UAS Journal issue 1/2020 is themed with current topics and the diverse functions and different roles of universities of applied sciences in cooperation with companies, as well as in research and development activities.

How do universities of applied sciences develop their cooperation services to promote cooperation with companies and the world of work? How can R&D activities help create permanent service and cooperation models to support communities, and support teaching facilities?

We are also looking for concrete examples of cooperation between universities of applied sciences and the world of work, as well as sustainability and effective results in R&D.

We wish to receive article manuscripts both from universities of applied sciences and other organisations. In addition to articles, we welcome reviews and summaries concerning research, development and innovations in universities of applied sciences, as well as news and literary reviews in the field. You may also submit audiovisual content.

The maximum length of the article is 10.000, a review 4,000 and other categories approximately 3,000 characters (spaces included). Instructions for writers can be found in uasjournal.fi/in-english/instructions-for-writers. Please read them carefully before submitting your text.

Guest editors:
Mauri Kantola, Senior Adviser, M.Soc. (Econ., Sociology), Turku University of Applied Sciences
Mervi Friman, Head of Development, Ph.D. (Ed.), Häme University of Applied Sciences

  • Send an abstract of approximately 200 words to mervi.friman(at)hamk.fi by 14 December 2020
  • Response based on the abstract will be sent by 21 December 2020
  • Send the article manuscripts to the theme editors at mervi.friman(at)hamk.fi during the week 4 (by 30 January 2021).
  • Feedback will be sent to the responsible author during the week 7.
  • Send your final version during the week 9.

The issue will be published during the week 11.

Please share this call for papers!

Young people in mountain scenery

Empowering Northern Communities by Boosting Female Entrepreneurship

Authors: Helena Puhakka-Tarvainen, Reeta Sipola & Heidi Vartiainen.

Sustainability and vitality of the rural Northern communities are the key targets of the ongoing W-Power project – Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in Sparsely Populated Northern Communities. The aim of the project is to encourage women in rural regions to start their own businesses or develop and internationalize the existing ones, which increases the level of self-sufficiency, economic balance and vitality of the communities. This goal equals to the one of the Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences: empowering regional development, supporting local economy and educating skilled professionals are the key tasks based on the legislation.

During the first two years of the project implementation, over 200 women have joined the project activities in seven regions across Northern Europe and Canada. W-Power is a three-year initiative coordinated by Karelia University of Applied Sciences, an active developer in the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA 2020) since mid-1990s, and supported by Lapland University of Applied Sciences – a strong player in the Arctic Cooperation. There is obviously a hunger for initiatives of this kind, for rarely have the target audiences been so eager to join an EU project as with W-Power!

Women leave the rural North

The driver behind the project is the fact that especially young and educated women tend to leave rural communities, which causes demographic imbalance and challenges in the social structure and unsustainable local economies (ESPON 2013). Reasons for the outmigration are often related to the lack of job opportunities and services, rather than to the rural region itself. In fact, many times the desired way of living would include the nature and having space around oneself. Entrepreneurship is one solution for women living in the rural North to stay and make their living in their home regions, as modern ICT-solutions also diminish the role of the location in business. Thus, the aim of the project is to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, based on the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 8 (United Nations 2020).

Based on a survey replied by almost 200 female entrepreneurs in the project regions (North Karelia, Lapland, Northern Sweden, West Ireland, Iceland, Shetland and West Scotland), each region faces similar challenges (Scott 2019, 9–10). Also, the percentage of women entrepreneurs in the total labour force is significantly lower than that of men, and all figures are lower than the Europe 37 average (Scott 2019, 5). In all partner regions, women are more likely to be part time entrepreneurs than men. In addition, women entrepreneurs are more likely to work in administrative and service sectors, while men are more likely to work in energy, utilities, transportation, and construction sectors.

Scott’s (2019) report also concludes three key challenges towards female entrepreneurship. Based on the survey they are: (1) access to the finance and business support that meets the specific needs of women; (2) need for engagement with relevant role models, networks and mentors; and (3) impact of cultural assumptions and gender stereotyping. The key challenges are also presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The infographic summarises the outcome of the W-Power survey for female entrepreneurs in Northern Europe.
Figure 1. The infographic summarises the outcome of the W-Power survey for female entrepreneurs in Northern Europe.

Ensuring equal opportunities is important for the development of women entrepreneurship. In general, women tend to have shorter credit histories than men and less access to assets, so they may face more difficulties in accessing funding. In addition, women are less likely to be part of financial networks or receive angel investments, and tend to apply for and to receive lower funding amounts. Moreover, business support may inadvertently focus on supporting male-led businesses. Even in the equal Northern societies, gender-based assumptions are present. For example, publicly provided business support often targets particular sectors or type/size of businesses, typically led by men. ”One size fits all” approach in business support delivery favours traditional business models and growth plans that are also typically led by men. Background and family issues are not considered – or presumptions are misleading the discussion. One practical example was given by an anonymous male business advisor, who asked a female entrepreneur how she would deal with her business travelling while having children. Eventually, he realised himself that he would not have asked the same question, had he been advising a male entrepreneur.

Finally, the biggest invisible barrier for female entrepreneurship is the lack of role models. There is a need for successful businesswomen, who would show with their example that a successful self-employment is a real option also for women. Role models would be needed particularly in high growth sectors and female business venture capitalists. It is worth noting that women are currently under-represented in business leadership, so there are fewer female mentors to support women’s entrepreneurial growth.

On the survey conducted, the key development and capacity building needs of female entrepreneurs were outlined, which were summarized by Holmbom & Hägglund (2019, 13–16). The top upskilling needs related especially to the know-how on social media, networking, financing, business calculations, and how to find funding and investors.

Solving the common challenges with transnational cooperation

W-Power project empowers female entrepreneurs in several ways. First, the project provides methods for improving regional business environments. Second, opportunities for transnational learning are arranged. Third, the project raises awareness regarding gender-sensitive business coaching, and organises innovation platforms for new business ideas. The project offers practical tools and possibilities for concrete support, assistance with finance questions, and networking and training. Transnational cooperation offers possibilities for entering new markets, and embarking on new, global business paths, in addition to the good practices and role models.

As part of the project activities, a peer-to-peer mentoring programme was set-up and over 40 female entrepreneurs registered to take part in the programme. The goal of the programme is to match entrepreneurs across the project regions based on their motivation, development needs, and business sector in a way that both participants could learn equally from the process. The project supports the matching, facilitates the mentoring process, and enables the entrepreneurs to benchmark each other in their real business environments. Furthermore, the hidden agenda is to encourage the entrepreneurs to create a blog, or share social media contents of their process, and thus lower the threshold for such visibility tools, and, additionally, have free marketing for their services transnationally. The participants of the mentoring programme have been enthusiastic, and new initiatives for businesses across the regions have already been discussed. The COVID-19 pandemic has, however, caused some delays in the physical benchmark activities.

Another fruitful tool has been the creation of an innovation platform for new business ideas. Competition call has been opened in three categories: (1) rural women with new viable business ideas, (2) female entrepreneurs with an idea to expand their business globally, and (3) initiatives to support women-led businesses to succeed. In 2019, W-Power launched the platform internationally in all the seven project regions. Fifteen teams of total 24 applicants were pre-selected for a 5+10-minute pitch session. Finally, five business ideas were rewarded by EUR 2,000 grant each, for developing their business ideas further. In addition to the financial support, the project team follows the idea development, and provides support when business advisory services or coaching is needed. As an outcome, for example, a gluten free bakery with innovative recipes received support in Finland, and a horse archery course concept was piloted in Scotland, among others. It seems that a special call for female entrepreneurs has lowered the threshold for participating, as woman-led ideas are a vast minority in most business idea competitions. In the long run, this advances the gender equality as well as decision-making in local economy.

In addition to the existing and future female entrepreneurs, business advisors have been a target group for W-Power project activities, as they play a crucial role in the creation and development of especially SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). Providing equal support and funding is a key for developing women’s entrepreneurship. Based on a literature review and collection of best practices (Deane 2020, full report not published yet), gender aspects have not yet been widely taken into account in business advisory services. Instead, examples and models exist, for example in sports coaching. During W-Power implementation, a concept for a comprehensive and gender-aware business coaching will be created, business advisors will be provided with training, and the concept will be tested with pilot groups of entrepreneurs. If the feedback of the pilot turns out to be positive, the goal is to implement the concept widely in the business advisory services, and thus lower the barriers for female entrepreneurship also from the advisory services’ point of view.

Sustainability from different perspectives

Sustainability of the Northern and peripheral communities is not just taking care of the natural resources and implementing clean energy options, but it is the inclusion of all the community members to co-create a better environment to live in. In addition to gender-related issues, other underrepresented groups like immigrants, need support to become active community members. W-Power project has supported the inclusion by upskilling and networking people, and providing tools for self-employment and entrepreneurship. Furthermore, good local and international examples may increase the motivation to develop. Thus, by W-Power activities at least the following five sustainability goals are supported: gender equality, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequality, sustainable cities and communities, and partnerships to achieve the goal.

Northern Periphery and Arctic project themes support the education provided by universities of applied sciences. The projects offer a variety of possibilities for learning: small-scale studies and student group work, thesis topics, brainstorming, summer training, and even jobs, among others. More wider, transnational projects provide an innovation ecosystem for co-creation in multi-discipline networks, and thus support the RDI task given to the universities of applied sciences by law.

Authors

Helena Puhakka-Tarvainen, M.Sc., Senior Project Manager, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, helena.puhakka-tarvainen(at)karelia.fi

Reeta Sipola, M.Nat.Res., Project Manager, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, reeta.sipola(at)lapinamk.fi

Heidi Vartiainen, MA, Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, heidi.vartiainen(at)karelia.fi


Deane, H. 2020. Train the Trainer Workshop: Gender Sensitivity in Coaching, Training & Mentoring. http://w-power.interreg-npa.eu/subsites/W-POWER/PowerPoint_Presentation.pdf 27.5.2020.

ESPON 2013. Gender Imbalances in European Regions. https://www.espon.eu/topics-policy/publications/maps-month/gender-imbalances-european-regions 30.8.2020.

Holmbom, P. & Hägglund, U. (eds.) 2019. Capacity Building Needs for Female Entrepreneurs in the Northern Periphery and Arctic. W-Power project. http://w-power.interreg-npa.eu/subsites/W-POWER/Capacity_building_needs_for_woman_entrepreneurs_in_the_Northern_Periphery_and_Arctic.pdf 30.8.2020.

NPA 2020. Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020. http://www.interreg-npa.eu/ 30.8.2020.

Scott, L. (ed.) 2019. Mapping the Challenges for Female Entrepreneurship in the Northern Periphery and Arctic. W-Power project. http://w-power.interreg-npa.eu/subsites/W-POWER/Mapping_the_challenges_for_woman_entrepreneurship_in_the_Northern_Periphery_and_Arctic.pdf 23.1.2020.

UN 2020. United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 8. https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal8 30.8.2020

Abstracts 3/2020

Editorial: Together We Can Do More

Silja Kostia, PhD, Principal Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, silja.kostia(at)tuni.fi
Kaija Saramäki, M.Sc. (Environmental forestry), Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, kaija.saramaki(at)karelia.fi
Tove Holm, PhD, Coordinator, The Baltic Sea Challenge, City of Turku; Associate Researcher, University of Gävle, tove.holm(at)turku.fi

Finland is committed to the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development binding all UN member states, Agenda2030, which was adopted in the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015. There are 17 objectives for sustainable development in Agenda2030, many covering social sustainability (Ympäristöministeriö, 2020). Especially the following objectives involve social sustainability: No poverty (1), Zero hunger (2), Good health and well-being (3), Quality education (4), Gender equality (5), Decent work and economic growth (8), Reduced inequalities (10), Sustainable cities and communities (11), Peace, justice and strong institutions (16), and Partnerships for the goals (17).

In Finland, it is Government’s duty to supervise implementation and follow-up of Agenda2030. The goal is to create solutions for challenges in sustainable development, as well as to provide students competence capital required in the job market. In summer 2020, Finland submitted their second Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The review highlights higher education institutions that promote Finnish ”competitiveness, wellbeing, all-round education and culture, and sustainable development”. Several universities have ”worked systematically to integrate sustainable development into different fields of study”. Many of them also provide ”transdisciplinary minor subject modules in sustainable development”. (Finnish Prime Minister’s Office, 2020.)

For this themed issue, we received over twenty article suggestions, with authors from 15 different universities and three stakeholder groups. In our opinion, this emphasises the important role of higher education in promoting social sustainability via the roles of education, research, development and innovation activities and regional developers. The conventions of promoting sustainability are intertwined in the articles in various ways, and the scale of promoting social sustainability varies from global to very local.

The viewpoint of collaboration and cooperation emerges as promoting social sustainability. In practice, it means cooperation between stakeholders, students and/or the staff of the universities. Collaboration is present in developing and implementing teaching, peer support of the students, as well as in developing tourism and travelling. Many articles suggest that if students gain work-related competences (teamwork, interaction, etc.), those will promote social sustainability after their studies. Promoting circular or bioeconomy is also present within the theme of social sustainability.

Naumanen et al. (2019) have explored that nearly 90 percent of all Finnish innovations of this decade support achieving sustainable development goals. They perceived that sustainable development innovations add value to companies. This demands broad cooperation by the public, private and third sector actors. In Finland, we need to be able to create ”networks of expertise that can provide comprehensive solutions to the needs of the target countries, and to be able to conceptualise our offerings to be an effective and understandable solution to the needs of the target countries”

In our call for papers, we wanted to encourage authors to describe unsuccessful experiments and challenges, as well, and in some articles, they have been presented. Amy Edmondson from Harvard University has observed that work communities that report their mistakes most are the most successful. In teams with great mutual trust and respect, people have the courage to openly admit made mistakes. The same team qualities increased innovativeness, commitment and motivation of the employees, and lifted it to success (Saarinen, 2020).

Working as a themed issue / guest editor has been rewarding and we warmly recommend it to all. In addition to learning more about editing and writing, as a guest editor you can widen your networks and quickly gain a comprehensive view on how the subject of the theme is being developed in universities. So why not be a guest editor!

Finnish Prime Minister’s Office, 2020. The Voluntary National Review 2020 Finland. Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Publications of the Prime Minister’s Office 2020:8. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-287-947-9

Naumanen, M., Heimonen, R., Koljonen, T., Lamminkoski, H., Maidell, M., Ojala, E., Sajeva, M., Salminen, V., Toivanen, M., Valonen, M., Wessberg, N., 2019. Kestävän kehityksen innovaatiot: Katsaus YK:n Agenda 2030 kehitystavoitteisiin ja vastaaviin suomalaisiin innovaatioihin. Valtioneuvoston selvitys- ja tutkimustoiminnan julkaisusarja 2019:62. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-287-795-6

Saarinen, M., 2020. Yllättävä tutkimustulos: Eniten omia virheitä raportoivat työyhteisöt menestyvät parhaiten. Tekniikka ja Talous 30.8.2020.

Ympäristöministeriö, 2020. https://www.ym.fi/fi-fi/ymparisto/kestava_kehitys/mita_on_kestava_kehitys, haettu 5.2.2020.

Key words: Agenda2030, education, RDI, SDG, sustainable development, university of applied sciences, work-related collaboration

 

Sustainable Nature Tourism With Co-creation

Laura Puolamäki, PhD, Landscape Specialist, Southern Finland Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation (Etelä-Suomen Maa- ja kotitalousnaiset), laura.puolamaki(at)maajakotitalousnaiset.fi
Niina Ihalainen, M.Pol.Sc., MBA, RDI Specialist, LAB University of Applied Sciences, niina.ihalainen(at)lab.fi 

The starting point of the Maisa project is natural and cultural landscape. Productized landscape seems to be a growing attraction among domestic and international visitors. It has become highly necessary to explore new areas, and focus on rural entrepreneurs, who are operating on their home field, near the villages and private land, where public operators, like natural parks, are not able to extend their services.

We piloted several products for private nature tourism actors during the project. The co-creation, testing, analyzing and finalizing process resulted a conclusion, that such a process illuminates the local socio-cultural sustainability. It negotiates the local limits of sustainability, explores the mundane sustainability practices, maps connections between people, landscape and business, and weaves new networks. The feedback from pilot customers and participating entrepreneurs indicates, that the project enhanced and triggered willingness in capacity building for landscape-based tourism.

Key words: co-creation, nature tourism, piloting, well-being, socio-cultural sustainability, health care and social services, tourism and hospitality

 

Producing More and Better Environmental Information in Cooperation

Outi Laatikainen, M.Eng., Senior R&D Expert, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, outi.laatikainen(at)kamk.fi
Pia Haapea, Lic.Tech., Principal Lecturer, LAB University of Applied Sciences, pia.haapea(at)lab.fi 
Tatiana Samarina, Phd, Project Researcher, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, tatiana.samarina(at)kamk.fi 

Achieving solid situational awareness in environmental monitoring is a challenging task, since very often the availability of relevant and up-to-date background data on environmental phenomenon is limited.  Combining different technologies and digital methods with the principles of sustainable development, socio-economic and environmental sustainability, offer plenty of opportunities for creating new kinds of participation and background information concepts.

This article presents two case studies from KAMK and LAB University of Applied Sciences in integrating participatory observations as a supportive tool for creating better situational awareness on local environmental circumstances. From the societal viewpoint, participatory observation provides a possibility to integrate also socially vulnerable groups in dialogue-building, which might help to integrate these groups into societal interaction.

Key words: environmental monitoring, participatory observations, environmental assessment, sustainability, collaboration with society  

 

Producing Material for Teaching in Shared Use – Co-teaching

Minna Palos, M.Sc.(Econ.), HAMK Bio Research Unit, Häme University of Applied Sciences
Nina Kokkonen, M.Sc.(Forestry), HAMK Bio Research Unit, Häme University of Applied Sciences

The Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland financed the development project Circular Economy Competence to Universities of Applied Sciences, where study material was produced for the teachers’ shared use. Circular economy material was tested and further developed. This article examines study material from the perspective of co-teaching and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Key words: KiertotalousAMK, shared teaching, shared teaching materials, sustainable development

 

Well Done! – Social Sustainability in Elderly Services

Sari Saukkonen, M.Health Care (Physiotherapist), Project Manager, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk), sari.saukkonen(at)xamk.fi
Anja Härkönen, M.Sc. (Econ.), M.Soc.Sc., RDI Specialist, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk), anja.harkonen(at)xamk.fi 

Decent work and economic growth are part of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It refers, among others, to a sufficient salary, well-being at work and occupational safety. One sector that requires further inspection and developing in Finland is services for the elderly. The employee’s participation in the decision-making concerning work increases well-being at work. When employee experiences being heard and is content with his/her work, it will be positively reflected in the customer’s service. These themes are discussed in two projects carried out by the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences.

Key words: elderly services, participation, RDI, social sustainability, well-being at work

Social and Health Care Studies: Focus on Yound Employees’ Ability to Work

Hilla Sumanen, PhD, Adjunct Professor in Health Politics, Principal Lecturer, Southern-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, hilla.sumanen(at)xamk.fi
Anne Kouvonen, D.Pol.Sc., Adjunct Professor in Community Health Science, Professor in Social Politics, University of Helsinki, anne.kouvonen(at)helsinki.fi 

Young employees’ work ability has become a growing concern over recent years. Overall, as it could be expected young employees are in good health; however, early work disability is becoming more common. But why? The research evidence is still scarce but increasing. Young employees’ work ability is a feasible phenomenon to look at during the social and health care studies. This phenomenon facilitates learning and insights, as the current research evidence leaves a lot of room for students ’own discussion and conclusions. Currently, young adults are less in the focus of social and health care, but existing studies show that there are specific characteristics of this client group that future professionals should be aware of. In addition, previous studies strongly suggest that work ability problems affect particularly those who work in the health and social care sector, meaning that future professionals should consider how to maintain their own work ability.

