2.4 The HEI’s examples of successful enhancement activities

Career design lab

To help our students, alumni and other lifewide learners prepare for changes in working life, in 2021 we launched a new service concept called Career Design Lab. Its purpose is to facilitate creative career design and lifewide learning, develop new forms of alumni and employer collaboration, and strengthen Aalto’s impact in shaping a sustainable future of work. In the Career Design Lab, CoDesigner collaboration companies are invited to join us in developing radically creative career designs and lifewide learning.

Strategic corporate partnerships

We have been systematically developing corporate collaborations with a focus on long-term, multidisciplinary strategic and thematic collaborations. Corporate collaboration includes research projects, educational and innovation cooperation and recruitment services for companies, career design for students, and, increasingly, lifewide learning opportunities. With our strategic corporate partners, we strive for a sustainable future by building capacity and investing in mutually beneficial, long-term collaborations.

The collaborations are developed by the Corporate Relations team together with the university leadership and researchers. Through collaborations, we can better develop our operations and the quality of our research and education, as well as meeting the future needs of businesses and more quickly providing research results and skilled experts to benefit society. Long-term partnerships and participation in key multilateral networks give Aalto a broader societal impact and a more stable financial base.

Open science services

Aalto University has adopted the general guiding principle of open science: research outputs (scientific publications, research data, methods, software code and infrastructure) should be as open as possible and as closed as necessary. Our services for researchers are extensive. In addition to a standard service organisation that helps researchers open their research articles and data, we have also established a service network of ‘data agents’ whose primary job is research but who devote a fraction of their working hours to supporting their colleagues in area-specific data management. We also have a service address (researchdata@aalto.fi) which is read by a team of data experts (IT specialists, legal counsels, data agents and information specialists). We offer research data management training openly to anyone interested, reaching audiences in several European countries. We also network with similar endeavours at other universities (e.g., Unite, TU Delft).

Activities related to open science and research are part of academic work and are considered impact merits in recruitment and career promotion decisions. Aalto University’s significant infrastructures are open to academic researchers and industry professionals.

HGSE COVID-19 situation room

The Helsinki Graduate School of Economics (HGSE) is an academic initiative bringing together three Finnish universities – Aalto University, Hanken School of Economics, and the University of Helsinki. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HGSE, which usually has a strong emphasis on teaching, undertook a ground-breaking initiative to help society. HGSE established a situation room that provided information to support economic policy decision-making during the pandemic. The aim of the situation room was to provide near-realtime information on developments in the corporate sector, the labour market and society as a whole. This information was provided in the form of graphs and other material in a regularly updated public database. For example, an HGSE report was cited in the Finnish Government’s publication about the societal impact of the COVID-19 crisis in Finland.