2.2 Research, development, and innovation activities and artistic activities with impact

Auditointiryhmän arvio

HAMK’s research units play a significant role in setting institutional targets

HAMK has set the targets for the impact of RDI-work in its strategy. The aim of RDI is to serve as a significant push factor for social innovation through profiled research units such as HAMK Bio, HAMK Edu, HAMK Smart and HAMK Tech. Research units are responsible for the effectiveness of research.

In recent years, special attention has been paid to the needs of working life and companies in developing research activities, which are reflected in HAMK’s targets and indicators for strengthening its role in working life and in international RDI ecosystems; among these are, for example, the number of open research programmes drafted together with working life partners, business funding for RDI and the number of peer-reviewed publications. The tenure track possibility for staff members is an important asset in attracting international experts to the region as well. Being part of a network of regional universities also contributes to reform society, as well as providing a route to HAMK, its staff, students, and stakeholders to learn and to strengthen HAMK’s profile, develop competences and thus improve its societal impact.

The strategy of top excellence identifies the directions of RDI activities and brings together the goals, strengths and development areas. Progress and achievement are monitored by annual milestones. In this process, stakeholder feedback is systematically considered. In the interviews, the staff confirmed that the regular review discussions with research units are based on the progress and achievement results and include the impact achieved, dissemination and commercialisation, partnership, funding, research competence, and the link between research and education. Indicators for monitoring are in place, yet most of them refer to input or output rather than to impact, with the notable exception of the ”number of open research programmes drafted together with working life”. The audit team therefore encourages HAMK to actively seek and define impact indicators to strengthen the relevance of its societal engagement.

There are several areas of high societal relevance, such as sequestration, circular economy, and sustainability, where partners and local and international excellence can meet. In these areas, HAMK has good coverage of the whole chain, from research to societal actors, companies, all the way to individual farms and farmers or urban planners. In the audit interviews, promising cases of bridging economic, ecological and social sustainability were mentioned, e.g., Living labs. HAMK is encouraged to continue this way and further intensify its societal impact.

Research ethics and Open Science are well integrated into curriculum and every-day practice 

Distribution of responsibilities, as well as practices for the implementation of Open Science and scientific ethics, are in place.  HAMK’s principles for ethical and open science are guided by its “Principles of openness”, which are transparently published on its website. Responsible research and Open Science are actively discussed and taken into consideration, as are the principles outlined by the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (TENK) and research ethics. Practices and awareness of what to do in case of misconduct or concerns over research ethics are in place, with digital badges and micro credentials for students, assuring that the research ethics are widely familiar and in use. There are also staff members in charge of helping both students and staff with IPR and contractual questions. 

Library and information services provide easily accessible and up-to-date guidelines and information on research ethics.  The audit team also heard about the two-week -long ”Deal Weeks”, where students get to explore real-life business projects and real-life cases with special attention being paid to ethical principles. These are a good example of how to teach and explore research ethics in practice.