Key words: health and social care sector, work ability, work disability, young adults, young employees

 

The DUUNI Model:  Parenting Skills to the Use in the World of Work

Mari Berglund (M.Health Sciences, Doctoral Student, Midwife), Lecturer, koulutusvastaava, Turku University of Applied Sciences,  mari.berglund(at)turkuamk.fi 
Tuula Hyppönen (M.Soc.Sc., Family Psychotherapist, Functional Group Work Instructor) Lecturer, LAB University of Applied Sciences, tuula.hypponen(at)lab.fi 
Janina Luoto (M.Ed., M.A.), Teacher, Turku University of Applied Sciences, janina.luoto(at)turkuamk.fi 
Veera Vähämaa (M.A.) Literary Arts Instructor, Literary Artist, Kirjan talo ry (The House of Book Association), vjvaha(at)gmail.com 

The “DUUNI – Vanhemmuuden taidot työelämävahvuudeksi” (Parenting skills to the use in the world of work” project (2018–2020) is a national project funded by the EU 2014–2020 Programme for Sustainable Growth and Jobs. The coordinator of the project is Turku University of Applied Sciences, and the partners are LAB University of Applied Sciences, University of Lapland, Kirjan talo ry, Lounais-Suomen Liikunta ja Urheilu ry and Caritas Finland ry. The target group was 19–26-year-old parents. The social sustainability directed objective was to find and test art-based and sport-oriented methods in the guidance of parents to recognize their own skills which are transferable to the world of work. Other social sustainable objectives were to improve methodological competence and cooperation of professionals working with young parents. To achieve this, interventions were tested in the activity sessions of parent groups, in individual guidance, and eCoaching of the instructors. The DUUNI model is a repository of best proven methods and practices to meet the project objectives. The model is available at: https://duunitaidot.turkuamk.fi/.

Key words: art-based methods, eCoaching, guidance, parenting skills, social and health care, transfer, work-related skills

 

Sustainable Business and Well-being from Nature

Satu Välijärvi, M.Soc.Sc., M.A., Project Manager, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, satu.valijarvi(at)oamk.fi

The Nordic NaBS (www.nordicnabs.com) project supports entrepreneurs to develop nature-based service business in co-operation with health care, social work and education actors. Most of the enterprises providing nature-based services are small rural enterprises. Users of the services are often people with special needs who can greatly benefit from nature- and animal-assisted services. Research brings up new proof about the nature’s impact on well-being. It is important and socially sustainable to find ways to benefit that impact also in the welfare services. Due to their nature environment and traditions the Nordic countries have a strong basis for developing nature-based services and enhancing their use also in the public sector. Especially in the northern areas of the countries going to nature is still an essential part of well-being and lifestyle. Nordic NaBS is financed by Interreg Nord and its project area covers Lapland, and North and Central Ostrobothnia in Finland and Norrbotten and parts of Västerbotten in Sweden. The project organisations are Lapland UAS (manager), Oulu UAS, University of Vaasa and Luleå university of technology.

Key words: education, Green care, health care, nature-based services, natural resources, small enterprises, social work, well-being

 

Empowering Northern Communities by Boosting Female Entrepreneurship (this article is in English)

Helena Puhakka-Tarvainen, M.Sc., Senior Project Manager, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, helena.puhakka-tarvainen(at)karelia.fi
Reeta Sipola, M.Nat.Res., Project Manager, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, reeta.sipola(at)lapinamk.fi 
Heidi Vartiainen, M.A., Lecturer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, heidi.vartiainen(at)karelia.fi 

Key words: female entrepreneurship, gender-sensitive business coaching, innovation platform, Karelia UAS, Lapland UAS, Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme, peer-mentoring

 

Learning Sustainability Competences in Teams and Projects

Eveliina Asikainen, Lecturer, School of Professional Teacher Education, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, eveliina.asikainen(at)tuni.fi
Eija Syrjämäki, Specialist Planner, Development of Education, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, eija.syrjamaki(at)tuni.fi

Competences of co-operation and change-making are in the core of making sustainable change. Learning Lab of Tampere University of Applied Sciences offers opportunities for student driven discussions and multidisciplinary working life projects in teams. These learning environments promote transformative learning, which is pivotal for sustainable change. According to student feed-back promoting open, team-work-based and project-oriented learning environments strengthens the sense of community, co-operation and democracy among students. All these are important for social sustainability.

Key words: community, participation, sustainable development, team learning

 

Are There Right and Socially Sustainable Methods to Teach Circular Economy?

Kari Laasasenaho, PhD, RDI Specialist, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, kari.laasasenaho(at)seamk.fi
Eveliina Asikainen, D.Sc.(Admin.), Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, eveliina.asikainen(at)tuni.fi
Liisa Routaharju, M.Eng., Lecturer, Southern-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, liisa.routaharju(at)xamk.fi

It is important to teach the circular economy in a socially sustainable wayThe circular economy is a multidimensional phenomenon and it requires the ability to understand things holistically. In this article, we consider are there right methods to teach the circular economy and what should be considered when increasing the social sustainability and societal impact of circular economy education. Teaching should therefore take into account the needs and learning styles of different students. In addition, teaching should take into account the use of methods that promote fast and efficient knowledge transfer from university of applied sciences to business. The most important thing would be to support the individual learning process with good pedagogical practices.

Key words: circular economy, good practices, social sustainability, sustainable development, teaching methods

 

Circular Economy for BBA with or without Systems Thinking

Annariikka Rosendahl, M.Soc.Sc., Bachelor in Hospitality Management, Project Specialist, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, annariikka.rosendahl(at)haaga-helia.fi

Circular Economy (CE) initiative is relevant to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Both of these world-transforming agendas include Systems Thinking (ST) as key element. However, there are only indirect indications of what ST stands for these two narratives in practice. In addition, ST is seldom defined per se. There are trade-offs between SDG and Circular Economy in relation to certain CE practices, therefore the orientation of Systems Thinking adapted is topical.

This article discusses how Systems Thinking could be promoted in the degree education of Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) while implementing the emerging education for Circular Economy. What are the potential adaptable elements of ST for the BBA educational programmes? How can the future business professionals enhance the CE and the SDG benefit from Systems Thinking? The tentative elements of ST that have been associated with ethical and sustainable economy are pointed as an example.

Key words: Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), business and administration, circular economy, sustainable development, systems thinking

 

Good Deeds within Research Studies

Teppo Leppälahti, M.Sc.(Econ.), Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, teppo.leppalahti(at)laurea.fi
Sari Heikkinen, PhD, Director of Research Program, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, sari.heikkinen(at)laurea.fi

Students’ phone interviews during Covid-19 were not only training on how to collect data for a research purpose. Informants were elderly people, who were socially isolated. Although the originally planned sampling and personal interviews were out of question, the data collection succeeded well. The students contacted senior citizens in their own personal networks. Research interviews were empowering contacts. They were the good deeds of the students and the school.

Key words: business studies, companionship, project learning, social and health care studies, welfare

 

Digital Thesis Conference – The Bridge to the World of Work

Kaarina Sirviö, Doctor of Health Sc., Principal Lecturer, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, kaarina.sirvio(at)savonia.fi
Leena Tikka, Lic. Health Sc., Principal Lecturer, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, leena.tikka(at)savonia.fi
Pirjo Turunen, Lic.Soc.Sc., Principal Lecturer, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, pirjo.turunen(at)savonia.fi

It was necessary to develop new ways of working taking advantage of digital opportunities because the coronavirus epidemic.  A digital thesis conference was implemented in Savonia University of Applied Sciences. In the conference, the socially sustainable development and participation had an important role. The students made e-posters and presented them for the world of work. By making their presentations, they were able to demonstrate their expertise. Feedback from this kind of conference model was very positive. So, implementation of the conference will continue with this digital form and also by developing the possibility of interaction.

Key words: digitalisation, participation, social and health sector, socially sustainable development, teleconferencing

 

Everyone Benefits from Graphic Communication

Tanja Gavrilov, M.A. (Cultural Studies), Sign Language Interpreter, Bachelor of Culture and Arts (Graphic Design), Lecturer, Humak University of Applied Sciences, tanja.gavrilov(at)humak.fi

Graphic communication is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) method and used by, among others, people who have difficulties understanding and producing speech. The method is also used by their families and by the professionals. Luckily, the advantages and possibilities of this method are seen today more widely, because we all benefit from the method. The graphic communication is part of the repertoire of methods and languages that belong to the expertise of the Humanities University of Applied Sciences (Humak). In both education and project activities, our goal is to remove communication barriers of environments and interaction situations, and thus promote linguistic accessibility, which enables social sustainability to be achieved.

Key words: graphic communication, interaction, linguistic accessibility

 

Multidisciplinary Teaching Prepares for Multiprofessional Collaboration 

Outi Ahonen, PhD (Health Science), Principal Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, outi.ahonen(at)laurea.fi
Päivi Harmoinen, Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Tuija Partio, Development Manager, Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Tarja Paukkeri, Development Manager, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

Today’s challenges in a sustainable society and regional cooperation call for wide-ranging cross-sectoral problem-solving in order to secure good life chances for future generations. Learning takes place in a community of practice, the characteristics of which are divided into the dimensions of mutual commitment, shared practices, and a common goal. This survey describes the views of university of applied sciences (UAS) social and health care teachers on the factors that promote and slow down multidisciplinary teaching. The goal is to increase multidisciplinary teaching for different fields of study in UASs. The multidisciplinary work of a teacher requires an enthusiastic attitude and courage for new experiments. Multidisciplinary teaching is promoted by clarifying a common goal and strengthening commitment. However, the implementation of multidisciplinary teaching still poses challenges for the operation of UASs.

Key words: cooperation, healthcare, multidiciplinary, multiprofessional, multidiciplinary society, pedagogy, social care

Robots as Eliminators of Social Isolation

Teppo Leppälahti, M.Sc.(Econ.), Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, teppo.leppalahti(at)laurea.fi
Sari Heikkinen, PhD, Director of Research Program, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, sari.heikkinen(at)laurea.fi

Loneliness and social isolation are serious problems today. The situation of elderly people can be especially difficult if family members live far away and abilities to use telecommunication equipment are weak. Telepresence robots may be one solution for social isolation. Those robots are available in markets already and it is the perfect time to start to use them now. Universities of applied sciences with another educational organizations play a key role as early adoption of new technology among students and in the field of elderly care as well. Additionally, telepresence robotics is a potential means to an end of decreasing social isolation. Perhaps schools could organize telepresence of their social and health care students with socially isolated elderly people as a part of elderly care studies.

Key words: business studies, loneliness, robotics, social and health studies, social isolation, telepresence

 

Call for papers: UAS Journal 3/2020, Universities of applied sciences promoting social sustainability

We invite all those interested in the topic of social sustainability to submit articles for issue 3/2020 of the UAS Journal. The theme for the issue is ‘Universities of applied sciences promoting social sustainability’.
Sustainable development was first defined by the UN Brundtland Commission in 1987. The work of the commission initiated a process that has continued to develop at both the international and national level, involving both governments and different sectors of society.

In Finland, sustainable development has been promoted since 1993, at which point Finland became the first country in the world to establish a national commission on sustainable development. This commission defined sustainable development as follows: ‘Sustainable development is a globally, regionally and locally ongoing process of continuous and targeted change in society. It aims at safeguarding opportunities for a good life to current and future generations. This requires that the environment, people and the economy are equally taken into account in decision-making and activities.’ (Ministry of the Environment, https://www.ym.fi/fi-fi/ymparisto/kestava_kehitys/mita_on_kestava_kehitys).

Finland is committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was approved at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015. The 2030 Agenda includes 17 sustainable development objectives of which many relate to social sustainability (https://um.fi/agenda-2030-sustainable-development-goals). These include in particular goal 1: no poverty, 2: zero hunger, 3: good health and well-being, 4: quality education, 5: gender equality, 8: decent work and economic growth, 10: reduced inequalities, 11: sustainable cities and communities, 16: peace, justice and strong institutions, 17: partnerships.

Universities of applied sciences promote social sustainability through their education, projects, cooperation with employers and other practical measures. These methods for promoting sustainability can also connect with and support each other in many ways, and their scope and scale can vary from globally-orientated actions to very local ones. We also very much hope to receive articles that relate to the international projects (including educational, RDI projects etc.) of universities of applied sciences and their stakeholder groups, (e.g. associations and companies). We will give priority to articles that tell of projects and trials that have already been carried out and which offer valuable lessons for universities of applied sciences and their stakeholders. Furthermore, we are interested in hearing both about successful projects and unsuccessful ones!

The maximum length of a specialist article is 10,000 characters, a review 4,000 characters and less formally structured texts about 3,000 characters (incl. spaces). Detailed instructions for authors can be found on https://uasjournal.fi/in-english/instructions-for-writers/

The editors for this themed issue are Tove Holm from the City of Turku, Silja Kostia from Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Kaija Saramäki from Karelia University of Applied Sciences.

Tove has worked for 18 years in universities of applied sciences and adult education centres in the areas of quality management, environmental management, and promotion of sustainable development. She completed her PhD in environmental science at the University of Turku in 2014. The subject of her research was cross-disciplinary: enabling change in universities and enhancing sustainable development education. In recent years, she has been working for the Baltic Sea Challenge project initiated by the cities of Helsinki and Turku, which has cast a vision for a clean, productive and shared Baltic Sea.

Silja works as a principal lecturer at the Tampere University of Applied Sciences, and before that she was a principal lecturer and Dean of the Faculty of Technology at Lahti University of Applied Sciences. During her career, Silja has participated extensively in the promotion of sustainable development through educational and R&D activities involving both national and international networks. She completed her PhD in biology at the University of Helsinki in 2000.

Kaija works as a Senior Lecturer at the Karelia University of Applied Sciences and is actively involved in the activities of the ENO online school. Her areas of expertise include sustainable development, cooperation and networks, sustainable use of natural resources and internationalisation. By training, Kaija is a Forestry Engineer (BSc) specialised in marketing and communications, and she is also a Master of Science in Environmental Forestry who has specialised in the social questions relating to the use of natural resources.

Please send your proposed articles to the editors at kaija.saramaki(at)karelia.fi no later than week 34 (23 August 2020). Use the following subject for your email: UAS3 article. Please remember to follow the writing instructions and title your article according to the lead author’s surname.

  • Article proposals to be sent to the editors by 30 August 2020 at the latest.
  • Feedback on the articles will be sent to the lead authors by week 37.
  • The revised version of the articles should be delivered by week 39 at the latest.
  • The themed issue will be published in week 41.

Sustainability as a driver of impact creation

Authors: Amit Kumar Mishra, Jaana Seikkula-Leino & Eeva-Liisa Viskari.

Universities of Applied Sciences need to make an impact in society

Universities of applied sciences (UAS) have existed in Finland since 1990’s. The statutory task of UAS’ is to provide professional higher education and promote the industry, business and regional development and regenerate the industrial structure of the region (Universities of Applied Sciences Act 932/2014). In recent years UASs have been actively seeking alternative ways of making an impact in the society both in terms of education and applied research and development activities.

Understanding impact creation – presenting IC1.0

There is a growing opinion that higher education institutes have to create impact. Tampere University of Applied Sciences has adopted a new approach and started to increase its impact in three strategic fields: sustainability, new technologies and future competencies and learning. These fields interact through the activities, and the team working together, thus creating impact in the society.  Based on this, the authors suggest a Venn diagram (Figure 1) of these strategic fields, which may create impact, and call it the map of impact generation – IC1.0.

Real lasting impact is created by a consolidated effort in at least three domains, namely sustainability, new and emerging technologies, and future competencies and learning. Each of these three domains affects each other in a symbiotic manner.

  • New technologies for sustainability and sustainability for new technologies (T4S4T)

Most of the goals listed in UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) need major contributions from emerging technologies. At the same time, SDGs give motivations and challenges for technological innovations.

  • Future competencies and learning and economy for sustainability and sustainability for future competencies and learning (L4S4L)

Be it learning or competency creation, the effect of sustainability is conspicuous. Universities and UASs can expand their business and education material and pedagogy by delivering materials, learning environments and other pedagogical initiatives in the domain of sustainability. Similarly, competencies and learning for technology, and technology for learning and economy (L4T4L) interact (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The map of impact generation IC1.0 as suggested by the authors.
Figure 1. The map of impact generation IC1.0 as suggested by the authors.

How is Tampere University of Applied Sciences creating an impact?

Tampere University of Applied Sciences is implementing a new approach in increasing its societal and educational impact. At the beginning of 2020, three new Impact Leaders have started their targeted work to increase the role of the university in research and development, build networks and strengthen the visibility and recognizability of the university as an R&D player, both nationally and internationally. The three strategic impact areas are:

  1. Adaptation of emerging technologies and 4IR
  2. Learning capabilities in modern work environments and international networks
  3. Ecological innovations and socio-cultural challenges.

Since the target of impact, creation involves a multidisciplinary approach of different domains, continuing knowledge creation, and specific procedures. To begin with, we are aiming to find a more particular understanding of the impact and its nature. What is impact, especially in UAS context? What will be our processes and ways to promote impact? With whom do we create an impact? What are the indicators? How to evaluate and assess the outcomes? These are the questions to be focused on. It cannot, however, be a task of one single UAS only. Therefore, fundamental discussion, both in national and regional level needs to be initiated; what has been the impact of universities of applied sciences in Finland nationally and regionally, and these days even more – internationally?

Authors

Amit Kumar Mishra, PhD, Impact Leader – Emerging Technologies and 4IR, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, RDI and Business Operations, amit.india(at)gmail.com

Jaana Seikkula-Leino, PhD, Impact Leader – Future Competencies and Learning, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, RDI and Business Operations, jaana.seikkula-leino(at)tuni.fi

Eeva-Liisa Viskari, PhD, Impact Leader – Sustainability, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, RDI and Business Operations, eeva-liisa.viskari(at)tuni.fi

New research group wants to promote sustainability of future circular bioeconomy society

Authors: Silja Kostia, Ulla Häggblom, Erkki Kiviniemi, Mikael Lindell, Riitta Vihuri & Eeva-Liisa Viskari.

New research group promoting sustainable solutions and business

Four research groups started at Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) in the beginning of February 2020. TAMK is an acknowledged actor in the research, development and innovation (RDI) activities and an attractive multidisciplinary educator with over 10 000 students and over 40 degree programmes. The Master’s degree programme in Risk Management and Circular Economy (RIMCE) is a forerunner. This is an excellent basis for the developmental actions.

Target of the “Next level circular bioeconomy actions” research group is to strengthen TAMK’s impact as a promoter in future sustainable solutions and business. It originates from the existing expertise and research projects, and meets the challenge of a multidisciplinary team sharing a common goal. In this article we describe TAMK’s research topics and achievements in circular bioeconomy, and aims and actions of the new research group. TAMK’s role in the regional innovation ecosystem is also discussed.

From table to table – research closing nutrient and material loops

No food is grown without fertilization and energy input in agriculture. Due to diminishing phosphorus reserves, nutrient recovery and reuse is essential in the future. Promising results have been achieved in terms of using, for example, source-separated urine as such, or nutrients recovered from urine, as a fertilizer. Tampere University of Applied Sciences has coordinated in 2015–2019 several research projects related to nutrient recovery and reuse (Viskari et al., 2018, Malila et al., 2019b), and therefore has a lot of experience in promoting circularity and sustainable livelihoods. The research and development also aim at raising discussion about the acceptability, safety and administrative challenges of these fertilizer products. Furthermore, different technological solutions, like a mobile nutrient-recovering toilet unit in the field use have been tested (Malila et al., 2019a).

Food production, including the whole value chain, is one of the key factors in lowering carbon emissions. Also, the source of protein in our diet has importance. Concrete outcomes of the research projects are for example the initiation of Tampere Hall roof plantations and edible park of the Lielahti Manor, in the project where urban agriculture was implemented and pilot plantations established in the city of Tampere (Asikainen et al., 2017). Use of local and seasonal food has been promoted by recipe development and piloting, with special emphasis on seasonal ingredients and local foodstuffs (Elinvoimaa lähiruoasta, 2018). In addition, new sustainable food products, menus and business models have been created to Särkänniemi area as an outcome of carbon-neutral food chains development, which is more widely described also in this journal (Heikkilä & Lindell, 2019; Heikkilä & Lindell, 2020). Together with five research partners, know-how of economically feasible insect production has been developed. Towards insect bioeconomy project, in which TAMK participated, searched for the latest know-how on biomass, that could be utilized in insect rearing systems, profitability of production, and the cornerstones of the economy, new business models, insect product development, consumer preferences, and the health and welfare effects of insect products (Vihuri & Wickman-Viitala, 2020).

