Aalto University: Aalto University takes increasing responsibility in Finnish-American higher education relations

Aalto University and the University of Helsinki have been mandated by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) to jointly develop a large-scale Finnish Research Development and Innovation (RDI) network to increase the visibility of the excellence of the Finnish RDI in the United States of America.

A new initiative for collaboration
As a result, the Finnish-American Research and Innovation Accelerator (FARIA) has been launched this year (www.faria.network). This young initiative is now starting to bear its first fruit:

In FARIA are now 16 Finnish higher education institutions—12 universities and four universities of applied sciences. Together its members represent 92% of Finnish research universities and 89% of the higher education sector’s RDI-power, when measured in terms of the RDI-funding. The network has partnered with several Academy of Finland Flagship programme members, the Fulbright Finland Foundation, the Finnish Association of Research Managers and Advisors (Finn-ARMA) and collaborates closely with the Finnish Embassy in Washington D.C., the Team Finland Knowledge network, Business Finland, and other stakeholder organizations.

Guests looking at the dress made of birch.
‘FARIA and Aalto University jointly with University of Helsinki are increasingly sought-after partners in facilitating Finnish-US higher education relations,’ states Jérôme Rickmann, Aalto University’s project lead. Dr. Rickmann continues: ‘This is reflected for example in that we were not only honoured at both universities to host the higher education track of the Governor of Minnesota Tim Walz’s high-level delegation to Finland. But also, that FARIA was invited to present its activities during the delegation’s programme organised by MEC and to explore collaboration opportunities for its members with universities and companies from Minnesota.’

US delegation at Aalto discussed sustainability
The delegation was under the patronage of the First Lady of Minnesota, herself an educator and avid supporter of quality education, Ms. Gwen Walz. Ilkka Niemelä, President of Aalto University, hosted our guest from Minnesota and introduced them to Aalto University. The visit centered around the theme of sustainability. Aalto University Vice President for Research, Ossi Naukkarinen spoke about solutions for sustainability at the university as a cross-cutting strategic approach. Professor Monika Österberg represented FinnCERES—the Academy of Finland financed flagship on materials bioeconomy—and presented their take on sustainable technology.

Funding available for collaboration projects
In this context it is worth remembering that an Aalto University internal call for collaboration with the US is still open until 9 December and that FARIA is organising a workshop on US-funding sources in collaboration with Finn-ARMA on 25 November.

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