Aalto University: KU Leuven, Aalto University and University of Helsinki join forces to boost research collaboration

Aalto University, University of Helsinki and KU Leuven announced their strategic partnership on 14 March, during a visit of KU Leuven to Finland. The research conducted at the three universities and the unique ecosystems in which they are the beating heart has allowed Leuven, Espoo and Helsinki to take flight on the international innovation stage.

Establishing a closer link between these centres for research innovation is the logical next step as both Espoo and Leuven were among those cities nominated for European Capital for Innovation in 2020 with the last one being awarded with the title. The University of Helsinki and City of Helsinki have longstanding partnership in developing innovation ecosystems together.

Together with the ambition of Helsinki to become the learning capital of the world, this trilateral partnership between the three universities underscores an already fruitful and active academic collaboration. The partners have acknowledged a shared interest and ambitions to establish further joint research initiatives.

‘Growing the already existing bilateral collaborations into this trilateral partnership is an exciting new opportunity. The partnership combines complementary strengths of the three universities in a unique way and boosts the excellence and impact of our research, education and innovation activities’, President Ilkka Niemelä from Aalto University says.

New seed funding call in digital humanities and sustainability
In a first step, the collaboration will be furthered through an exploratory seed fund focusing on creating research linkages in two fields, which were already identified as particularly strong in gaining added value through collaboration: the fields of digital humanities and sustainability. To this end, a unique opportunity is offered to researchers from all partner institutions with a thematical call being launched on 15 March 2022.

A total funding of EUR 150 000 is awarded jointly to fund up to five exploratory projects, to be shared equally by all partners and serves as a steppingstone for further academic collaboration.

‘We have excellent research in digital humanities and sustainability in all three universities. I hope our researchers will find this seed funding an exciting opportunity to plan new collaboration. I am really keen to see what kind of new innovative approaches and complementarities will arise when researchers from the partner universities join forces’, says Rector Sari Lindblom from the University of Helsinki.

‘This new research collaboration builds on a solid relationship of trust between KU Leuven, University of Helsinki and Aalto University. University of Helsinki has been a loyal partner in the LERU and Una Europa networks for a very long time and is very much related to KU Leuven in terms of culture, governance style and research tradition. Aalto University is a close partner in CESAER and CLUSTER and is for many universities a model of how technology, entrepreneurship and creativity together can underpin the curricula of the future’, indicates Rector Luc Sels from KU Leuven.

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