Food and packaging industries aim at using sustainable packages and replacements for plastics in packaging. In Finland, oat paper is the first circular economy package application utilizing side streams of the food industry (Häggblom & Viitaharju, 2020). Other side streams like barley shells, mash, peels of carrots and potatoes are the next target of the research (Ecodesigncircle, 2020). Alongside technical development of innovative materials, an important activity has been a dialogue between creative industries and multidisciplinary student teams. This has resulted in bio-based package and service innovations commissioned by the industry (Häggblom et al., 2017). To promote low carbon bio-based society, a testing environment for biodegradability and compostability of materials and products is important. A testing environment has been built and is available for research and testing of biodegradable materials and products (PIHI, 2020).

Figure 1. How would it sound to you to purchase an oat bread which is packed in a bag partly made of oat shell waste? This might be possible in near future, while first pilot bags have already been manufactured.
Figure 1. How would it sound to you to purchase an oat bread which is packed in a bag partly made of oat shell waste? This might be possible in near future, while first pilot bags have already been manufactured.

Actions are needed to reach the next level

Frølund and coworkers have studied key elements of collaboration between universities and companies for a long time. They underline that collaboration between companies and universities is a critical driver of the innovation economy, and that even smaller, more regionally oriented companies have come to believe that universities are key ecosystem stakeholders in supporting and shaping their regional economies. However, the distributed governance of expertise at universities is recognized one of the key problems in university-industry collaboration (Frølund et al., 2018). To tackle the challenge of distributed governance, need for regular stakeholder meetings in the Campus was identified but also the need to walk off campus. Universities of applied sciences are in the core of regional innovation ecosystems, and although there is never enough communication and interaction, regular and jointly agreed meetings make stakeholder collaboration systematic.

Four types of actions were identified to increase the impact of the research and development in the field of circular economy:

  1. Better communication of present RDI strengths and competences
  2. Strengthening stakeholder relationships and analysis of their needs
  3. Strengthening relationships with international partners and customers
  4. Conceptualizing ideas based on the needs of the stakeholders.

To sum up, mapping of one’s own expertise and experts, more communication and interaction with national and international stakeholders, and development of one’s own processes to support flexible collaboration are key factors. This might look self-evident but still needs a systematic approach and resources, which are now available at TAMK.

The next level in practice

Previous projects and studies have revealed that there is a lot of unused potential in Pirkanmaa region to promote circular economy in several fields of industry (Halonen et al., 2017; Ramboll, 2016). Also, there is a lot of opportunities to develop circular economy service business, while so far the focus has been mostly on material circulation and less on services (Ramboll, 2016). Coordination of FISS (Finnish Industrial Symbiosis System) regional workshops is not yet organized in Pirkanmaa region, which is an opportunity for TAMK to take the leading role. Purpose of the workshops is to find companies and other actors in the region, which have exploitable waste and side streams to be used as a resource for new products and services. Regionally, industrial symbiosis put circular economy in practice.

Construction industry is a significant field of business in the national economy. TAMK is one of the biggest and strongest construction and civil engineering educator in Finland. For promotion of sustainable circular bioeconomy, there are already research actions, for example in monitoring and measurement of hazardous substances in construction materials, which is crucial in demolition and renovation projects, in terms of occupational and environmental health (Viskari et al., 2018, 2019). Further actions will include research and development in carbon neutral construction, promotion of wood construction and taking sustainable housing and human viewpoint into focus. New initiatives have already been mapped and cooperation with construction companies, urban development actors and cities are initiated.

Combining nutrient recycling with new nutrient recovery technologies in an urban environment, creating and initiating sustainable food systems and packaging materials, and promoting new entrepreneurship, products and business opportunities around these themes will be key drivers in the future actions of the research group. For example, in the city of Tampere the new housing area of Hiedanranta and development of Särkänniemi Theme Park sustainable food street offer extremely innovative live labs for the development.

Figure 2. Implementation of alternative sanitation technologies and nutrient recovery in Hiedanranta area in the City of Tampere (Photo: Trung Dang).
Figure 2. Implementation of alternative sanitation technologies and nutrient recovery in Hiedanranta area in the City of Tampere (Photo: Trung Dang).

The way forward

The research group approach is a development project as such. One of the goals is to create continuity of research topics instead of separate projects. Collecting TAMK’s circular bioeconomy projects together made existing capacity “visible”. Analysis of the content of the projects resulted in identification of “from table to table” research theme, presented in this article. Further, six different internal stakeholder groups have been identified also promoting sustainability. TAMK’s role in the regional innovation ecosystem is important not only through RDI activities but also because of the capacity of international networks and collaboration.

The aims, actions and opportunities we have described here do not correspond with the traditional research group. We have deliberately chosen the strategy with strong stakeholder involvement, both inside and outside the organization. We want to strengthen TAMK’s impact as a promoter of circular bioeconomy, which we associate with proactivity, co-creation and even crazy multidisciplinary ideas with a strong involvement of students as innovators. In our vision, solutions for challenges in the future circular society are not conventional, and that is why new multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder platforms are needed.

Authors

Silja Kostia, Principal Lecturer, Ph.D., Tampere University of Applied Sciences, silja.kostia(at)tuni.fi

Ulla Häggblom, Principal Lecturer, Dr. Sc. (Tech.), Tampere University of Applied Sciences, ulla.haggblom(at)tuni.fi

Erkki Kiviniemi, Senior Lecturer, M.Sc. (Tech.), Tampere University of Applied Sciences, erkki.kiviniemi(at)tuni.fi

Mikael Lindell, Senior Lecturer, M.Sc. (Econ.), mikael.lindell(at)tuni.fi

Riitta Vihuri, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Senior Lecturer, M.Sc. (Econ.), Tampere University of Applied Sciences, riitta.vihuri(at)tuni.fi

Eeva-Liisa Viskari, Impact Leader, Ph.D., Tampere University of Applied Sciences, eeva-liisa.viskari(at)tuni.fi


Asikainen, E., Björkman, F., Grobler, G., Haapamäki, S., Kloet, M., Mattila, A.-M., Pakula, S., Tuukkanen, K., Viskari, E.-L. (2017). Kunnioitusta raaka-ainetta kohtaan – viljeltyjä tarinoita ruokapöytiin. KIVIREKI-hankkeen julkaisu. Käymäläseura Huussi ry, Tampere. Available at: http://www.huussi.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/KIVIREKI_julkaisu_2017.pdf

Ecodesigncircle. (2020). Project’s www pages https://www.ecodesigncircle.eu/17-spotlight/56-heraeae-pahvi-a-cardboard-to-wake-up-finland (read 30.4.2020)

Elinvoimaa lähiruoasta. (2018). Lähiruokareseptejä. Elinvoimaa lähiruoasta – kumppanuudet lähiruoan hankinnoissa –hanke. Available at: https://www.virrat.fi/client/virrat/userfiles/elinvoimaa-lahiruoasta-valmis-versio-002.pdf

Frølund, L., Murray, F. & Riedel, M. (2018). Developing Successful Strategic Partnerships With Universities. MIT Sloan Management Review. Magazine Winter 2018, Issue Research Feature.

Halonen, E., Alakerttula, J., Lanz, M., & Seppänen, M. (2017). Pirkanmaan kiertotalouden innovaatiotoiminnan nykytila. Pirkanmaan liitto. Available: https://tutcris.tut.fi/portal/files/13175134/Pirkanmaan_liiton_selvityksi_2017_Pirkanmaan_kiertotalouden_innovaatiotoiminnan_nykytila_p_2.pdf

Heikkilä, T. & Lindell, M. (2019). Kestävän matkailun hub – Uusi Särkänniemi. Teoksessa A. Mäntysaari, A. Törn-Laapio & H. Siltanen (toim.),  Yhteiskehittämisestä kilpailuetua matkailu- ja ravitsemisalalla. Jyväskylän ammattikorkeakoulun julkaisuja 270.

Heikkilä, T. & Lindell, M. (2020). Kestävää liiketoimintaa ruokapalveluissa. UAS Journal 2/2020.

Häggblom, U., Damski, V. & Vepsäläinen, A. (2017). Hiilinielu Design Studio – Muotoilu kohtaa biotalouden. Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulun julkaisuja B:96. Available: http://julkaisut.tamk.fi/PDF-tiedostot-web/B/96-Hiilinielu-Design-Studio.pdf

Malila, R., Viskari, E.-L., Kallio, J. (2019a). Virtsan ravinteet kiertoon – MORTTI -hankkeen loppuraportti. Suomen ympäristökeskuksen raportteja 49/2019. ISBN 978-952-11-5107-1, ISSN 1796-1726. Available: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/307654

Malila, R., Viskari, E.-L., Lehtoranta, S. (2019b). The role of source separation in nutrient recovery – comparison of alternative wastewater treatment systems. Journal of Cleaner Production. 219: 350-358. 10 February 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.02.024

PIHI. (2020). Project’s www-pages. https://www.tuni.fi/fi/tutkimus/pihi-pirkanmaan-vahahiiliset-kalvoratkaisut (read 30.4.2020)

Ramboll. (2016). Bio- ja kiertotalouden hankkeet, osaaminen ja haasteet Tampereen kaupunkiseudulla ja Pirkanmaalla. End-of-project report. Available: http://www.pirkanmaa.fi/wp-content/uploads/Bio-ja-kiertotalousselvitys_Loppuraportti_21_09_16_logoilla.pdf

Vihuri, R. & Wickman-Viitala, T. (2020). Hyönteistoimialan liiketoiminnan kehittäminen. TAMKjournal 24.4.2020. Available: http://tamkjournal.tamk.fi/hyonteistoimialan-liiketoiminnan-kehittaminen/

Viskari, E.-L., Grobler, G., Karimäki, K., Gorbatova, A., Vilpas, R. & Lehtoranta, S. (2018). Nitrogen Recovery With Source Separation of Human Urine—Preliminary Results of Its Fertiliser Potential and Use in Agriculture. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 2:1-14, 28 June 2018. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2018.00032

Viskari, E.-L., Kauranen, H., Nieminen, M., Nippala, E., Tuominen, E.-L. & Honkala, I. (2018). Palosuoja-aine HBCD rakennuseristeissä ja pakkausmateriaaleissa ‒ esiintyminen, tunnistaminen ja turvallinen käsittely. Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulun julkaisuja. Sarja B. Raportteja 111. Tampere 2018. Available: https://www.tamk.fi/-/palosuoja-aine-hbcd-rakennuseristeissa-ja-pakkausmateriaaleissa-esiintyminen-tunnistaminen-ja-turvallinen-kasittely

Viskari, E.-L., Kauranen, H., Nieminen, M., Nippala, E., Tuominen, E.-L. & Honkala, I. (2019). Palonsuoja-aine on kierrättäjän pulma. Uusiouutiset 2/2019, 36–37.

Artificial intelligence for ecological sustainability – New machine learning applications for sorting of plastic waste?

Authors: Faizan Asad & Mirja Andersson.

The year 2020 has brought great sustainability challenges as the world is facing the pandemics of COVID-19, that has been causing great suffering in term of loss of lives and financial incomes. Artificial intelligence (later AI) is helping to present smart solutions for prevention and diagnosis of this new virus (Alimadadi et al. 2020). However, AI is not going to solve the problem itself, it would need creative and inventive approaches from humans (Hollister 2020). AI is still, after ca. 30 years of existing, an emerging field with great potential to help in globally shared challenges in ecological sustainability such as fighting the climate change, preserving biodiversity and healthy oceans, securing clean water and air, and in being resilient in conditions of extreme weather and disasters (World Economic Forum 2018). Integration of AI / machine learning into systems of plastic recycling, and by that helping the cause of ecological sustainability, could result in innovative and smart solutions too.

Arcada University of Applied Sciences participated during 2014–2016 in a national strategic research program, Material Value Chains (in Finnish Materiaalien Arvovirrat, later ARVI) financed by The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (currently known as Business Finland, previously TEKES) together with nearly 30 organisations including universities, research institutes and companies. The objective of the ARVI research program was to build a mutual understanding of future business opportunities related to recycling of materials, as well as required know-how and abilities for their utilisation. This interdisciplinary research program offered a unique opportunity for Finnish industry and research institutes to carry out long-term strategic research cooperation and launch the circular economy nationally in the field of plastic recycling and waste management (Clic Innovation 2017).

Recycling of plastic waste, even in Finland with well-developed waste management system, would still require more resources (YLE News 2020). To continue our previous applied research work with plastic recycling (Mylläri et al. 2016; Clic Innovation 2017; Andersson et al. 2018; Jönkkäri et al. 2020) as well as our development work with ecological sustainability themes in engineering education (Andersson and Makkonen-Craig 2017), we are launching a new research aim to explore the improvement of sorting processes through suitable applications of AI and machine learning together with collaborating universities and companies. In this article we will briefly introduce this aim by reviewing the current knowledge and status around the topic.

Towards the era of AI by applied research in combination with materials technology

Optimised and smart new technologies, such as a robotic arm equipped with AI for automatic sorting and a machine learning image classifier model for reliable item detection, could assist to keep the plastic materials longer in circulation for improved ecological sustainability. We have applied research financing recently for our research aim on new machine learning applications for plastic recycling from Arcada Foundation. In general, the research topic of plastic recycling at Arcada is also supported by recently granted 2-year financing by Business Finland for co-innovation with private sector. The “All in for Plastics Recycling’’ (later PLASTIn) project is established to support the plastic industry actors to develop systemic, and environmentally optimized recycling concepts. This is achieved with the new knowledge gained about recycling processes and technologies such as sorting, pre-treatment, mechanical and chemical treatment and reject handling, and about system level understanding, allowing improved business opportunities based on recycling.

The project aims to focus on the recycling of challenging plastics, and turn the challenges into new business opportunities of the plastic cluster in Finland and promote the circular economy. The research organisations participating in the PLASTIn project consortium are Finnish Environment Institute, Lappeenranta Lahti University of Technology, Tampere University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Arcada University of Applied Sciences together with several industrial partners. The research consortium in PLASTIn project will offer a readily available platform to discuss the pros and cons of proposed machine learning applications to benefit plastic recycling.

Challenges with plastic waste and potential improvement by AI

Earlier studies on plastic recycling accomplished for example at ARVI research programme, have confirmed many practical challenges (Clic Innovation 2017). As systems are partially developing, new challenges may arise with the development. According to a recent article by YLE, Finland has ended up with a, in a way, positive problem with increased plastic sorting by the households (YLE News 2020). This problem reflects the willingness of households to sort their waste, which is good, but as a consequence the capacity of mechanical plastic recycling appears to be the limiting factor in the system. The leading professionals and companies in the field have worked to develop the material circulation of plastics for years, but still systemic change caused by the sorting habits of the households in Finland was unexpected.

How is AI currently helping in waste sorting? The use of machine learning in waste sorting through a robotic arm is not an unrealistic or new concept. There are companies around the world that are using this type of AI application already. However, optimally working and affordable solutions for all possible sorting lines do not exist. In Sweden, a company Lundstams Återvinning AB is using a heavy robotic arm to sort construction and demolition waste (Lundstams 2020). In Switzerland, another company SORTERA sort mixed construction and industrial waste. Both companies use the same technology developed by ZenRobotics Ltd., an AI solution company having roots in Finland (ZenRobotics 2019). However, there is high potential of AI research and optimization also in waste sorting applications, remembering that also AI technologies develop in selection, and solutions are getting smaller, faster and more mobile.

Fig 1. A part of machine learning model (Faizan Asad).
Fig 1. A part of machine learning model (Faizan Asad).

The core idea in our research is to use vision detection for sorting plastic waste. This can be achieved by using image identifier ML models e.g. neural network for identification of objects in real time. Another example is RetinaNet model, that has been used for pedestrian detection from the aerial images. OpenCV – another ML model could also be trained for this particular application. The ML model will be trained on open source data and will be tested and optimized. In the second stage of the project, the model will be trained on real life data and adjusted for final application. The final result will be a robotic arm equipped with sophisticated AI to sort plastic waste, of later defined type, since the types of waste and plastics are numerous. However, working applications will need cooperation on a systemic level, with other researchers and companies, and will need the enthusiastic engineering students with their thesis projects to contribute.

Summary

AI is an emerging field that offers creative and innovative applications by assisting in finding solutions in several fields of life. It has brought out of the box remedies to industrial problems, and has tackled daily life issues with ease. AI has been employed already for numerous ecological solutions. However, more resources, more hands and clever heads would be needed to develop AI for ecological sustainability. The year 2020 has brought great sustainability challenges with the world facing the COVID-19 pandemic. AI is providing creative solutions, for both current challenges and on a longer perspective, for example by help in analysing medical data and also assisting in finding solutions for improvement (Rao et al. 2020). It may very well be that AI will become more important in the world after the pandemic than before it. Open data and thorough research are in demand for the sustainable use of AI, and the sustainable decision making based on proven facts and figures, for ecological reasons, too. The world is certainly moving towards AI applications. It is high time the universities of applied sciences take more systematic steps towards the new technological era. This work has only just begun.

Acknowledgements

Arcada University of Applied Sciences wishes to acknowledge the association Svenska Folkskolans Vänner rf. (SFV), as financer of current development project TEKNETIUM that has enabled writing this article.

Authors

Faizan Asad, M.Sc. (Tech.), Project Researcher, Arcada University of Applied Sciences/Department of Energy and Materials Technology, faizan.asad(at)arcada.fi

Mirja Andersson, D.Sc., Head of Department, Arcada University of Applied Sciences/Department of Energy and Materials Technology, mirja.andersson(at)arcada.fi


Alimadadi, A., Aryal, S., Manandhar, I., Munroe, P.B., Joe, B., & Cheng, X. (2020). Artificial intelligence and machine learning to fight COVID-19. Physiological Genomics, 52(4), 200–202. https://doi.org/10.1152/physiolgenomics.00029.2020.

Andersson, M., & Makkonen-Craig, S. (2017). Sustainable values in future engineering education. In N. Hyde-Clarke & C. Wikström-Grotell (Eds.), A Culture of Sustainability and Innovation in Professional Higher Education. Arcada Publication 1, 2017. Online. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-5260-84-7. Accessed 7.4.2020.

Andersson, M., Makkonen-Craig, S., Holm, M., & Lehtonen, K. (2018). Muoviosaamista tarvitaan kiertotaloudessa. UAS Journal 1/2018. https://uasjournal.fi/1-2018/muoviosaamista-kiertotaloudessa/. Accessed 7.4.2020.

Clic Innovation. (2017). Material Value Chains. Final report. Online. Available at: http://arvifinalreport.fi/ Accessed 7.4.2020

Hollister, M. (2020). AI can help with the COVID-19 crisis. Article. World Economic Forum. Online. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/covid-19-crisis-artificial-intelligence-creativity/. Accessed 7.4.2020

Jönkkäri, I., Poliakova, V., Mylläri, V., Anderson, R., Andersson, M., & Vuorinen, J. (2020). Compounding and characterization of recycled multilayer plastic films. Journal of Applied Polymer Sciences. Online. https://doi.org/10.1002/app.49101. Accessed 7.4.2020.

Lundstams Återvinning. (2020). News. Online. https://www.lundstams.se/robotisering. Accessed 7.4.2020.

Mylläri, V., Hartikainen, S., Poliakova, V., Anderson, R., Jönkkäri, I., Pasanen, P., Andersson, M. & Vuorinen, J. (2016). Detergent impurity effect on recycled HDPE: Properties after repetitive processing, Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 133(31), 43766. https://doi.org/10.1002/app.43766

Rao, A., & Vazquez, J. (2020). Identification of COVID-19 Can be Quicker through Artificial Intelligence framework using a Mobile Phone-Based Survey in the Populations when Cities/Towns Are Under Quarantine. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1017/ice.2020.61

World Economic Forum. (2018). Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for the Earth. Report. Online. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/Harnessing_Artificial_Intelligence_for_the_Earth_report_2018.pdf. Accessed 7.4.2020.

YLE News. (2020). Struggling to keep up, Finland exports plastic waste. News. Online. https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/struggling_to_keep_up_finland_exports_plastic_waste/11224544. Accessed 7.4.2020.

ZenRobotics. (2019). Robots Ready and Set at SORTERA. News. Online. https://zenrobotics.com/news/robots-ready-and-set-at-sortera/. Accessed 7.4.2020.

