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Sunday, 18. August 2019  

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The Innovation University Project, Finland and the reaction of the students: Make love , not innovations!


The innovation university is one of the flagship projects in the extensive higher education reform currently being implemented by the Ministry of Education. According to its programme, the Government will increase the financial and administrative autonomy of universities. In this connection, university governance and decision-making will also be reformed. The Ministry of Education will prepare a Bill overhauling the Universities Act and a proposal for the reform of the university steering and funding system.

A science community spanning technology, trade and art

The industries operating in the fields represented in the innovation university are of primary importance for Finland's competitiveness. The new world-class university will benefit Finnish society as a whole. Ever stiffer international competition in the knowledge market requires capacity for renewal and a certain size from universities. A small economy and culture must find its own fields of specialisation in which it can reach the world top.

The innovation university is a new, bold and attractive solution, geared to contribute to Finnish success and to respond to both national and global challenges. The university has world-class expertise at the intersection of global issues and the strengths and core competencies of Finnish society. An academic community across disciplinary boundaries will provide a solid basis for new world-class industry and employment.

Innovation university project

The Finnish higher education system is being developed as an entity of universities, polytechnics and new consortia based on cooperation agreements between them. Most of the new structures are projected to be in use by 2012. One of the foremost projects is an innovation university founded on the disciplines taught and researched in the Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics and the University of Art and Design Helsinki.

These universities will be combined into one large university focusing on disciplines and research areas determined on the basis of their strategic strengths, as decided by the board of the innovation university foundation to be established. At the initial stage, the new university will be composed of three Schools: Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki School of Economics and University of Art and Design. The unit structure and solutions regarding the fields of education and research will be specified on the basis of strategic choices made by the Senate of the new university and national decisions on the structural development of higher education.

The innovation university will be constructed along policy lines proposed by a committee chaired by State Secretary Sailas (Opetusministeriön työryhmämuistioita ja selvityksiä 2007:16, English abstract available).


The preparations for the innovation university project will be led by a steering group chaired by State Secretary Heljä Misukka. The steering group will adopt the implementation plan for the project and monitor and further its implementation. The steering group will also give its opinion concerning the foundation charter of the innovation university based on a proposal of the preparation committee.

The steering group is assisted by a preparation committee, which will draw up a proposal for the overall implementation of the innovation university project. The innovation university project will be prepared in close cooperation with a Ministry of Education committee preparing the amendment of the Universities Act and other committees looking into matters relating to the overall university reform.

There are tripartite theme groups representing the three universities to plan and implement sub-projects (guidelines for education, research, the third task and governance of the new university). These groups report on progress made in these thematic areas to the steering group, the Ministry of Education, the leadership of the constituent universities, and, at a later stage, to the innovation university foundation to be established.

For more information:

Ministry of Education, Project Director Jari Jokinen, tel.             +358 - 9 - 1607 7231       

Project directors appointed by the three universities:

Helsinki University of Technology, Professor Mauri Airila, tel. +358 - 9- 451 3552

Helsinki School of Economics, Vice Rector Olli Ahtola, tel.             +358-9 - 431 39501       

University of Art and Design Helsinki, University of Art and Design Helsinki Director of Administration Pekka Saarela, tel.             +358 - 05 - 550 5658







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