2.4 The HEI’s examples of successful enhancement activities

New European Bauhaus (NEB) partnership

In the summer of 2021, Metropolia was selected as the official partner of the NEB initiative launched by the European Commission. NEB’s values – sustainable, inclusive, and enriching – as well as its operating practice and interdisciplinary and creative nature to solve social challenges are manifested in the operations of innovation hubs. The NEB partnership offers Metropolia cooperation networks with European cities, higher education institutions and civic organizations. This will enable Metropolia to both develop its competence and apply it to the implementation of A European Green Deal on the EU-level, nationally and regionally. The NEB partnership is a key method of strengthening Metropolia’s role as an actor in the EU.

The NEB Festival in Brussels in the summer of 2022, gathered together Finnish NEB actors and parties interested in the initiative jointly with Archinfo, the Finnish Association of Local and Regional Authorities, and the Helsinki EU Office. In the annual conference of the Eurocities network of large cities in Espoo in June 2022, Metropolia organised a NEB-themed co-creation workshop together with the City of Espoo to promote sustainable urban development.

As a NEB partner, Metropolia is a member of a European partner network to build future visions and operating practices. They expedite the adoption of a sustainable lifestyle. As an example of this, Metropolia introduced the results of the joint European Augmented Urbans project at the NEB Festival. The results indicate how the inclusion of urban residents in the planning of their living environment can be strengthened through technology.

The HyMy Village collaboration platform

The HyMy Village (Hyvinvointia Myllypurosta) is a learning environment and collaboration platform within Metropolia’s Customer-oriented well-being and health services. The HyMy Village started operating in 2020. Its establishment was based on a need to shrink the regional health gaps in East Helsinki and the role of the HEI as a provider of solutions to challenges emerging as a result of the health and social services reform. During the spring of 2021, the HyMy Village’s  social and health services provided in connection with teaching was visited by more than 3,500 customers. More than 950 Metropolia students completed their studies in the HyMy Village.

The HyMy Village promotes well-being and health in East Helsinki, offers flexible solutions and unhurried services, as well as involves customers in the training of future social and health care talents. Students receive professional practice in working with customers and in personalised service design and innovative development and entrepreneurship. The services and specialists are not separated into social and health care, but students practice multidisciplinary consulting during the studies. The Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland granted Metropolia a license to provide private health care services starting from 26 March 2021. The provided services include physiotherapy, podiatry, osteopathy, optometry, occupational therapy, and dental hygiene services. They are provided at HyMy Village in conjunction with the social and health care studies.

Students are included in the development of new service concepts jointly with the partners. The most important developer partners are the city residents and communities. HyMy Village’s Pit Stop provides low-threshold, free-of-charge counselling services for city residents, and the family café pilot has been developed jointly with the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL). During their studies, the students can apply for the role of the village manager. As the village manager, the student participates in a multidisciplinary developer team and is given more responsibility and a greater role in the development of the operational activities of the HyMy Village.

Operating in the Health Proof Helsinki ecosystem

Health Proof Helsinki (HPH) is a joint project coordinated by Metropolia. It brings together the RDI services of HUS, the City of Helsinki, and Metropolia Proof Health. The outcome is an entity which offers testing environments and specialist services for well-being and health technology companies. The HPH forms in the Helsinki area an ecosystem of well-being and health technology actors which supports the RDI activities and has international networks. In the ecosystem, Metropolia’s task is to coordinate the cooperation and provide early-stage preclinical testing environments and expertise. The shared objective is to provide companies in the industry a smooth access to tripartite expertise and facilities in the various stages of their product development activities.

A part of the ecosystem, Metropolia Proof Health (MPH) , located on the Myllypuro campus, is an interdisciplinary collaboration and development platform engaging in RDI activities which provide preclinical research and testing services for companies and research institutions in the well-being and health technology sector. The MPH provides companies, research institutions and public sector actors a modern environment, flexible processes and extensive expertise in preclinical testing, piloting, validation, and verification. The MPH experts represent social and health care, technology, and digitalization as well as business and may also assume the role of teachers. The MPH supports early-stage brainstorming, conceptualization and testing in environments corresponding to authentic care facilities, for example in a simulation hospital. Product development in health technology (e.g. the development of medical devices) is regulated. It requires special expertise which companies and students can accumulate in the MPH.

Students in the social and health care sector, technology, and business work in MPH projects. Among other things, they participate in the projects through work placement, theses and the MINNO studies. Participation accumulates their RDI competence and ability to work in a networked setting. Students increase their understanding of medical research and research into medical devices and understand the interfaces and possibilities of basic research and applied research. The research to business chain becomes more familiar to them and provides the students with a view to entrepreneurship in authentic projects carried out with companies. They gain competence in the management of the ethical perspectives related to open science and product development as well as copyright and NDA matters. About students in the social and health care sector, it is important to note how digitalization and technology (robotics, remote services, AI applications) affect the competence needs in the social and health care sector. In the MPH, students strengthen their health technology competence and ability to assess, also critically, technological solutions in work with customers.