Water protection co-operation between a city and a university

Authors: Juha Kääriä, Piia Leskinen & Tove Holm.

Cities are centers of production and consumption as well as emissions and the use of natural resources. Many cities are located by the coast, rendering them more vulnerable to extreme weather events, which will become more common with climate change. However, cities have, even on a global scale, good possibilities for improving energy efficiency and water consumption, developing circular economy, reducing the carbon footprint and developing a sustainable societal structure. The significance of cities and their practical level collaboration has been ground breaking in many international cases, where national governments have found it difficult to strengthen their cooperation or find solutions. Cities are flexible actors that can, in addition to their role as a local authority, also quickly test new practices and implement pilot projects.

The Baltic Sea Challenge

The Baltic Sea Challenge is a network initiative that invites cities and other organisations to commit to protect the Baltic Sea and their local waters by building their own action plan and implementing it. It was initiated by the Mayors of Helsinki and Turku in 2006. They wanted the cities to commit to work for the Baltic Sea and to be pioneers in strategic water protection. The first joint action plan of the cities was published in 2007. In 2020, already over 300 organizations from countries around the Baltic Sea have joined the network. The goals of the Baltic Sea Challenge are in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The one most obviously related to the Baltic Sea is number 14, conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources (The Baltic Sea Challenge, 2018). Based on the evaluation carried out using the SDG Impact Assessment Tool, also the objectives 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 17 are essential to the Baltic Sea Challenge and the cities’ Baltic Sea action plans (The Baltic Sea Challenge, 2020). In 2018, New York City, as the first city in the world, submitted a Voluntary Local Review (VLR) of its work for the SDGs, which is modeled after the Voluntary National Review that countries are invited to submit each year. Since then, several cities have followed the example and the City of Turku will submit its VLR in 2020 (City of Turku, 2020).

Saving the sea is also one of the main objectives of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR, 2020). In 2017, the government endorsed a resolution on Finland’s Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Interest groups were engaged in the preparation of the strategy, with the cities of Helsinki and Turku participating in the work. Finland’s strategy is based on a clean Baltic Sea and viable marine environment, and the goal is to become a global pioneer of bio-economy, circular economy and solutions for safe and clean shipping. In parallel, the strategy aims at developing competence and innovation, networking and competitiveness. The strategy emphasizes the role of regions, cities, businesses, higher educational institutes (HEIs) and civil society organizations in the Baltic Sea work (Prime Minister’s Office, 2017). In South-West Finland, these actors have already a long history of collaboration towards a cleaner Baltic Sea. In the following paragraphs we present some examples of how the City of Turku and Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) have collaborated to carry out different activities of the city’s Baltic Sea Action plan.

Implementing storm water management programme

As extreme rain events have become increasingly common, the City of Turku, among many other cities, has recognized the importance of developing climate proof stormwater management that would allow reducing stormwater floods as well as pollution. The task is huge and systematic realization of sustainable stormwater management structures in new development areas, as well as existing cityscape, will require, in addition to substantial financial resources, the change of mindset of all city officials linked with city planning, construction and maintenance. City organization and operation modes are large, complex and slow to change. As a mobile and initiative research group, TUAS water and environmental engineering group has come in handy, as it has carried out different practical developments, such as identification of stormwater pollution hotspots, developing water management instructions for construction sites and realization of pilot sites. TUAS students have participated in all developments, which has allowed many of them to find employment as stormwater experts after their graduation.

Figure 1. Students from Turku University of Applied Sciences monitoring stormwater quality in the City of Turku. Photo by Water and Environmental engineering group in Turku University of Applied Sciences.
Figure 1. Students from Turku University of Applied Sciences monitoring stormwater quality in the City of Turku. Photo by Water and Environmental engineering group in Turku University of Applied Sciences.

Structural liming project

Mitigating phosphorus (P) leaching from arable land is critical for improving water quality and reducing undesirable eutrophication of lakes and seas (Ulen et al., 2017). Agricultural practices affect P leaching less than meteorological conditions, but P transport through the soil is also strongly dependent on soil structure. Structure liming (applying quicklime (CaO) or slaked (hydrated, (Ca(OH)2 lime) to the entire topsoil can effectively improve  water infiltration over the whole field area. Structure liming is widely used and studied in Sweden but in Finland there is very limited amount of information available about the effects of structural liming. TUAS and the City of Turku with other project partners started (from 2019 to 2021) a project to investigate the effects of structural lime in agriculture. One case study is in the fields owned by the City of Turku. Structural liming is one of the most potential tools to reduce phosphorus load from agriculture to the Baltic Sea. Reduction effects can last tens of years with one treatment.

Figure 2. In structural liming it is important that the lime will be tilled quickly into the field in dry and warm conditions. Photo by Sakari Malmilehto.
Figure 2. In structural liming it is important that the lime will be tilled quickly into the field in dry and warm conditions. Photo by Sakari Malmilehto.

Supplementary training on harmful substances for ecosupporters

In the Baltic Sea Challenge action plan the City of Turku has committed to arrange supplementary training on harmful substances for ecosupporters. Ecosupporters are city employees, whose role is to act in their own units to make small changes and increase awareness on green choices. Increasing the awareness of ecosupporters is seen as a means of bringing the green action to the grass roots level. In previous years TUAS had collaborated with different units of the City of Turku to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals, in the NonHazCity project. As a continuation of these activities, TUAS suggested to the city that they could produce an online training material for ecosupporters on hazardous substances as a part of the project. This was welcomed by the city, as TUAS has both good infra and expertise for producing online education materials. The training material is currently being prepared and at the end of year 2020 it will be available for ecosupporters nationwide.

The Protection Fund for the Archipelago Sea

The Protection Fund for the Archipelago Sea offers funding for private business, NGOs and people, for reducing the nutrient load to the Archipelago Sea. Grants are awarded for the projects that have, after expert evaluation, the best potential for reducing the phosphorus and nitrogen loads in the Archipelago Sea in practice. In the evaluation team there are experts e.g. from the City of Turku and TUAS. The fund has already funded over 50 projects since 2007.

Conclusion

The cities have the mandate and the potential for making a significant change and contributing to sustainable development by implementing new green solutions. However, middle-sized cities, such as Turku, often do not have sufficient capacity to carry out piloting projects, which require special scientific expertise and know-how of international project funding. The City of Turku has tackled this challenge by collaborating with the local universities. TUAS has become a “task force”, that has in recent years prepared and implemented numerous EU-funded environmental projects in collaboration with the city. This collaboration has been mutually beneficial; it has allowed the city to carry out its ambitious action plan for saving the Baltic Sea, whereas TUAS staff and students have benefited from the opportunity to work with practical real-world cases.

Authors

Juha Kääriä, PhD, Manager of Climate Affairs, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Business, juha.kaaria(at)turkuamk.fi

Piia Leskinen, PhD, Research Group Leader, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Business, piia.leskinen(at)turkuamk.fi

Tove Holm, PhD, Coodinator, The Baltic Sea Challenge, the City of Turku, Associate researcher, University of Gävle, tove.holm(at)turku.fi


The Baltic Sea Challenge. (2018). Joint Baltic Sea Action Plan of Helsinki and Turku for 2019–2023, http://www.itamerihaaste.net/files/2087/Baltic_Sea_Action_Plan_Helsinki_Turku_2019-2023_ENG_210x210_FINAL_290119_WEB.pdf, retrieved 27.4.2020

The Baltic Sea Challenge. (2020). Itämerihaasteen seuraavan vuosikymmenen päämääränä on edistää YK:n kestävän kehityksen tavoitteita [The goal of the Baltic Sea Challenge for the next decade is to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals], http://www.itamerihaaste.net/ajankohtaista/uutiset/itamerihaasteen_seuraavan_vuosikymmenen_paamaarana_on_edistaa_yk_n_kestavan_kehityksen_tavoitteita.1975.news, retrieved 27.4.2020

The City of Turku. (2020). Turun kaupunki toteuttaa YK:n kestävän kehityksen tavoitteiden kaupunkitasoisen arvioinnin [The City of Turku carries out a city-level assessment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals], https://www.turku.fi/uutinen/2020-03-04_turun-kaupunki-toteuttaa-ykn-kestavan-kehityksen-tavoitteiden-kaupunkitasoisen, retrieved 27.4.2020

EUSBSR. (2020). EUSBSR in a nutshell. Basic facts about the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, https://www.balticsea-region-strategy.eu/about/about, retrieved 27.4.2020

Prime Minister’s Office. (2017). Finland’s Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Prime Minister’s Office Publications 15c/2017

Ulen, B., Larsbo, M., Koestel, J., Hellner, Q., Blomberg, M. & Geranmayeh, P. (2018). Assessing strategies to mitigate phosphorus leaching from drained clay soils. Ambio 2018,47(Supp. 1):S114-S

Sustainable community – utopia of our time?

Authors: Eeva Aarrevaara & Pentti Viluksela.

Sustainability of cities and communities has just recently become a major issue, considering the impact of the globally spreading COVID-19 pandemic. This was not anticipated when preparing a learning package considering sustainable communities was started last year. Health issues are not even very clearly articulated in the particular sustainability development goal considering communities. However, the material aiming to deconstruct main features of sustainable communities opens challenging viewpoints, especially when comparing solutions of different international cities. This material was produced to benefit all universities of applied sciences in circular economy education.

Mission impossible – sustainable community?

Sustainable community was chosen as one sub theme in the project Circular Economy for Universities of Applied Sciences. Principal lecturer Pentti Viluksela produced the introductory material for the topic in Spring 2019, and his colleague Eeva Aarrevaara was utilizing, developing further and piloting the material in her lectures in Autumn 2019. The starting point of this field was goal number 11 in the UN Sustainability Goals, Sustainable Cities and Communities (United Nations 2020). The authors argue that although working under the large umbrella of circular economy, one might consider, that urban planning is the area where the crucial decisions are carried out to create positive circumstances to support and enable circular economy actions. In other words, without suitable urban planning, it will be far more challenging to achieve the goals circular economy actions need.

The general goal of SDG 11 is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by 2030, which is divided into sub goals as presented in figure 1.

Figure 1. The UN Sustainability Goal 11 contains the above mentioned sub-goals (United Nations 2020).
Figure 1. The UN Sustainability Goal 11 contains the above mentioned sub-goals (United Nations 2020).

The previous Finnish government founded the committee for sustainable development in 2016 and launched the website Commitment 2050 (Sitoumus 2050), where several private and public organisations have published their commitments dealing with sustainability goals. In April 2020, over 2200 commitments were published. There are eight objectives, one of them being Sustainable society and local communities. Several of the objectives are connected with circular economy. (Sitoumus 2050, 2020)

How to combine livability and sustainability in Finland

The students participating in the pilot course were asked to produce a poster of the issue “Sustainable community”, which proved to be a successful task, a couple of examples of the student posters are included in this article (figure 2).

Figure 2. Examples of the students’ posters dealing with Sustainable Community (Posters by U. Helenius, M. Rissanen and K. Pennanen, Lahti University of Applied Sciences 2019).

As an adaptation of SDG 11 goals, separate examples of urban development were evaluated in Finland, especially in Helsinki region – what kinds of new development are taking place, what is their connection with the public transportation network and how do they identify other sustainability goals in practice. Helsinki provides multiple examples to study critically how sustainability aspects are expressed and realized (Helsingin kaupunki 2019).

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, together with other central governmental bodies, has made so called growth agreements with the largest cities. New agreements are under preparation and possibly covering also city regions with over 100 000 inhabitants. The agreement procedure for land use, housing and transport (MAL) aims to support the development of cities, and especially their residential policy and production. According to Vatilo (2018) the following viewpoints are important in the new agreement period: Enough land should be reserved for residential construction. Traffic infrastructure should support especially sustainable transport and moving, and the emissions of land use, living and traffic should decline by 50% by 2030.

Although the economical growth has concentrated in cities, also the smaller towns and rural localities, as well as villages, are important factors in the national and regional networks, and provide local citizens functional environments. The report of The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland has introduced two alternative scenarios for the future development until 2030. The first one is ”Finland as a network of regions in which different urban and rural regions are livable” and the second: ”Livability is concentrated on the big urban regions ”. (Ponto, Kuhmonen & Osenius 2018, 18–20).

Learning from forerunner cities – how sustainability change is managed

Students in Lahti University of Applied Sciences were collecting information in groups from so called forerunner cities, meaning cities, which at least have created an image to be advanced in sustainability issues. Cities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Vancouver, Oslo and Copenhagen were explored concerning sustainability factors, like green areas, new developments, mobility and energy use.

Except Berlin, these cities are quite similar by size, only Amsterdam is slightly bigger compared to Oslo, Copenhagen and Vancouver, which all have more than 600 000 inhabitants. Berlin has the population of 3,7 million inhabitants. All cities are presenting agendas to increase the greenery inside the urban area with different kinds of actions. The area of green space will be raised into 15% in the inner city of Oslo, and in urban regions, into 20% of the area. Vancouver has a goal to increase the canopy cover to 22% by 2050, which will increase the cooling effect of trees in urban areas. Berlin has launched the goal to have 30% of urban areas for green infrastructure.

New urban developments of the cities demonstrate transition processes from an old use to a new one. Several waterfront areas are developed as Fjord City in Oslo which changes the waterfront areas in the city from industrial use into a residential, commercial and recreational area (Nordregio 2020). Another example of a new sustainable residential district is Buckow in Berlin, containing energy-efficient buildings, a large landscape park, limited car traffic, a close network of pedestrian and cycle paths, parking spaces for car sharing, and charging spaces for electric cars.

Most of the cities have the goal to become carbon neutral in 2050, except Copenhagen, which is aiming to be the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. Amsterdam will permit only emission-free vehicles in the city centre in 2030. Berlin limits currently the access to inner city only for low-emission cars. The share of public transportation is already relatively high in all the cities, and in Oslo the number of trips using public transport has increased by 63 percent during the past ten years. The share of private cars is in most cities around 30% of all the trips. Amsterdam, Oslo and Copenhagen have also set the same goal to move into carbon-free public transportation in 2020s.

By 2030, 55% of the energy used in Vancouver is derived from renewable sources, and the goal is to increase the use to 100% by 2050. In Oslo most of the energy is derived from hydropower, and only small shares of wind and thermal power are used in energy production. Copenhagen is mostly based on wind energy (55%) and the share of biomass is 18%, coal 17% and gas 6%. Berlin faces the biggest challenges in the use of renewable energy, because in 2015 only 4% was based on renewable sources and the goal for 2033 is 65% of energy production from renewable sources.

Comparing international examples in Metropolia

A similar assignment was given to the students of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, in the course Towards sustainable society. Student groups had free hands to select interesting or important sustainability issues. The chosen cities were Vancouver, Amsterdam, Singapore, Melbourne and the commune of Ii in Finland.

The findings were very similar to the ones presented above. Vancouver and Copenhagen have quite similar sustainability priorities and activities, while Singapore and Melbourne, much bigger cities, and located in different geographies, show other concerns, e.g. water supply and green buildings. Many student groups highlighted city actions to improve urban air quality and waste management, including circular economy and waste to energy solutions. Additional sustainability topics brought up by the student groups included climate change mitigation, political decision-making, housing, culture, education and healthcare.

Municipality of Ii, with a population of 10 000, stands in stark contrast with the big cities. Ii has won acclaim for its climate action, waste management, and community participation. Ii shares the notion observed in all forerunners: they have far more ambitious sustainable strategies, and faster and more effective actions than those of national or federal governments.

Unpredictable challenges of urbanisation

The Finnish context of living has lately strongly concentrated in urbanization, but in the light of the recent global pandemic, as a phenomenon the attitude towards urbanization might change, at least for a while, from mostly positive to more skeptical (see also Rosling, Rosling & Rönnlund 2019). The vulnerability of the densely built areas seems obvious, not only to natural disasters and climate change but also to health issues. Obviously the scale of urbanization in Finland is very different from the Central European context, and especially from the most growing mega cities and regions in Asian countries, which are anticipated to dominate the future urbanization. Although attention was paid to bigger cities in this context, it is obvious that also villages and rural localities have strengths as sustainable communities, and there is a need to look closer at them in the future.

As the COVID-19 pandemic impacts densely populated urban areas most, there might be a need to redefine the sub-goals of SDG 11. Health-related hazards might be added to sub-goal 11.5, which now concentrates on natural disasters. The role of cities in achieving SDG3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; especially sub-goals 3.3 and 3B, C and D) should also be strengthened.

Authors

Eeva Aarrevaara, LAB University of Applied Sciences, Principal lecturer, DSc (Arch.), eeva.aarrevaara(at)lab.fi

Pentti Viluksela, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Principal lecturer, DSc (Tech.), pentti.viluksela(at)metropolia.fi


Helsingin kaupunki. (2019). Uutta Helsinkiä. Available at: https://www.uuttahelsinkia.fi/fi. [accessed 15 September 2019].

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland. (2020). Growth agreements.. Available at: https://tem.fi/en/growth-agreements . [accessed 29th March 2020]

Ministry of the Environment. (2020). Agreements on land use, housing and transport. Available at: https://www.ym.fi/en-US/Land_use_and_building/Steering_of_land_use_planning/Landuse_housing_and_transport_letters_of_intent [accessed 29th March 2020].

Nordregio. (2020). Fjord City: A waterfront urban renewal project. Available at: https://nordregio.org/sustainable_cities/fjordbyen/ [accessed 1 April 2020].

Ponto, H., Kuhmonen, H.-M. & Osenius, J. (Eds.). (2018). Keskustelunavauksia alueiden Suomeen. Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland. Raportti 23/2018. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-327-315-3

Rosling, H., Rosling, O. & Rosling Rönnlund, A. (2019). Faktojen maailma. Keuruu: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava.

Sitoumus 2050. (2020). Available at https://www.sitoumus2050.fi/en_US/web/sitoumus2050/home#/ [accessed 4 April 2020].

United Nations. (2020). Sustainable Development Goal 11 – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg11 [accessed 4 April 2020].

Vatilo, M. (2018). Presentation in RASTI seminar.

Promoting sustainability by using collaboration tools

Author: Liisa Routaharju.

According to the Finnish Environment Institute, a bulk of each Finns carbon footprint is caused by travel. A very simple and effective way of reducing this is reducing the need to travel. One method for achieving this is organizing meetings with the help of collaboration tools that allow discussion, sharing material and content via an internet connection and require no travel. While it’s true that an online meeting doesn’t allow for all the casual interaction of a real life meeting, the benefits have been argued to outweigh the disadvantages.

Kilometers not driven and emissions not discharged

This paper discusses the aspects of online meetings as replacements of face-to-face ones from the perspective of the Circular Economy UAS project. The project begun in April of 2018 with 19 Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) joining forces to promote and develop circular economy education in Finland. The work was organized into four working packets, each with a specific focus. My example is that of South-Eastern University of Applied Sciences. Each UAS in the project has allocated work to the different work packets differently, so these estimations do not apply to any other UAS. All the calculations are based on the 41 online meetings attended during year 2019.

Work packet meetings were organized by different UAS representatives around Finland. Typically a meeting would be held at the home location of an organization responsible for arranging it. Instead of calculating the actual distance not traveled, an example of all meetings organized in Helsinki was used, so the distance to each was about 230 km one way. By car (depending on vehicle, this calculation is made using emissions 108 gCO2/km) this would mean over two million grams of CO2 not emitted during year 2019. It is only fair to compare this number to the emissions of train travel, as longer distances are likely to be traveled by train. According to BBC average passenger train emissions are 41g CO2/km, which would amount to emissions of 773 260g CO2. Point here is, that even that amount of emissions was made unnecessary by the use of collaboration tools.

Time not spent traveling

Typical duration of an online meeting was one to two hours, yet with travel time a meeting in Helsinki would take a day’s worth of working hours. Train travel would allow working while traveling, so the meeting would probably not be the only productive activity that day. Online meetings, however, allow several meetings during the same day, even in different locations.

A clear benefit of online meetings is risk reduction. Personal ergonomics aside, the risks exposed to while traveling are likely to be higher than those exposed to at the comfort of your office or home. As I’m writing this, online meetings have become the new normal due to the restrictions set to limit the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even those of us previously reluctant to participate online meetings are forced to look for ways to collaborate without meeting in person. Could something good come out of this? Could this be the thrust we need to accept the inevitable change?

