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Finns join forces in the name of Innovation

In Finland, the Ministry of Education has recently published a proposal to create an Innovation University through merging three existing universities: Helsinki School of Economics (HSE), University of Art and Design Helsinki (TAIK) and Helsinki University of Technology (TKK). According to the mission statement, the Innovation University will employ research and education to support the success of Finland in the international economy. On top of this, the university is expected to make a positive contribution to Finnish society, its technology, economy, culture and increase the visibility of the country in the global higher education market. The not-so-modest goal for the new university is to make it one of the leading institutions in the world in terms of research and education in its own specialised disciplines by 2020. The Innovation University starts operating in August 2009.

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. The merger aims not only to solidify the co-operation between innovation and business, but also includes the governmental sector, making it a tripartite relationship.  

The creation of a merged university might be a good, and perhaps the only, opportunity for a demographically small country like Finland to gain important visibility and to grab their share of the pie in the global competition for excellent students and researchers.

Innovation University