Author

Liisa Routaharju, Master of Engineering, Senior Lecturer, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, liisa.routaharju(at)xamk.fi


BBC website at https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49349566, read on 11.3.2020

Circular Economy UAS website at https://kiertotalousamk.turkuamk.fi/circular-economy-competence-uas/, read on 23.4.2020

Finnish Environment Institute website at https://www.syke.fi/en-US/Current/Carbon_footprint_of_Finnish_household_co(55211) , read 11.3.2020

Abstracts 2/2020

Editorial: Universities of Applied Sciences promote ecological sustainability in various ways

Eveliina Asikainen, Lecturer, School of Professional Teacher Education, Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Tove Tove Holm, PhD, Coodinator, The Baltic Sea Challenge, the City of Turku, Associate researcher, University of Gävle

Sustainable development was first defined in the UN Brundtland Commission in 1987. That initiated a process that has advanced both globally and nationally, as well as governmentally and in various sectors in the society (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987).

In Finland, sustainable development has been advanced since 1993, when the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development was established first in the world. In addition to the government, the members of the commission represent a broad spectrum of sectors and stakeholders in our society. The commission started its work by defining sustainable development as follows: ”Sustainable development is a globally, regionally and locally ongoing process of continuous and targeted change in society. It aims at safeguarding opportunities for a good life to the current and future generations.” (Prime Minister’s Office, n.d.)

Sustainable development goals have changed and become more specific. In 2015, United Nations Sustainable Development Summit and the member states including Finland adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda includes 17 different goals that are related to sustainable development (Sustainable Development Goal, SDG), many of which are about ecological sustainability, specifically the goals clean water and sanitation (6), climate action (13), life below water (14) and life on land (15). Further, goals about industry, innovation, and infrastructure (9), sustainable cities and communities (11), as well as responsible consumption and production (12) have a strong implication of ecological sustainability.

In the past decades, a growing number of universities have centralised their teaching and research activities towards sustainable development solutions, especially in their local communities. To promote such centralisation, transitional phases are needed in all actions: curricula, contents of the study modules and pedagogy, administration of the campuses, and research and work in the society (Asikainen et al., 2017; Holm et al., 2016). At present, universities are also supported by the definition of policy in sustainable development by the Ministry of Education and Culture. One goal in this policy is to strengthen research, development, and innovation activities’ support in fulfilling the 2030 Agenda goals. (Ministry of Education and Culture, 2020).

The articles and other texts in this themed issue present versatilely the actions of the universities of applied sciences in promoting sustainable development, through various practical implementations in education, projects and collaboration with enterprises. We will briefly present how the texts relate to the duties of the universities of applied sciences (Ammattikorkeakoululaki, 2014) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The authors present their views on how the education in universities of applied sciences could more strongly promote ecologically sustainable development. Niemi outlines a model for curriculum of ecologically sustainable development for universities of applied sciences. Konst & Scheinin’s view is that education should be based on a sustainable framework and value basis. Laine et al. present various learning environments in circular economy, and Virta et al. various ways to bring the circular economy knowhow from universities of applied sciences to students in the secondary level education. In addition to these articles, education is seen as part of the solution in many of the texts in this issue.

Ecologically sustainable development can also be emphasised in the RDI activities of the universities of applied sciences. Research strategies, cooperation and the level of efficiency are clearly present in the texts by Mishra et al. and Kostia et al. The texts by Hendriksson et al. and Maljamäki provide good examples of local development and innovation projects covering efficient use of resources (SDGs 9, 11 and 12). Kallio & Asikainen and Savela & Keinänen-Toivola present education and development projects promoting ecological sustainability in Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as in southern Africa.

The relationship between sustainable development and digitalisation is complicated. In their article, Salminen & Ruotsalainen combine pedagogical development with reducing the negative environmental effects of digital services by companies. Asad & Andersson outline possibilities to use artificial intelligence in sorting plastic waste.

Climate actions (SDG 13) are very clearly present in the texts of this themed issue. For instance, Kujala & Lindgren cover climate actions from the point of view of making the carbon footprint in sustainable construction and housing smaller. Clean water and sanitation (6) goal is covered by Kääriä et al. in their article describing the collaboration between the city of Turku and the Turku University of Applied Sciences, as well as by Viskari & Kämäri who dismantle the beliefs regarding human-waste-based nutrients in cultivation. Aarrevaara & Viluksela’s article deals with promoting goal 11, sustainable cities and communities by means of education.

Several articles also deal with responsible consumption and production goal (12), which aims at diminishing the ecological footprint by changing ways of consuming and producing goods. Renfors & Ruoho present a training programme where the promoting business is strongly tied to promoting sustainable development. Heikkilä & Lindell cover the same topic in food services.

Responsible consumption and climate actions relate to promoting sustainable development in universities of applied sciences in various ways. Puukko & Tyni describe the starting points on the programme of sustainable development in Lapland University of Applied Sciences. Puurula presents the climate actions at Häme University of Applied Sciences and communicating it. Routaharju and Laasasenaho & Routaharju have calculated practical examples of how universities of applied sciences have diminished their emissions through changes in everyday practices. Haapasalo deals with universities of applied sciences promoting sustainable travelling, and Vuoksi reflects sustainable solutions in common spaces.

In its entirety, this themed issue provides a versatile sample of the work made in the universities of applied sciences in promoting ecologically sustainable development broadmindedly. The texts now published bring us hope and courage that, despite the circumstances, the universities of applied sciences are building a sustainable future.

Asikainen, E., Hellman, S., Parjanen, L., Puputti, M., Raatikainen, S & Schroderus, M. (2017). Unipoli Green—Four Universities. Working Together for Sustainability. In W. Leal Filho, M. Mifsud, C. Shiel & R. Pretorius (Eds.), Handbook of Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development in Higher Education (pp. 257–273). Springer, Berlin.

Holm, T., Sammalisto, K., Caeiro, S., Rieckmann, M., Dlouhá, J., Wright, T., Ceulemans, K., Benayash, J. & Lozano, R. (2016). Developing sustainability into a golden thread throughout all levels of education. Journal of Cleaner Production 117, (20), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.01.016

Ministry of Education and Culture. (2020). Education and Culture and its administrative branch. Publications of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland 2020:11. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-263-706-2

Prime Minister’s Office. (n.d.). Sustainable Development. https://kestavakehitys.fi/en/sustainable-development/approaches

Universities of Applied Sciences Act (2014). Translation from Finnish. Universities of Applied Sciences Act 932/2014. Ministry of Education and Culture. https://www.finlex.fi/en/laki/kaannokset/2014/en20140932_20160563.pdf

World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://archive.org/details/ourcommonfuture00worl

Key words: Agenda2030, education, SDG, sustainable development, RDI, university of applied sciences

Universities of applied sciences building more sustainable world of work?

Sari Niemi, M.Soc.Sc., RDI Specialist, LAB University of Applied Sciences, sari.niemi(at)lab.fi

Environmental concerns, actions against climate change, and a decrease in natural resources need to gain more recognition within the world of work. Universities of applied sciences should be an essential part of the move toward a more ecologically sustainable world of work. However, sustainability development is considered infrequently in curriculums examined in this article. Concentrating on cleantech or environmental studies is a too narrow view. In many fields of work-related soft skills, like an ability to understand and solve social problems caused by environmental problems, could advance ecological sustainability. In addition to this, more multidisciplinary studies and learning environments are needed.

Key words: curriculum, sustainable development, work-related development

Renewing higher education 5.0 – What is it about?

Taru Konst, PhD, Principal Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, taru.konst(at)turkuamk.fi
Minna Scheinin, Head of Future Learning Design, Turku University of Applied Sciences, minna.scheinin(at)turkuamk.fi

Nowadays the term Education 4.0 is widely discussed. It refers to a concept that makes us rethink learning and education to match the needs of the changing world because the traditional ways of implementing education are not enough. However, education 4.0 quite seldom discusses sustainability crisis, which can represent the biggest challenge and change maker for education in the future. In our approach we explore Education 4.0. from wider viewpoint than it is earlier done; we focus on the vision of future higher education, which aims towards sustainable future and describe the core ideas of this vision.

We argue that not a single educational institution has yet redesigned its pedagogical approach and solutions to the extent that is needed for a sustainable future. It is time to move towards ‘Education 5.0’, which incorporates all the important aims of education 4.0 and interconnects them to a sustainable framework and value basis. Sustainable future requires quick changes in mental models and actions in higher education.

Key words: higher education, education development, sustainable development, climate change, education 5.0

 

An engineer becomes enthusiastic in an innovation center

Pia Laine, M.Sc. (Food Science), Lecturer, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, pia.t.laine(at)metropolia.fi
Riitta Lehtinen, Lic.Tech., Principal Lecturer, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, riitta.lehtinen(at)metropolia.fi
Hannu Turunen, M.A., Lecturer, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, hannu.turunen(at)metropolia.fi
Antti Tohka, Lic.Tech., innovaatiojohtaja, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, antti.tohka(at)metropolia.fi

Last autumn Metropolia’s students in Myyrmäki got extremely excited about the opening of Urban Farm Lab (UFL) in the Campus. The target of UFL is to develop in-door food production. There were a lot of questions how to get om board. The teachers answered by organizing assignments about this issue into their courses and created different UFL project works. Also, many students made their practical training period in UFL’s companies’ development work. All together more than 200 students carried out their studies in this learning platform in autumn 2019.

Key words: Innovation Center, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Urban Farm Lab

 

Experts on circular economy are made today

Marketta Virta, M.A., B.Eng., Project Specialist, Turku University of Applied Sciences, marketta.virta(at)turkuamk.fi
Ella Rasimus, Student Assistant, Student of energy and environmental technology, Project Specialist, Turku University of Applied Sciences, ella.rasimus(at)turkuamk.fi
Saara Ahtaanluoma, Student Assistant, Student of energy and environmental technology, Project Specialist, Turku University of Applied Sciences, saara.ahtaanluoma(at)turkuamk.fi

If we want to change the society, education plays an important role. Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) educates future experts in circular economy. The education does not end within the walls of the university, as know-how is also shared with junior high school and high school students through the MyTech collaboration.

The main goal of the MyTech program, maintained by the Technology Industries of Finland, is to get young people interested in mathematics and science education and technology. The program includes a functional study visit to a tech company and a university. TUAS’ learning environment Circular Economy 2.0 is involved in the MyTech program to introduce young people to circular economy and climate change.

Student assistants and trainees of Circular Economy 2.0 guide approximately 5–6 MyTech visits during the semester. In many cases, MyTech teams and their teachers are inspired by the visits so that they want to continue working on the circular economy theme in their own school as well. The visits thus arouse interest in circular economy and the theme of sustainability more broadly.

Key words: circular economy, innovation pedagogy, project learning environment, technology

 

Sustainability as a driver of impact creation

Amit Kumar Mishra, PhD, Impact Leader – Emerging Technologies and 4IR, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, RDI and Business Operations, amit.india(at)gmail.com
Jaana Seikkula-Leino, PhD, Impact Leader – Future Competencies and Learning, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, RDI and Business Operations, jaana.seikkula-leino(at)tuni.fi
Eeva-Liisa Viskari, PhD, Impact Leader – Sustainability, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, RDI and Business Operations, eeva-liisa.viskari(at)tuni.fi

Key words: sustainability, impact, research, development, university of applied sciences

 

New research group wants to promote sustainability of future circular bioeconomy society

Silja Kostia, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Principal Lecturer, Ph.D., silja.kostia(at)tuni.fi
Ulla Häggblom, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Principal Lecturer, Dr. Sc. (Tech.), ulla.haggblom(at)tuni.fi
Erkki Kiviniemi, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Senior Lecturer, M.Sc. (Tech.), erkki.kiviniemi(at)tuni.fi
Mikael Lindell, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Senior Lecturer, M.Sc. (Econ.), mikael.lindell(at)tuni.fi
Riitta Vihuri, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Senior Lecturer, M.Sc. (Econ.), riitta.vihuri(at)tuni.fi
Eeva-Liisa Viskari, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Impact Leader, Ph.D., eeva-liisa.viskari(at)tuni.fi

Tampere University of Applied Sciences has established a new circular bioeconomy research group, which has a mandate to promote research, development and innovation activities in sustainable solutions and business. The research group is based on the existing expertise and research activities but wants to step into the next level by improving communication, stakeholder involvement, international partnerships and by involving new industries and challenges.

Key words: bioeconomy, business, circular economy, industry, RDI, sustainability, technology

 

Industry, tourism, green behavior – a possibility?

Katri Hendriksson, M.Sc. (Eng.), Project Manager, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, katri.hendriksson(at)lapinamk.fi
Mirva Tapaninen, Master’s Degree in Hospitality Management, Tourism, Project Manager, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, mirva.tapaninen(at)lapinamk.fi
Satu Valli, M.Sc. (Admin.), Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, satu.valli(at)lapinamk.fi

Ecological and sustainable tourism has been a great subject with tourists. Tourists can nowadays ask sustainability and responsibility where they are travelling and particularly hotels and service providers are now developing their actions. Tourism is a global business and users’ behaviour is changing to become more and more singular travelling than group travelling. Travellers are seeking now more experiences and quality.

The development of industrial tourism in the Sea Lapland region has been sought through the Consepting industrial tourism services -project, which aims to develop the region’s tourism and responsiveness to changing consumer behaviour. The project will unleash the potential of the area for networking of entrepreneurs and operators in the industry.

Key words: circular economy, industry, research and innovation activities, sustainable tourism, tourism, university of applied sciences

 

Energy efficient snow

Elisa Maljamäki, M.A. (Industrial Design), Project Planner, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, elisa.lahti(at)lapinamk.fi

In early 2020, the weather was the topic of discussion at many coffee breaks. Southern Finland had a historically warm winter, while Lapland had an extremely snowy winter. Snow plays an important role in many sports and industries. In ski resorts, however, most of the snow is man-made artificial snow. To slow down climate change, it is important that we pay attention to energy efficiency and low carbon in all areas. Also in making snow and preserving it. The Arctic Snow project promotes the energy efficiency of snow use in Lapland. The project responds proactively to snow-free autumns and winters.

Key words: , arctic area, energy efficiency, snow

 

Towards sustainable waste management in Russia and Kazakhstan

Ella Kallio, Project Manager, RDI Services, Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Eveliina Asikainen, Lecturer, School of Professional Teacher Education, Tampere University of Applied Sciences

Waste management in Russia and Kazakhstan has developed in recent years, but as the standard of living is rising waste management infrastructure needs to be developed and education in the field is needed to ensure sustainable change. The aim of EduEnvi, a three-year Erasmus+ CBHE project (2017–2020), is to build capacity in the partner universities by developing online education in Sustainable Waste Management (SWM). The three-year project has resulted in developing and piloting 20 competence-based master-level on-line courses (60 ects). During the project the Russian and Kazakh teachers have developed broader and more holistic understanding of SMW and built personal and organizational competence in on-line education. TAMK has gained valuable experience in leading challenging multicultural projects and in building sustainable societies globally. This can succeed when we value our partners’ competences, perspectives and cultures during the project.

Key words: Erasmus+, international co-operation capacity building, sustainable development, waste management

 

Sustainable business in the markets of southern Africa

Nina Savela, M.Pol.Sc., Project Researcher, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, nina.savela(at)samk.fi
Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola, PhD, Research Manager, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, minna.keinanen-toivola(at)samk.fi

Due to climate change, Southern African countries are plagued by worsening drought and other extreme weather conditions which threaten the livelihoods and living conditions of the locals. Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) has operated in Namibia since 2012 and led various projects in bringing sustainability into local practices. In SAMK’s project implementation, technologies and practices offered through the projects are not considered sufficient as such to improve local situation. They are thus planned to be supported by training and adaptation to the conditions of local societies. Working together with trusted partners has been one of the key success factors in SAMK’s project implementation. For the actors interested in implementing similar projects, mapping of the current networks both in Finland and in the target countries as well as flexibility in the project implementation play a crucial part in successful project realization.

Key words: business, cooperation, energy, Namibia, technology

 

Students and enterprises getting together in a hackathon

Risto Salminen, M.Sc. (Econ.), Project Specialist, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, risto.salminen(at)karelia.fi
Marja-Liisa Ruotsalainen, M.Sc. (Econ.), Project Specialist, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, marja-liisa.ruotsalainen(at)karelia.fi

Key words: business, energy and environmental engineering, ICT, sustainable digital services

 

Artificial intelligence for ecological sustainability – New machine learning applications for sorting of plastic waste?

Faizan Asad, M.Sc. (Tech.), Project Researcher, Arcada University of Applied Sciences/Department of Energy and Materials Technology, faizan.asad(at)arcada.fi
Mirja Andersson, D.Sc., Head of Department, Arcada University of Applied Sciences/Department of Energy and Materials Technology, mirja.andersson(at)arcada.fi

The year 2020 has brought great sustainability challenges as the world is facing the pandemics of COVID-19, that has been causing great suffering in term of loss of lives and financial incomes. Artificial intelligence (later AI) is helping to present smart solutions for prevention and diagnosis of this new virus (Alimadadi et al. 2020). However, AI is not going to solve the problem itself, it would need creative and inventive approaches from humans (Hollister 2020). AI is still, after ca. 30 years of existing, an emerging field with great potential to help in globally shared challenges in ecological sustainability such as fighting the climate change, preserving biodiversity and healthy oceans, securing clean water and air, and in being resilient in conditions of extreme weather and disasters (World Economic Forum 2018). Integration of AI / machine learning into systems of plastic recycling, and by that helping the cause of ecological sustainability, could result in innovative and smart solutions too.

Arcada University of Applied Sciences participated during 2014-2016 in a national strategic research program, Material Value Chains (in Finnish Materiaalien Arvovirrat, later ARVI) financed by The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (currently known as Business Finland, previously TEKES) together with nearly 30 organisations including universities, research institutes and companies. The objective of the ARVI research program was to build a mutual understanding of future business opportunities related to recycling of materials, as well as required know-how and abilities for their utilisation. This interdisciplinary research program offered a unique opportunity for Finnish industry and research institutes to carry out long-term strategic research cooperation and launch the circular economy nationally in the field of plastic recycling and waste management (Clic Innovation 2017).

Recycling of plastic waste, even in Finland with well-developed waste management system, would still require more resources (YLE News 2020). To continue our previous applied research work with plastic recycling (Mylläri et al. 2016; Clic Innovation 2017; Andersson et al. 2018; Jönkkäri et al. 2020) as well as our development work with ecological sustainability themes in engineering education (Andersson and Makkonen-Craig 2017), we are launching a new research aim to explore the improvement of sorting processes through suitable applications of AI and machine learning together with collaborating universities and companies. In this article we will briefly introduce this aim by reviewing the current knowledge and status around the topic.

Key words: artificial intelligence, ecological sustainability, machine learning, plastic recycling

 

The future house is energy-efficient with a small carbon footprint

Mari Kujala, M.Sc. (Tech.), Lecturer, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, mari.kujala(at)samk.fi
Sanna Lindgren, Project employee, Student of HPAC technology, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, sanna.k.lindgren(at)samk.fi

Four biggest actions impacting to the carbon footprint are housing, eating, moving and using different services and goods (WWF’s webpage). Building the house and energy consumption is included in housing. The planning phase solutions can have an influence on the carbon footprint of the whole life circle and energy consumption of the building.

Satakunta University of Applied Sciences had a two-year initiative for Low Carbon Solutions in Zero Energy Building, Vähä0, which ended in the summer of 2019. The main objective was to generate information about the impact of various building materials and energy options on the energy-efficient construction and the carbon footprint of the building. The study used detached houses in Pori’s 2018 housing fairground as pilot sites.

In the summer of 2020, the new EU-funded KOHISTEN – Towards Carbon Neutral Construction Project in Satakunta will be launched at SAMK. The main objective of the project is to instill the competence of carbon footprint calculations into businesses in the region and to promote energy-efficient construction and housing in Satakunta.

Key words: carbon footprint, carbon handprint, construction technology, energy efficiency

 

Water protection co-operation between a city and a university

Juha Kääriä, PhD, Manager of Climate Affairs, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Business, juha.kaaria(at)turkuamk.fi
Piia Leskinen, PhD, Research Group Leader, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Business, piia.leskinen(at)turkuamk.fi
Tove Holm, PhD, Coodinator, The Baltic Sea Challenge, the City of Turku, Associate researcher, University of Gävle, tove.holm@turku.fi

The vision of the Baltic Sea Challenge (between the Cities of Turku and Helsinki) is a clean, productive and shared Baltic Sea. In the action plan period 2019–2023, the more precise objectives of the Baltic Sea Challenge continue to be consistent with e.g. the EU’s Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and other relevant strategies in international, national and local level. The goals of the Baltic Sea Challenge have also been considered actively in the strategies of the city-owned companies like Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS). TUAS has actively planned and implemented projects related to water protection together with the City of Turku. Topics of co-operation have included management of nutrients in stormwater and agricultural runoff, actions for reducing hazardous substances in wastewater, biological surveys, monitoring of water quality and making different restoration and protection plans. In this paper we describe some of the fruitful case studies implemented in collaboration between the city and the university. Both argue that the cooperation has been profitable.

Key words: cooperation, Baltic Sea Challenge, Baltic Sea, City of Turku, Turku University of Applied Sciences, water protection

 

The unbearable sustainability of recycling wastewater sludges

Eeva-Liisa Viskari, PhD, Impact Leader, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, eeva-liisa.viskari(at)tuni.fi
Tiiti Kämäri, M.Sc. (Agriculture and Forestry), Part-time teacher, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, tiiti.kamari(at)tuni.fi

Finnish communities produce about 0,7 million tons of sewage sludges containing about 26 % of the phosphorus and 2,4 % of the nitrogen that are used in agriculture annually. Current legislation allows the use of sludge-based fertilizer products in agriculture and research results indicate that the use of them does not pose risk to human or environmental health. There is, however, a strong opposition against the use of sludge-based fertilization for example by the Finnish grain crop buyers, which is based on the potential risk that these products might cause. There is a contradiction between research results and deeply entrenched attitudes. In order to promote sustainable nutrient reuse, objective discussion and awareness raising is needed to avoid overlooking the nutrient potential of different organic fertilizers. Universities and research institutions need to take leading role in this process.

Key words: environmental engineering, fertilization, micropollutants, wastewater, wastewater sludge

 

Sustainable community – utopia of our time?

Eeva Aarrevaara, DSc(Arch), Principal lecturer, LAB University of Applied Sciences, eeva.aarrevaara(at)lab.fi
Pentti Viluksela, DSc(Tech), Principal lecturer, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, pentti.viluksela(at)metropolia.fi

Sustainability of cities and communities has just recently become a major issue considering the impact of the globally spreading COVID-19 pandemia. This was not anticipated when a learning package considering sustainable communities was started to prepare last year. Health issues are not even very clearly articulated in the particular sustainability development goal considering the communities. However, the material aiming to deconstruct main features of sustainable communities opens challenging viewpoints especially when comparing solutions of different international cities. This material was produced to benefit all universities of applied sciences in circular economy education.

Key words: forerunner city, sustainable community, urbanization

 

Green Entrepreneurs Flourish by Cultivating Business Skills

Sanna-Mari Renfors, PhD, Researching Principal Lecturer, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, sanna-mari.renfors(at)samk.fi
Jaana Ruoho, M.Sc.(Econ.), Lecturer, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, jaana.ruoho(at)samk.fi

Green entrepreneurs need skills to respond to consumers’ demand for natural, healthy and ecological products and services and to develop their entrepreneurship in accordance to their own values in a sustainable way. Therefore, an Interreg Central Baltic project was launched aiming at support the growth and competitiveness of green entrepreneurship and green business as emerging sectors. The key skills were identified by interviewing various stakeholders and the identified skills were turned into training programme contents. The new training programme consists of eight modules: green entrepreneurship, green consumerism, value-added product development, consumer communication, supply chain as well as brand and quality management, and exports. It can be concluded that when developing a training programme for green entrepreneurs, it is also crucial to consider skills related to sustainable development and frame the program with sustainability values.

Key words: green entrepreneurship, skills development, sustainable development

 

Sustainable business in food services

Tuija Heikkilä, M.A., Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, tuija.heikkila(at)tuni.fi
Mikael Lindell, M.Sc. (Econ.), Coach, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, mikael.lindell(at)tuni.fi

The food production is the significant cause of climate effects. Because the logistic pro-cess of the food production is often long and complex, the emissions will be created at se-veral stages of the business. The emissions can be reduced with many different methods. When examining the value chain of the ecological business, one can state that even the small measures can have a big effect on the wholeness.

Tampere University of Applied Sciences has been developing the future food services of Särkänniemi area along in the Sustainable Tourism Hub project with a theme Zero Carbon Food Chains. The general goal of the project is to draw up the sustainability road map to the area of Särkänniemi. Central results from TAMK’s part are examined in the article and also Food Market 2.0 business model is demonstrated.

Key words: business model, food services, sustainability, zero carbon

 

Footsteps towards sustainable actions in the Lapland University of Appliec Sciences

Saila Puukko, M.Ed., Coordinator of Sustainable Development, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, saila.puukko(at)lapinamk.fi
Sanna Tyni, PhD, Senior Specialist, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, sanna.tyni(at)lapinamk.fi

Sustainable development and circular economy have become major themes globally. Finland has been one of the pioneers, particularly in the field of bio- and circular economy. Educational organisations have played a key role when implementing sustainable development and circular economy know-how to the labour market.

The key strategic goals of Lapland University of Applied Sciences are the intelligent use of natural resources and distance management. The integration of the bio and circular economy into our activities started a conversation of our organisation sustainability level. In 2019 organisation launched the creation of sustainable development action plan.

Elaboration of sustainable development action plan showed that theme is closely linked to education and RDI. Though, from the organisation point of view it was discovered that clear indicators and measures were missing. The first Sustainable Development Program for Lapland UAS was drawn up for the years 2020-2022, and will be updated annually.

Key words: circular economy, education, research and innovation activities, sustainable development, university of applied sciences

 

Can the universities of applied sciences communicate on their climate action?

Juuso Puurula, Student of Sustainable Development, Häme University of Appliec Sciences, juuso.puurula(at)hamk.fi

Accelerated by the ongoing climate discussion universities of applied sciences have taken measures to reduce their emissions and become more sustainable. But in a research conducted of the climate actions taken by higher education institutes (HEIs), universities seemed to be more open on their work in sustainability. As a result of this informational bias universities seem more willing to take actively part in reducing emissions and becoming sustainable than their counterparts, the universities of applied sciences. Action needs to be taken, so that the role of the universities of applied sciences in climate action is appraised.

Key words: climate action, climate change, communications, higher education institutes, sustainable development

 

Promoting sustainability by using collaboration tools

Liisa Routaharju, Master of Engineering, Senior Lecturer, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, liisa.routaharju(at)xamk.fi

Online meetings promoted sustainability even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Use of collaboration tools in working life has increased rapidly as it has been realized that online meetings save time and the environment. A simplified calculation reveals that online meetings can help also promote sustainability by reducing travel related emissions.

Key words: collaboration tools, sustainability, online meetings, environmental engineering

 

COVID-19 reduces the emissions of universities of applied sciences

Kari Laasasenaho, PhD, RDI Specialist, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, kari.laasasenaho(at)seamk.fi
Liisa Routaharju, M.Eng. Lecturer, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, liisa.routaharju(at)xamk.fi

COVID-19 has had a major impact on the everyday life at universities of applied sciences (UAS). The transition to distance learning and work has significantly reduced travel, printouts and physical meetings at UASs. This will inevitably also have an impact on the emissions. For example, there has been a clear reduction in work related travel and printouts at Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (SeAMK) and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (XAMK). Many UASs have set carbon neutrality targets and the current circumstances provide a setting of considering tools used to solve environmental problems. It is therefore essential to consider how emission reductions can be supported, when the corona crisis is over.

Key words: circular economy, climate change, Covid-19, sustainable development, university of applied sciences

 

Sustainable ways of travelling – all the way there

Kaija Haapasalo, M.Sc.(Econ.), Lecturer, Project Manager, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, kaija.haapasalo(at)metropolia.fi

The Last Mile project (9/2017–3/2020) brought together citizens, local authorities, universities, and mobility and tourism companies to find smarter and sustainable ways of travelling to workplaces, residential areas and places of interest. New market-driven mobility services were developed and tested to increase the attractiveness of public transport, find smart new ways of travelling within the metropolitan area and to generate business from mobility solutions, cut car use and promote a low-carbon economy. Last Mile identified the mobility needs of different target groups and met them by piloting 19 mobility services which improved the accessibility in and around the Helsinki metropolitan area (Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa). These included e.g. sea and land transport sharing, bike-rental concepts, audio and digital guided routes, peer-to-peer sea transport rental services, regional mobility and parking solutions. The project involved altogether approx. 200 businesses and organizations. During the project over 40 studies, development projecst and publications were completed.

Key words: business, carsharing, cycling, drivesharing, lastmile, MaaS, mobility, shared economy, smart mobility

 

Sustainable choices in common spaces require imagination

Anne-Mari Vuoksi, BBA, Project employee, anne-mari.vuoksi(at)xamk.fi

Key words: multifunctional space, recycling, sustainability

Creative Entrepreneurship in the Arctic

Author: Anzelika Krastina.

Entrepreneurship is no longer just an option, but vital for the survival and development of the Arctic regions. The Fourth Industrial Revolution comes with benefits as well as with the threats, such as job losses, climate change and globalisation. These are just few factors that clearly indicate that the world is changing rapidly, and the job and work environment in the 21st century differs from that of the 20th century. Being entrepreneurial is a decisive factor of current national and global economy, it is a new source of innovation for our societies and economies. It is even more relevant to the circumstances of the Arctic regions. Lapland region in Finland belongs to the so-called Arctic circumpolar region and shares common challenges with other Arctic regions, which among others are about cold climate, direct effects of climate change, long distances between settlements, scarce population, economy domination by heavy industries and urgent need for diversification of local economies. Therefore, entrepreneurship is considered as a solution to many socio-economic challenges in the region and education institutions. Lapland University of Applied Sciences takes this factor into account, incorporating entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial attitude development in the strategy of education development.

The importance of entrepreneurship development and education in the circles of regional development in Lapland was in particular recognised soon after the global crisis of 2008. Moreover, in the cross-border cooperation forums in the Barents Euro Arctic Region, stakeholders raised the issue of young people leaving the northern regions for better economic opportunities in the south and the need to find solutions that would reverse the flow of migration. As a rule, it was mostly educated young capital that was a big loss to the region. Having similar challenges in Arctic regions in Europe, many stakeholders, including regional authorities, universities, local communities and activists came to a common vision to enhance entrepreneurship among young people and local communities. (Arctic Smart Rural Community , 2019). Lapland University of Applied Sciences played a big role in further initiatives and endeavours (Lapinamk, 2019).

Creative entrepreneurship is an approach for developing the Arctic. Taking into account specific circumstances of the region, one can realise that traditional entrepreneurship approach cannot be the most suitable way for the purposes of entrepreneurial development in the region. Arctic region cannot be compared to the regions such as Silicon Valley in the USA or many regions in central Europe with condensed population of networked entrepreneurship, investment and society. What is the advantage of the northern European or Arctic regions in Europe, is certainly its human capital. The entire Circumpolar Arctic is well covered with educational institutions producing highly educated human capital across the Arctic. Most importantly, there is a great platform for interacting across the Arctic among the institutes in the form of one network under the umbrella of the University of the Arctic. Also called UArctic, it is a cooperative network of about 200 network universities, colleges, research institutes concerned with education and research in and about the North (University of the Arctic, 2019).

Creative approach to entrepreneurship development can be reflected through the experiences of various national, regional, cross-border and international projects and initiatives. The projects and initiatives have different scope, aim and context, but however, there will never be the same repetitive approach. Each of the initiatives is searching for a new innovative way to approach the matter of entrepreneurship development. What is most important, these activities are not taking place somewhere on the side, but are directly integrated with the educational processes at the university. Entrepreneurship education is nowadays directly incorporated with the curriculum and education offered at the Lapland UAS and partner educational institutions. In order to better illustrate creative and innovative ways of entrepreneurship development facilitation, several initiatives are introduced below.

Northern Stars – Creative Entrepreneurship in the North

The so called “Northern Stars”  seminar evolved as a student project into a large international seminar aiming to disclose the challenges and opportunities for the entrepreneurship in the north and to encourage entrepreneurship among young people. As a rule, it combines key-note presentations, success and failure stories by entrepreneurs from the Arctic region and in addition a variety of innovation workshops. The 2017 seminar was a great success when all the 200 seats and every single staircase were taken by the audience, which marked the interest and growth of the event from 30 participants from the starting year in 2011 when the initial event was called “Strengthening the North – Let’s stay here”. It was the initiative of the students to discuss the ways on how to motivate young people to find good opportunities in the north instead of moving to the south.

InnoBarentsLab – ”a safe place to fail”

Initially, the lab was created as a platform and environment for young people to develop and test their business ideas with the assistance of business coaches. Currently the activities of the lab have a focus on the so called impact entrepreneurship, sustainable solutions for the Arctic communities and social entrepreneurship. “Breaking the Ice” was a project created by students to help the integration of immigrants into the local Lapland community. “Give back to Finland” was a student project by foreign students, who felt a gratitude towards the state in Finland for a great education and opportunities. The activities of the project included events in the elderly homes, kindergartens, hospitals with the performances and different cultural events. Currently the challenges of climate change and in particular, the actions needed for sustainable Arctic development are the core of the innovation lab.

Creative Steps 2.0 methodology to facilitate innovations across the borders

Challenges of a more globalised world, current working environments and changing nature of business in the context of Arctic region livelihoods requires a creative and innovative mind-set and ability to work across distances, which could be done with the use of modern technologies. Within the project Creative Momentum, co-founded by the EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (2015–2018), a group of experts was working on developing such a collaborative innovation model for the actors or businesses from creative industries across the north of Europe. Even though the world nowadays is filled with a variety of innovation methodologies and tools, it was difficult to find a suitable solution when it comes to online collaboration. An innovation workshop called Creative Steps 2.0 was created as a response to the named challenges. In practice, the participants involved collaborate online on distance and create new products, services, or innovate entire business models. Creative Steps 2.0 model is also a response to the need to develop education and training methods that will encourage entrepreneurship and the networking of companies in remote Northern European regions.

The Creative Steps 2.0 (CS 2.0) innovation workshop model is not a typical business development and innovation workshop and can be considered as an innovation result of a Creative Momentum project. It is distinguished from many other innovation workshops for the following reasons. First, the CS 2.0 methodology aims to enhance cross-border collaboration and interaction between businesses and students with the help of coaches and external experts. Second, the CS 2.0 methodology aims to encourage the use of digital tools for better online and distance collaboration. Third, it offers simple patterns of activities (ten steps) that help all participants in the workshop to progress in their work from one step to another with clear tasks and outcomes. Therefore, it serves as a guideline process for participants in various entrepreneurship development situations. Such business development process seems to be in particular suitable when the businesses in creative sector are engaged with multidisciplinary student teams.

According to the participants during the project, cooperation and working over distance is certainly a business trend that has already emerged. It has been noticed that the use of online tools among small creative businesses and young start-ups is not yet a daily routine, neither are they used as effectively by students or academics. Therefore, the workshops were a great opportunity to test various online tools for digital cooperation and to enhance digital ability, which is extremely important for all participants: businesses, companies and also future education. Online working, as a part of the workshops, proved to all participants that distance is not an obstacle. When an entrepreneur from Finland is meeting with an entrepreneur from Northern Ireland even online and co-operating with a creative student team again in a different location, it can produce really great results. (Creative Steps 2.0, 2019)

Apart from the mentioned creative entrepreneurship development initiatives, there are many other projects taking place, such as Arctic Valley business simulation game, Arctic Youth Forum, Arctic Business Dating match-making events, SMART practice or so-called integrated purpose-driven practical training and Entrepreneurship path integration into education which gives the opportunity to students and many others to engage with entrepreneurial experiences. Actual outcomes of all these initiatives need to be assessed in more detail, however, the proof of positive outcomes already now can be measured with many new start-ups and increased confidence about the entrepreneurship as a possible alternative for a career choice among young people in the Arctic regions.

Author

Anzelika Krastina, M.Ed., Senior Lecturer, International coordinator, School of Northern Well-being and Services, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, anzelika.krastina(at)lapinamk.fi


Arctic Smart Rural Community. 2019. https://arcticsmartness.eu/arctic-smart-rural-community/, retrieved 15.10.2019

Creative Steps 2.0. responds to the challenges of a globalised world. MyCreativeEdge project. https://mycreativeedge.eu/deep-in-thought-item/creative-steps-2-0-responds-to-the-challenges-of-a-globalised-world/ , retrieved 15.10.2019

InnoBarentsLab. 2019. http://www.innobarentslab.org/, retrieved 10.10.2019

Lapinamk. 2019. https://www.lapinamk.fi/en/Who-we-are , retrieved 12.10.2019

Northern Stars Seminar https://www.facebook.com/northernstarsseminar/ retrieved 15.10.2019

University of the Arctic. 2019. https://www.uarctic.org/, retrieved 10.10.2019

Blueprint for a training program on business opportunity recognition in SDGs

Kirjoittajat: Minna-Maari Harmaala & Hanna Harilainen.

As a part of a larger research and development project, we aim to create a training program for both businesses and higher education institutions on effective business opportunity recognition in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Achieving the SDGs could create 380 million jobs and unlock €10 trillion in business opportunities. Business leaders are called to develop new directions to embrace an economic model which is low-carbon, environmentally sustainable, and turn poverty, inequality and lack of financial access into new market opportunities for “smart, progressive, profit-oriented companies”. The SDGs offer a compelling growth strategy for businesses. The abundance inherent in SDGs will not materialize without private companies who would seize the market opportunities they open up. (Business and Sustainable Development Commission, 2017).

Higher education institutions of business and management play a key role in the training of future leaders. According to recent research (SDG Accord Annual Report, 2018), 40% of university students have heard of the SDGs and know what they are about, 32% have heard of them but do not know what they are about, and 25% say they have never heard of SDGs. The majority (91%) agreed that sustainable development should be actively incorporated in all universities and colleges.

Business opportunity recognition

Theoretical perspectives of explaining the entrepreneurial behavior of business opportunity recognition, such as causation, effectuation (Sarasvathy, 2001) and entrepreneurial bricolage (Baker & Nelson, 2005) show that there are various routes to recognizing business opportunities in the environment. The traditional model or perspective of entrepreneurship, or “causation”, posits that the entrepreneur decides on a predetermined goal and then selects between means to achieve that goal (Sarasvathy, 2001). Causation draws on economic thinking to describe how an entrepreneurial action is taken and relies heavily on advance planning. (Fisher 2012). Effectuation as an explanation to the entrepreneurial process emerged from studies of the decision making process in uncertain operating environments. Effectuation explains the entrepreneurial process of starting new business activities, taking risks (affordable loss) and adaption to changes in the environment. Learning by doing and continuous learning is an integral part of the effectuation process. (Sarasvathi, 2001). Baker and Nelson (2005) found that “companies engaging in bricolage refuse to enact the limitations imposed by dominant definitions of resource environments” and thus they argue that on understanding entrepreneurial behavior, a constructivist approach to resource environments is more fruitful than objectivist views. In contrast to the causation approach, in this model the entrepreneur relies on radical experimentation and solves problems as they arise instead of rigorous planning.

George et al (2016) synthesized the opportunity recognition literature. Their framework (Figure 1) suggests that influencing factors (prior knowledge, social capital, cognition, environmental conditions, entrepreneurial alertness, and systematic search) are related to opportunity discovery and/or creation, which leads the individual to evaluate and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities.

Figure 1. The opportunity recognition framework (adapted from George et al. 2016, 338).
Figure 1. The opportunity recognition framework (adapted from George et al. 2016, 338).

Sustainable business opportunity recognition

Sustainable entrepreneurship is viewed as considering a triple bottom line approach of people, planet and profit introduced originally by Elkington (1994, 1997). In this respect, sustainable entrepreneurship considers the creation of environmental and social value alongside and equally importantly as the creation of financial profit.

Patzelt and Shepherd (2011) argue that merely entrepreneurial knowledge and economic motivation are insufficient in explaining sustainable business opportunity recognition. They introduce a model that considers knowledge of the natural/ communal environment, motivation, perception of threat to the natural/communal environment and altruism alongside entrepreneurial knowledge as determining factors in the recognition of sustainable business opportunities. These key determinants are depicted in figure 2.

Figure 2. A model of recognition of sustainable development opportunities (Patzelt & Shepherd, 2011).
Figure 2. A model of recognition of sustainable development opportunities (Patzelt & Shepherd, 2011).

It seems that the greater the existing knowledge of the natural and/or communal environment is, the greater the likelihood that the entrepreneur will pursue sustainable business opportunities (Patzelt & Shepherd 2011, Hart 2005, Prahalad 2010). Further, it seems that knowledge of the existing natural or societal challenges, combined with a high degree of entrepreneurial knowledge makes this connection stronger and further facilitates the sustainable business opportunity recognition. The entrepreneurial knowledge alone is not sufficient to recognize sustainable business opportunities but knowledge of the natural/communal environment, perception of threat, motivation and altruism are further needed as antecedents to sustainable business opportunity recognition. Entrepreneurial knowledge is a moderator facilitating the transformation of the other types of knowledge and motivations into sustainable business opportunity recognition.

Business models around sustainable development goals

Schaltegger, Hansen and Ludeke-Freund (2016) define a business model for sustainability as “a business model for sustainability helps describing, analyzing, managing, and communicating (i) a company’s sustainable value proposition to its customers, and all other stakeholders, (ii) how it creates and delivers this value, (iii) and how it captures economic value while maintaining or regenerating natural, social, and economic capital beyond its organizational boundaries.”

Boons and Laasch (2019) argue that the concept of business models needs to be looked at from a process perspective, which is in line with the concept of sustainable development as a process. They emphasize four distinct characteristics for developing business models for sustainable development:

  • Business models for sustainability require an inclusive process of negotiated social practices.
  • The business model needs to be open and continuously accept and include input from its surroundings.
  • All business models must compete with other business model despite their sustainability orientation.
  • All business models are also environmentally connected to other business models and their consequential effects, either positive or detrimental to sustainability, need to be considered.

Table 1. Contingency framework on business model dynamics (Saebi, 2015).

 Environmental dynamics
Regular environmental changeEnvironmental competitivenessEnvironmental shift
Type of business model changeBusiness model evolution (BME)Business model adaptation (BMA)Business model innovation (BMI)
Type of dynamic capabilityEvolutionary changing capabilityAdaptive change capabilityInnovative change capability
Underlying capability dimensionDynamic consistencyCustomer agility, strategic flexibility, exploitationExploration, business model know-how, dedicated organizational units for BMI

Wadin and Ode (2019) use, test and extend the framework introduced by Saebi (2015) and presented in table 1. The table draws together the types of changes necessary in the business model and in the firm’s dynamic capabilities with respect to the changes in the environment. The environmental dynamics are categorized into either being slow-moving gradual changes (regular environmental change), periodically changing competitive demands that can be at the most very intense (environmental competitiveness) and dramatic discontinuities and disruptions (environmental shift). Each require a different approach in terms of the business model change either through evolution or innovation as well as in the dynamic capabilities of the firm. As a result, companies need to be equipped to spot the different demands and build up their dynamic competences as well as tailor the required business model changes.

Conceptual framework

Based on the literature we generated a conceptual framework (Figure 3) to guide the development of the blueprint for the training program.

Figure 3. Conceptual framework for training program development.
Figure 3. Conceptual framework for training program development.

Out of this conceptual framework, we have striven towards the practical application in the format of training program outline (Table 2). Each topic is linked to a competence being learned and a specific learning objective is listed for each topic.

Table 2. Effective training program outline on business opportunity recognition in SDGs for businesses and higher education institutions.

TopicCompetence-based learning objective
The role of the environment in the opportunity recognition process Stable environment and discovery of opportunities
(causation)

Complex and changing environment & creation of opportunities
(effectuation & bricolage)
The learner is able to analyze the environment to understand whether it requires discovery of existing or creation of new opportunities.
ResourcesExisting resources as a source of entrepreneurial opportunityThe learner is able to engage in systemic search for existing resources and utilize them while seeing resource constraints as a source of creativity.
ActionAction as a mechanism for overcoming resource constraintsThe learner is able to innovate mechanisms to overcome resource constraints.
Social capitalCommunity as a catalyst for venture emergence and growthThe learner is able to systematically analyze the applicability of and activate his/her social capital for the opportunity recognition process.
Awareness and personality traitsAwareness and personality traits as a factor of opportunity recognitionThe learner is able to realistically assess his/her personality traits and level of awareness in the opportunity recognition process.
Knowledge of natural/ communal environment and sense of urgencyDynamics of environmental change and its implications for sustainabilityThe learner understands relevant environmental and communal challenges and their change dynamics and is able to evaluate the rate of change and urgency.
Business model change types and dynamic capabilitiesDifferent environmental change types require different business model change approaches and different dynamic capabilities; sustainable business models are contingentThe learner is able to identify the required business model change types and related capabilities as a response to different environmental change dynamics.
Motivation and altruismMotivation and altruism play a role in sustainable business opportunity recognition.The learner is able to appreciate changes in the natural/ communal environment and is motivated to pursue solutions to those challenges.
Modes of value creation and value captureValue can be created with or for the target group and either through market mechanisms or through the mission.The learner is able to differentiate between different value creation and capture categories especially from the viewpoint of for-profit businesses.
Process approach to sustainable business modelsCertain process elements, such as inclusion and competition, are essential in the creation of successful sustainable business modelsThe learner is able to identify and build the required process elements to ensure success of the sustainable business model.

Discussion and conclusions

In this conceptual paper we have identified the key elements of an effective training program on business opportunity recognition in SDGs and created a blueprint of such a program. This paper focused on the first module of the training program only which deals with the basics of business opportunity recognition regarding social challenges. The specific SDG challenges with most business potential as well as examples of successful SDG opportunity utilization cases are dealt in different modules of the training program.

Kirjoittajat

Minna-Maari Harmaala, D.Sc.(Econ.), Principal Lecturer, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, minna-maari.harmaala(at)haaga-helia.fi

Hanna Harilainen, D.Sc.(Econ.), Head of Degree Programme, Principal Lecturer, International Business, Master’s Degree Programme in Supply Chain Management (Sourcing), Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, hanna.harilainen(at)metropolia.fi

Baker, T., & Nelson, R. 2005. Creating Something from Nothing: Resource Construction through Entrepreneurial Bricolage. Administrative Science Quarterly, 50(3), 329–366.

Boons, F., & Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2013), Business models for sustainable innovation: State-of-the-art and steps towards a research agenda. Journal of Cleaner Production, 45, 9–19.

Boons, F., & Laasch, O. (2019), Business Models for Sustainable Development: A Process Perspective. Journal of Business Models, 7(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.jbm.v7i1.2164

Business and Sustainable Development Commission (2017). “Better business, better world”.

Elkington, J. (1994). Towards the sustainable corporation: Win–win–win business strategies for sustainable development. California Management Review, 36, 90–100.

Elkington, J. (1997). Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. Capstone, Oxford, NY.

Fisher, G. (2012). Effectuation, Causation, and Bricolage: A Behavioral Comparison of Emerging Theories in Entrepreneurship Research. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36(5), 1019–1051.

George, M. N. Parida, V., Lahti, T., & Wincent, J. (2016). A systematic literature review of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition: Insights on influencing factors. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 12(2), 309–350.

Hanohov, R., & Baldacchino, L. (2018). Opportunity recognition in sustainable entrepreneurship: an exploratory study. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 24(2), 333–358.

Hart, S.L. (2005). Capitalism at the crossroads. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing

Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. (2016). Development Co-operation Report 2016: The Sustainable Development Goals As Business Opportunities: The Sustainable Development Goals As Business Opportunities.

Patzelt, H.; & Shepherd, D.A. (2011). Recognizing opportunities for sustainable development. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 35(4), 631–652.

Prahalad, C.K. (2010). The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing.

Raith M.G., & Siebold N. (2018). Building Business Models around Sustainable Development Goals. Journal of Business Models, 6(2), 71–77.

Saebi, T. (2015), Evolution, adaption, or innovation? A contingency framework on business model dynamics, in J. Foss & T. Saebi (Eds.), Business Model Innovation – the organizational dimension, pp. 145–168. Oxford University Press.

Sarasvathy, S. (2001). Causation and effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency. Academy of Management. The Academy of Management Review, 26(2), 243–263.

Schaltegger, S., Hansen, E.G., & Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2016). Business models for sustainability. Organization & Environment, 29, 3–10. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1086026615599806

SDG Accord Annual Report (2018) refers to a research carried out in March 2018 with 3543 responses on students studying predominantly in the UK, Austria, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Denmark, France and Germany about their awareness and interest in the SDGs.

Wadin, J. L., & Ode, K. A. (2019), Business models for sustainability – change in dynamic environments. Journal of Business Models, 7(1), 3–38. http://journalofbusinessmodels.com/vol-7-no-1-2019/vol-7-no-1-pp-13-38/

Abstracts 1/2020

Editorial: UAS Journal – starting the 10th year of open and responsible publishing activities in higher education

Ilkka Väänänen, Editor-in-chief, UAS Journal, ilkka.vaananen(at)uasjournal.fi

On the very same day of releasing this issue, the 16th of March, the journal of the Finnish universities of applied sciences, UAS Journal, released its first issue in 2011. We are now therefore starting the celebrations of the journal’s 10th anniversary year. The theme for the year will be sustainable development, which is also one of the focus areas for this year chosen by Arene, the Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences.

Universities of applied sciences play a key role in Finland’s innovation and learning ecosystems, in which we produce new practical knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the whole of society in cooperation with businesses, government and the third sector. Communications constitutes an important channel for ensuring effectiveness and usability. These communications include multi-channelled and broad-based activities, high-quality publications, and various expert and developer networks. The UAS Journal promotes all these elements, inspiring different university actors to put their open, multidisciplinary RDI activities and expertise on display and building networks both nationally and internationally. The purpose of the journal is to support the dialogue between universities of applied sciences and wider society and to affect a high-impact ‘hat trick’ through cooperation, dialogue, the articles published, and the involvement of expert individuals. The journal also functions as a communal development forum for universities of applied sciences and helps develop our project culture and strengthen our research orientation.

The UAS Journal wants to maintain and develop the professional expertise of the learning ecosystem. Each year the journal publishes around 60 articles, with contributions from nearly a hundred authors. Some articles are viewed thousands of times.

This first issue for the anniversary year is the 38th produced. The UAS Journal was preceded in the 2000s by the Kever and Osaaja journals. In 2011, it became an OA publication which used the Open Journal System platform. The first editors-in-chief were Mervi Friman and Riitta Rissanen. The journal serves as an accessible online publication that operates in line with the principles of transparent and open scientific research. The editorial policy of our journal, which is published four times a year, has remained unchanged. It has expanded to involve international cooperation on special themed issues together with the European association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning, EAPRIL. In addition, we have developed the visual components of the journal and changed the layout to make it clearer and more readable. The goal is to publish articles that are concise and to the point, and to publish more of them. We want to respond to topical issues, and we are always pleased to receive feedback on the journal as well as suggestions for themes and for further development. The success of the UAS Journal depends on us all. We are producing high-quality communications for universities of applied sciences in cooperation with all interested stakeholders. We will soon be taking into use persistent identifiers, URN, for the articles published, and we will be adding practical perspectives into the texts. There are also plans to carry out a reader survey and then use the results to further develop the journal’s user-orientation and production process.

The popularity of the ‘current topics’ themed edition now before you was truly huge. We received a record number of article proposals – 60 in all. The themes for last year’s issues were competence-based learning in universities of applied sciences, digitalisation and the new role of data management, artificial intelligence, and creative sectors and innovation activities. For this issue, we openly invited people to send whatever kinds of articles on topical issues, on the diverse activities and roles of universities of applied sciences in business cooperation, and on RDI activities. We were not able, unfortunately, to publish in this issue all of the articles received. Among other topics, these 22 published articles examine the ways in which universities of applied sciences develop cooperative activities and services that promote both cooperation with businesses and industry and also permanent service structures and cooperation structures created to support communities and teaching.

This 10th anniversary issue presents in a diverse way topical issues relating to the different activities of universities of applied sciences, such as the development of pedagogy and guidance, cooperation with employers, development of services, and the opportunities for RDI activities and work-based learning. Many thanks to all the contributing authors and to the theme issue editor Johanna Wartio from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences for producing the content for this issue! You have not only written the articles but have also provided a large and diverse display of the strong expertise of Finnish universities of applied sciences and their important role in applied research and practical RDI activities. Together we build responsibly for the future!

I hope you all enjoy and get inspired by the articles in this issue and throughout the UAS Journal’s 10th anniversary year!

Ilkka Väänänen
Editor-in-chief

Research and development is an opportunity to the continuous learner

Anu Sipilä, MBA, Vocational Teacher, Coordinator in learning collaboration & Master Study Guidance, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences,  anu.sipila(at)haaga-helia.fi
Marianne Wegmüller, M.Sc. (Econ.), RDI communications, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, marianne.wegmuller(at)haaga-helia.fi

Lifelong learning is a concept largely present in discussions in our society. New practices for continuous learning are developed to benefit both the employee and the employer.

Research and development activities at universities of applied sciences aim at impactful solutions in cooperation with partners, both locally and globally. R&D projects offer the involved employees a chance to step into a new framework for a set time and bring back the actual outcome, but also new perspectives, contacts, thoughts and opportunities of various kinds.

Project work offers the lifelong learner, the employee, a diverse and challenging platform for learning and development. Knowledge is updated, expertise is taken further, enthusiasm and engagement are created and the employee is taken outside the comfort zone. Project work is lean and agile, which is the core of lifelong learning.

R&D projects make a structured platform for plunging into the unknown and learning continuously – thus taking change a bit further. Universities of applied sciences have a long history applying R&D to the benefit in the world of work, each with their own core competencies in focus. We are also experts of pedagogy and learning. We still need to develop ways to match the fast rhythm of business life.

Key words: change, continuos learning, flexibility, RDI activities

 

Hopes to disseminate results from RDI projects in a more effective way 

Kaisa Jaalama, M.Sc. (Admin.), Doctoral Student, Aalto University, kaisa.jaalama(at)aalto.fi
Juhani Talvela, Lic. Tech., IPR Expert, Aalto University, juhani.talvela(at)aalto.fi
Hannu Hyyppä, Dr.Sc. (Tech.), Professor, Adjunct Professor, Aalto University, hannu.hyyppa(at)aalto.fi
Marika Ahlavuo, Master of Culture and Arts (Cultural Producer), Science Producer, Project Manager, Aalto University, marika.ahlavuo(at)aalto.fi
Hanna Lahtinen, PhD, Director, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, hanna.lahtinen(at)laurea.fi
Anne Kärki, PhD (Physiotherapy), Principal Lecturer, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, anne.karki(at)samk.fi
Seliina Päällysaho, PhD, M.Sc. (Econ.), Research Manager, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, seliina.paallysaho(at)seamk.fi

Open RDI activities, such as practices of and attitudes towards openness in RDI, were explored in the Open RDI, learning, and the innovation ecosystem of Finnish UAS project in 2018. The web survey was addressed to the RDI staff, teachers and other experts working at a Finnish university of applied sciences (UAS). Based on the results, UAS experts have a positive attitude towards openness in RDI activities. Additional support is needed in some areas of open RDI, such as data management and research infrastructures. The motivation to publish and share RDI results is high, however, improving the availability of RDI results and conditions for publishing should be further enhanced.

Key words: competences, expertise, open RDI, universities of applied sciences, web questionnaire

 

Open RDI in the universities of applied sciences – views from staff members 

 Juhani Talvela, Lic. Tech., IPR Expert, Aalto University, juhani.talvela(at)aalto.fi
Kaisa Jaalama, M.Sc. (Admin.), Doctoral Student, Aalto University, kaisa.jaalama(at)aalto.fi
Hannu Hyyppä, Dr.Sc. (Tech.), Professor, Adjunct Professor, Aalto University, hannu.hyyppa(at)aalto.fi
Marika Ahlavuo, Master of Culture and Arts (Cultural Producer), Science Producer, Project Manager, Aalto University, marika.ahlavuo(at)aalto.fi
Seliina Päällysaho, PhD, M.Sc. (Econ.), Research Manager, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, seliina.paallysaho(at)seamk.fi
Hanna Lahtinen, PhD, Director, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, hanna.lahtinen(at)laurea.fi
Anne Kärki, PhD (Physiotherapy), Principal Lecturer, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, anne.karki(at)samk.fi

Views and considerations towards Open RDI are collected and analyzed among the staff members in the Finnish universities of applied sciences by four open-ended questions. Roles of teaching and RDI work and the integration of students into RDI projects gain the most responses. Best practices as well as greatest challenges were reported by the respondents. A number of organizational and management related problems are yet to be solved. A need for trust was emphasized indicating possible misconception in the requirements of open RDI.  

Key words: ammattikorkeakoulu, avoin tutkimus, TKI, näkemykset, asiantuntijat, verkkokysely 

 

Acquiring skills through the RDI Expert Coaching Programme

Mari Salminen-Tuomaala, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Health and Social Sector
Juha Hautanen, M.Sc. (Tech.), Head Of Department, Teacher Education College, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences
Sirkka Saranki-Rantakokko, HTT, Principal Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, RDI Services, Pohjoinen hyvinvointi ja palvelut

Effective project management and project work skills are important requirements in higher education and various work place settings. This article is based on one example of the recent efforts to strengthen the research and development profile of the Universities of Applied Sciences: the national Research and Development (R&D) Expert Coaching Programme, launched in 2014 by a pilot funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The programme aimed at improved effectiveness by increasing networking with actors in innovative environments and by developing more practical and user-oriented operational models. Further aims were to improve participants’ competence in the following areas: project planning and implementation; research, development and innovation; management and leadership; commercialisation of research results; targeting customers, and integration of the results into teaching. By means of simulation-based learning it’s possible to learn a lot about project management and it’s challenges.

Key words: coaching, development, innovation, multidisciplinarity, research, simulation

 

RDI creates a Master

Anu Sipilä, MBA, Vocational Teacher, Coordinator in learning collaboration & Master Study Guidance, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences,  anu.sipila(at)haaga-helia.fi
Jarmo Ritalahti, Lic.Phil., Principal Lecturer, Head of Master Degree Programme in Aviation and Tourism Business, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, jarmo.ritalahti(at)haaga-helia.fi

To integrate Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) activities to education activities in Finnish universities of applied sciences is a topical theme. The integration was one of the focuses when Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences started to develop its Master Degree Programmes. The process that is now in its piloting phase includes a continuous collaboration with university’s core competence groups’ project managers and other actors. Project actors bring in themes and topics that are presented to master curriculum’s specialization teachers to include them to various courses serving similar aims than the projects.

Key words: development, master curriculum, RDI

 

Is the future already here – the robotics of many possibilities challenges the R&D activities in the universities of applied sciences

Tapio Mäkelä, Lic. Admin., Specialist, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, School of Health and Social Studies, tapio.makela(at)jamk.fi

Automation and robotisation have already impacted and will continue to impact business organizations and citizens personal life. The implementation of robotics affects personnel motivation, skills needs and working methods. These impacts can be either positive or negative, depending on how business development efforts and the implementation process are handled. Challenges are unavoidable if a company’s change projects are carried out in a technology-driven manner, without acknowledging people’s human needs, such as the need for a feeling of security, stability and opportunities to exert influence. These problems, a lack of information and knowledge capital, and a lack of experience in the implementation, utilisation and impacts of robotics have slowed down process automation in business organizations.

Key words: challenges for development, development in the world of work, robotics

 

Xamk in support of the authorities in preparing against oil damage

Justiina Halonen, Research Manager, Master Mariner (B.Sc.), justiina.halonen(at)xamk.fi

Ministry of the Interior’s national risk assessment recognizes the risk of a marine oil spill incident as one threat scenario and disruption, the likelihood of which is rising. The risk results from the increasing vessel traffic and is affected by the increasingly frequent extreme weather events and unforeseen vulnerabilities the rapid development of ship technology poses. In parallel with preventive safety measures, capability to deal with the consequences of marine incidents is needed. According to environmental authorities, an oil spill in the Gulf of Finland could rise up to 30 000 tonnes. An oil spill of that volume could generate 200 000–500 000 tonnes of oiled wastes as the oil contaminates water, soil and vegetation. Responding to such an incident might take several years. The need for practical response guidelines initiated a joint development process with the response authorities and UAS. As a result, an oil spill response model was created. Today, the model is an integral part of national oil spill preparedness, and collaboration continues to further improve the response capability.

Key words: oil spill response, environmental damage, emergency preparedness, seafaring, maritime safety

 

 Xamk Ambulance simulator connects studies and RDI

Antti Jakonen, ensihoitaja YAMK, väitöskirjatutkija, projektipäällikkö, Kaakkois-Suomen ammattikorkeakoulu, Helsingin yliopisto, antti.jakonen(at)xamk.fi
Jarno Hämäläinen, sosiaali- ja terveysalan YAMK, ensihoidon lehtori, Kaakkois-Suomen ammattikorkeakoulu, jarno.hamalainen(at)xamk.fi
Hilla Sumanen, dosentti, FT, ensihoidon yliopettaja, Kaakkois-Suomen ammattikorkeakoulu, Helsingin yliopisto, hilla.sumanen(at)xamk.fi

The ambulance simulator, located at the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk) Kotka campus, is a unique learning environment for emergency care. On top of that, it offers a great platform for researching, developing and training safety-critical emergency response driving (ERD). Xamk’s ambulance simulator combines research, development, innovation (RDI) and teaching of emergency care. Research and development done in Towards Safer Emergency Response Driving I & II –RDI-projects have shown that there are crew-related risks in ERD and a need for development to make ERD safer. Through pilot projects done in Towards Safer Emergency Response Driving I –RDI-project, educational course for safer ERD was developed. Xamk’s ambulance simulator is utilized efficiently during the course. The overall aim of the Xamk ambulance simulator is to help develop ERD safer.

Keywords: ambulance, emergency vehicle, health education, prehospital care, risk factor, safety, social education, training

 

Higher education institutions and the Act on data management in public administration

Kari Kataja, M.Sc. (Eng.), M.A., M.Sc. (Econ.), M.Ed., Information Systems Manager, Data Protection Officer, Chair of the network of DPOs in universities, Häme University of Applied Sciences, kari.kataja(at)hamk.fi
Jaakko Riihimaa, PhD, IT General Secretary, AAPA (Human network of CIOs in Universities of Applied Sciences), jaakko.riihimaa(at)haaga-helia.fi
Walter Rydman, M.A., Coordinator, CSC – IT Center for Science, walter.rydman(at)csc.fi

Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences have had to react vigorously as several laws that have significant impact on data management have recently come into force. The latest law was the act on data management in public administration at the beginning of 2020.

The law has strong incentives for the cooperation between authorities. Required changes can be difficult, so it is helpful to think possible benefits higher education institutions can gain from the new law. At the end of 2019 AAPA (The Network of CIO’s in Finnish UAS’s), FUCIO (CIO-network in universities) and CSC – IT Center for Science explored collaboration ideas together. Based on these results, we will continue to work together in late spring 2020.

Key words: Act on data management, data management, data protection

 

Experiences on the internationalisation of Finnish online marketing businesses 

Marko Mäki, Lic. Econ., Principal Lecturer, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, marko.maki(at)haaga-helia.fi
Tuija Toivola, D.Sc. (Econ.), R&D Manager, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, tuija.toivola(at)haaga-helia.fi 

The aim of this paper is to contribute to the expansion of the eCommerce (eCom) operations of small and medium sized companies (SMEs) in Finland to global markets. In addition, one important goal was to acquire knowledge and support participants’ learning of fast growing online and digital business models. The conclusions of this study underlined the importance of effective digital marketing activities including knowledge on online customer journey and capability building for global eCom operations. Additionally, small eCom companies strongly highlighted the importance of learning from each other’s experiences and peer to peer support.  

Key words: eCommerce, digital business models, international business, SMEs

 

Creative Entrepreneurship in the Arctic

(the original article in English)

Anzelika Krastina, MEd., Senior Lecturer, International coordinator, School of Northern Well-being and Services, Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Key words: Arctic region, creative entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship education

 

Blueprint for a training program on business opportunity recognition in SDGs

(the original article in English)

Minna-Maari Harmaala, D.Sc.(Econ.), Principal Lecturer, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland; minna-maari.harmaala(at)haaga-helia.fi
Hanna Harilainen, D.Sc.(Econ.), Head of Degree Programme, Principal Lecturer, International Business, Master’s Degree Programme in Supply Chain Management (Sourcing), Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Finland; hanna.harilainen(at)metropolia.fi

Key words: competence-based learning objectives, opportunity recognition, SDGs, sustainable business models

 

More sustainability and responsibility into universities of applied sciences

Kari Laasasenaho, PhD, RDI Specialist, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, kari.laasasenaho(at)seamk.fi
Nina Kokkonen, MM, Lecturer, Häme University of Applied Sciences, nina.kokkonen(at)hamk.fi
Sanna Tyni, PhD, Specialist, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, sanna.tyni(at)lapinamk.fi
Petri Lempinen, PhD, Executive Director, The Rectors’ Conference of the Universities of Applied Sciences (Arene ry), petri.lempinen(at)arene.fi

Sustainable development has long been a part of Finnish university of applied sciences, but environmental issues such as climate change have increased the need to support sustainable practices in teaching, supervising and on campus more than before. Higher education institutions are responsible for promoting sustainable development in their own activities and support sustainable thinking of students.

Circular Economy Competence to Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) project (funded by Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture) and The Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences Arene have start to discuss about the need to promote sustainable development and circular economy at UAS’s. One of the aim is to update the sustainable development programs of UAS’s. Arene is going to establish a Sustainability and Responsibility group and sustainable development is raised as one of the important theme in the Arene’s 2020 Action Plan. The project and Arene are actively encouraging each UAS to implement concrete actions for sustainable development.

Key words: circular economy, education, research and innovation activities, sustainable development, university of applied sciences

 

Students from SAMK solving challenges in energy efficiency

Teija Järvenpää, B.Sc. (Eng.), Project Researcher, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, teija.jarvenpaa(at)samk.fi
Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola, PhD, Research Manager, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, minna.keinanen-toivola(at)samk.fi

The environmental regulations related to climate change are increasing as well as the requirements for energy efficiency in ports and shipyards. The three-year (2018–2020) SataMari project, funded by ERDF, is searching for practical solutions to improve the energy efficiency of the maritime cluster in Satakunta region. Several students from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences have been involved in the SataMari project. The project team acts as a link between students, teachers and companies. Experiences have been good: students like the work-based learning, companies value impartial assessments and the work done for their development areas. The project gains additional value while students can provide deeper reviews on single subjects which the project team would not have resources to do. The important result of the SataMari project is a decision-making tool that serves as a data bank to improve energy efficiency and increase renewable energy use in the maritime cluster.

Key words: energy efficiency, energy and environmental engineering, maritime cluster, project, thesis

 

Up with cooperation and collaboration

Mikko Matveinen, Project Manager, M.A. (Arts), Karelia University of Applied Sciences, mikko.matveinen(at)karelia.fi

Karelia University of Applied Sciences (Karelia UAS) has been focusing to development of the wood construction sector as strategic choice since 2014. The development work has been done systematically part of the different research and development projects (RDI) under the degree programme of construction engineering.

Already six years later there are concrete results visible including Finland’s tallest wooden apartment building Joensuu Lighthouse. Among other development activities Karelia UAS has been doing research part of the construction process which aims to produce information about building process, building physic and behaviour of structures to be used in other similar buildings. Therefore, Lighthouse also works as a platform for development of the wood construction sector.

Universities has also a key role when tackling the local and global challenges. Taking these drivers in to account when planning the future activities requires strategic choices. Climate change will be one of the key drivers which is affecting to the construction sector in the near future. Therefore, the need for environmentally friendly materials in construction is evident. Article tells about the strategic foresight, commitment and stakeholder cooperation part of the RDI-operations.

 

Core competences in the education of an Advanced Practitioner (Master)

Virpi Sulosaari, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, virpi.sulosaari(at)turkuamk.fi
Minna Elomaa-Krapu, D.H.S., Director, Innovations, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, minna.elomaa-krapu(at)metropolia.fi
Hanna Hopia, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, hanna.hopia(at)jamk.fi
Kirsi Koivunen, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, kirsi.koivunen(at)oamk.fi
Rauni Leinonen, PhD (Ed.), M.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, rauni.leinonen(at)kamk.fi
Eeva Liikanen, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, eeva.liikanen(at)tuni.fi
Ulla Penttinen, Lic.Phil., Principal Lecturer, Novia University of Applied Sciences, Vaasa, ulla.penttinen(at)novia.fi
Outi Törmänen, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, outi.tormanen(at)lapinamk.fi
Leena Walta, Principal Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, leena.walta(at)turkuamk.fi
Johanna Heikkilä, D.H.S., Specialist, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, johanna.heikkila(at)jamk.fi 

The changes in Finnish health care have led to the development of advanced roles for healthcare professionals. An Advanced Practitioner is a professional who has acquired an expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies for extended practice which is shaped by the context and/or country in which s/he is practicing (ICN APN/NP network, n.d.). Core competencies and master’s level education must underpin the preparation to the advanced roles. This competence framework is intended to guide the development of advanced practice education in Finland. Thirteen universities of applied sciences have participated in the process of identifying the core competences we all can share. The framework provides a tool in planning AP education and supports collaboration between the universities of applied sciences. The core competencies are: 1) research and service development, 2) patient education and staff development 2) professional leadership, and 4) clinical expertise and direct clinical care.

Key words: advanced practice, advanced practitioner, clinical expertise, master in health care education

 

Sparking innovation in an international bioeconomy community

Anna Aalto, Project Manager, M.Sc. (Econ.), Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, anna.aalto(at)jamk.fi
Diana Pitkänen, Specialist, B.A. (Industrial and Product Design), Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, diana.pitkanen(at)jamk.fi

Biobord is an open virtual innovation hub for connecting bioeconomy developers that offers tools for managing the project lifecycle, network building and management, interactive online capacity building, matchmaking and connecting with innovation support services. Biobord is developed by JAMK University of Applied Sciences in a partnership of four regions across Baltic Sea, Central Finland, Inland (Norway), Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (Poland) and Vidzeme (Latvia).

Biobord is developed in an iterative service design process that has reached the piloting phase. During the piloting phase, we are testing Biobord with different user groups and service cases. With regional and international pilot cases, the partnership is developing and scaling up the platform and its operational model with the feedback and experiences of users. The development and piloting is supported by the ‘Rural RDI Milieus in transition towards smart bioeconomy clusters and innovation ecosystems’ – project (RDI2CluB).

Key words: bioeconomy, digital platform, innovation ecosystem, networks, piloting, service design, user-centered design

 

Regional cooperation model for encouraging entrepreneurial competences 

Anneli Manninen, M.Sc. (Tech.), M.Ed., Project Manager, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, anneli.manninen(at)laurea.fi
Petri Graeffe, B.Sc. (Pol.), Managing Director, Uudenmaan Yrittäjät ry (a regional organization of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises), petri.graeffe(at)yrittajat.fi

Laurea University of Applied Science’s pedagogical approach is called Learning by Development (LbD). It means that learning takes place as much as possible in working life context and development projects. However, although living labs deliver all learning through work-related projects, majority of the students might obtain only limited experience of developing with companies. In Radar project, we created a new action model that brings small and medium sized companies in contact with the University of Applied Sciences and its students. The development activities are realized in cooperation with the regional Development Companies and entrepreneurial organizations that operate on company interface and are thus able to identify suitable development needs for thesis and student projects. Thus, students are offered a chance to learn entrepreneurship in practise (Raij 2014). The professionals coaching the enterprises learn in the interaction as well.

 

Stakeholder cooperation and anticipation in Oulu UAS

Sari Ahvenlampi, Quality Manager, M.A., Oulu University of Applied Sciences, sari.ahvenlampi(at)oamk.fi
Ismo Kinnunen, Development Manager, PhD, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, ismo.kinnunen(at)oamk.fi

In the year 2019 we surveyed the anticipation of education at Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Oulu UAS). The starting point was exploring how educational departments anticipate future educational needs. We surveyed how department practices anticipation by interviewing our staff and then deepened our perspective with a questionnaire. There are three main ways to anticipate at Oulu UAS:

– participating and monitoring the development of the field of education
– through stakeholder cooperation
– through surveys and analyzes.

In stakeholder cooperation the main anticipation parts are interaction, discussions and meetings with partners which were strongly highlighted in every educational department. The second important area are feedbacks, surveys and researches. The third part of stakeholder cooperation are projects. Stakeholder cooperation is been developed according to partnership agreements which provides companies direct links to Oulu UAS and engage companies into long-term cooperation.

Key words: anticipation of education, development work, field of education, stakeholder cooperation

 

Strengthening clients’ skills towards the world of work

Helena Kangastie, M.H.S., Specialist (RDI and Learning), Lapland University of Applied Sciences, helena.kangastie(at)lapinamk.fi
Jonna Löf, M.Ed., Guidance Counsellor, Senior Advisor, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, jonna.lof(at)lapinamk.fi

Lapland has a common strategy for information, counselling and guidance (ICG) that defines common activities in the Lapland region. The strategy is committed to providing customers with low-threshold ICG services expertly and with partnership in a professional and collaborative manner. In addition, we support our clients the make choices for their individual career paths and to strengthen their skills.

The universities of Lapland have been actively developing guidance for years.  This article describes in a general way the development of the ICG work and, in particular, the improvement of the strength-based future guidance in the Lapland UAS. At the moment, we are implementing the project VAHTO – Developing Strength Based Future Guidance. The aim of the project is to enhance the career planning of university students in order to support their transition to the world of work and to develop practices and methods that promote the identification of their individual strengths.

Key words: future and strength baced counselling, university of applied sciences, world of work

Is Finland a land of thousands of forgotten projects? 

Katri Halonen,  Dr.Soc.Sc., Lic.Phil., Principal Lecturer in Culture Production, Project Manager in Osuma – osallistamalla osaamista coordination project, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, katri.halonen(at)metropolia.fi

During the past six years, almost 500 European Social Fund funded projects have been managed by universities of applied sciences. Thousands of expert working hours have been allocated to implement innovative development processes in the society. This article asks what happens when the project ends. It suggests a four-step method for effective valorization running from project planning to implementation and the life of the project after the funding has ended. The four-step results valorization method emphasizes communication, variating actions with different actors, mainstreaming the results to practitioners and knowledge ecosystem and consolidating the findings to strategies of existing infrastructures.

Key words: European funding, project, valorization

Call for papers: UAS Journal 2/2020, Universities of applied sciences promoting ecological sustainability

We invite education planners, teachers, specialists, researchers and developers to contribute to UAS Journal issue 2/2020. The theme of the issue is Universities of applied sciences promoting ecological sustainability.

Sustainable development was first defined in the Brundtland commission in the United Nations, in 1987. From that point a process started, which has proceeded both internationally and nationally, as well as in governmental and other sectors in the society.

In Finland, sustainable development has been promoted since 1993, when the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development was established, as the first such commission in the world. The commission involves a large group of societal actors in addition to the government. The first task of the national commission was to define sustainable development as a continuing, organised societal change happening globally, regionally and locally, the goal of which is to secure good life for current and future generations. This also means that the environment, human and economy will equally be taken into account in decision-making and actions (Ministry of the Environment, https://www.ym.fi/en-US/The_environment/Sustainable_development).

Finland is committed to Agenda2030 that was accepted in the UN summit for sustainable development in 2015. Agenda2030 consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, many of which concern ecological sustainability, especially goals 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, 13: Climate Action, 14: Life below Water, and 15: Life on Land.

Universities of applied sciences can promote ecological sustainability through various practical measures such as education, projects, and collaboration with actors in the world of work. Various ways of promoting sustainability may also be intertwined, and the scales of promoting ecological sustainability may vary from global to very local.

Article proposals for this themed issue may concern e.g. solutions in teaching the natural scientific basis or applications (e.g. circular or green economy) of ecological sustainability, various projects in monitoring or improving the state of the environment, or developing the sustainability of the acts of the university. In addition to successful projects, we are interested in unsuccessful experiments, through which everyone of us has the opportunity learn a lot.

The maximum length of a specialist article is 10,000 characters, a review 4,000 characters and less formally structured texts about 3,000 characters (incl. spaces). Detailed instructions for authors can be found on  uasjournal.fi/in-english/instructions-for-writers

The editors of the themed issue are Eveliina Asikainen/TAMK and Tove Holm/City of Turku.

Eveliina works as a lecturer in Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), and one of her duties there is to promote sustainable development there. She has worked in positions related to environmental education and promoting sustainable development in various educational institutes for twenty years.  She is a biologist, with doctoral degree in 2014. She has been largely involved in forest economy, circular economy, urban planning and participation.

Tove worked with topics of quality, environmental management and promoting sustainable development in a university of applied sciences for 15 years, and thereafter, for three years as an education manager in a unit of sustainable development and management in an adult education institution. For the past couple of years she has been working in the Baltic Sea Challenge in Helsinki and Turku, aiming to engage towns, cities, municipalities and organisations in committing to the Baltic Sea protection  The Baltic Sea Challenge has grown into an international network with over 300 actors around the Baltic Sea region, including universities of applied sciences. Tove has a doctoral degree in environmental science in the University of Turku in 2014. Her research is cross-disciplinary: enabling change, and especial promoting sustainable development in education, in universities of applied sciences, with the use of quality assurance.

  • Send your article proposal by e-mail to eveliina.asikainen(at)tuni.fi during week 14 (beginning of April).
  • Feedback will be sent to the responsible author in week 16.
  • Send your final version in week 18 (beginning of May).
  • The themed issue will be published in week 20.

Call for papers: UAS Journal 4/2020, Using data from work-related studies

We invite education planners, teachers, specialists, researchers and developers to contribute to UAS Journal issue 4/2020. The theme of the issue is using data from work-related studies in teaching, education planning and education systems development.

Universities of applied sciences have a great deal of information about careers and employment, which they obtain from various stakeholders, employment networks and the universities of applied sciences’ own career monitoring and other feedback surveys.

This information is not, however, used to the full in teaching, education planning or national school systems development. Analysing and using career and employment data in a greater variety of ways would benefit both education organisers, teachers and students, as well as employment and public operators.

Subject of the call for papers

We are interested in how the results of national career monitoring surveys conducted by universities of applied sciences are used and implemented, but articles may also be based on other reviews concerning the impact of higher education, alumni employment and career paths or labour market development.

The articles may be related to the following subjects or questions:

  • What kind of work-related data are UASs using? What kind of data is still needed?
  • What kind of data is used systematically, and how is it used? What kind of data should definitely receive more attention than it currently does?
  • Can/should work-related studies be viewed critically? What does this mean in practice?
  • Work-related studies in proactive education and management development work
  • Work-related studies as a tool for pedagogical development
  • Employment quality and measuring this
  • Access to work-related studies by different UAS user groups.
  • Work-related studies in assessing and developing educational quality and impact
  • The principle of continuing education and using information from work-related studies.

Proposed articles based on research or investigational work take priority, but disseminating comprehensive and multifaceted work-related studies and cases from practice are also of interest, especially because nationwide career monitoring surveys have only been conducted twice.

Schedule and practical guidelines

  • Send your article proposal to uraseurannat(at)turkuamk.fi by Sept. 15, 2020.
  • Feedback on the articles will be sent to the responsible author by Oct. 15, 2020.
  • Send your final version of the article by Oct. 31, 2020.
  • The themed issue will be published during the week 50.

The maximum length of a specialist article is 10,000 characters, a review 4,000 characters and less formally structured texts about 3,000 characters (incl. spaces). Detailed instructions for authors can be found on  uasjournal.fi/in-english/instructions-for-writers

The editors of the themed issue are Liisa Marttila/TAMK, Jaana Kullaslahti/HAMK, Anne Rouhelo/ Turku AMK, Arja Räinä-Räisänen/Oamk, Taina Kilpinen/Laurea and Tina Lauronen/ Education and Training Research Foundation, ESR project, From UAS to Career – Career Data for All.