Strategy as a foundation for developing RDI activities
The RDI activities in 2014 started with more precise specification of the Lapland UAS strategy and areas of emphasis, and directing the RDI activities in the strategic areas of emphasis. The large amount of information on the needs of stakeholders that was collected as a basis for strategy made a good starting point for user-oriented RDI activities. The schools have organised their activities in RDI groups and teams in accordance with the top fields of expertise. The aim was to launch multidisciplinary and strategy-oriented projects. One example is the From Borders to Shared Space (BOSS) development project financed by the Ministry of Education and Culture, in which all the schools participated.
The new EU programming period as a challenge and opportunity
In 2014, the RDI activities faced a challenge: the changing of the EU programming period and the slow start of the new EU programmes. In spite of this, financing for regional RDI projects has been received for the new programming period, and investments have been made for the planning of international projects in accordance with the strategic areas of emphasis. Two projects that Lapland UAS is involved with have been approved for the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. One project has also started in the Northern Periphery and Arctic programme and another in the Erasmus+ programme.
Lapland UAS develops the region
The personnel have participated in the planning of the Regional Development Plan of Lapland and the Regional Strategic Programme for Lapland, or the Lapland Agreement. In fact, the university of applied sciences plays an important role in implementing the Lapland Agreement within the scope of its strategy.
The Innovation Programme of the Universities of Lapland has been planned and approved. The chosen pilot themes are recycling economy and side streams, Arctic design and sustainable wellbeing, equality and accessible hospitality. All the pilot themes also involve strengthening the region’s international financing competence.
Partnerships and promoting the competitiveness of business
The starting points were the strong national and international partnerships that the Kemi-Tornio and Rovaniemi Universities of Applied Sciences had in the public and business sectors, which were diversified to apply to the entire Lapland UAS in 2014. Indeed, the diversity of the university of applied sciences offers its partners versatile RDI and educational services. The overall development of partnership management has been started.
The strategy of Lapland UAS is based on taking the views of the local interest groups into account and committing them. The RDI activities are area-oriented and user-oriented. Project planning, for example, uses participatory workshop methods that enable efficient mapping of user needs. At the same time, it commits both staff and partners to carry out goal-oriented joint development work.
Integration in instruction from the viewpoint of RDI activities
One of the starting points of planning RDI activities and projects has been the integration of instruction and RDI activities. The teachers have participated in planning projects, which has made it possible to already take integration into account in the planning phase. The RDI staff, on the other hand, have taught subjects connected to the top fields of expertise, thus transferring the national and international top expertise acquired in RDI projects into instruction. The RDI activities have played a significant role in master’s degree programmes. For example, they have been a part of the national development programme for second-cycle polytechnic programmes financed by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Master's degree programmes as part of RDI service activities
The Master’s Degree Unit, which is part of RDI services, started operations on 1 January 2014. The objective of the unit’s operations was to be the centralised body responsible for the master’s degree programmes organised by Lapland UAS.
During its first operating year, the Master’s Degree Unit developed joint processes for all master’s degrees and launched a strong cross-disciplinary programme for the master’s degree students who started studies in autumn 2014. The operational milestones of the year included highly successful student recruitment by the Master’s Degree Unit and a great increase in the number of completed degrees.
The operations of the Master’s Degree Unit put a special focus on developing RDI integration between RDI projects and master’s degree programmes. The Master’s Degree Unit also participated in a national project for turning master’s degree programmes into strong RDI operators (“YAMK-koulutus vahvaksi TKI-toimijaksi”) financed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The project has involved a pilot of a multidisciplinary thesis unit aimed at regional development, among other things.
The publication workgroup worked hard throughout the year, outlining the principles of publication activities, which were used to draw up the necessary guidelines and an intranet service website to assist publishers. An online work cycle system was created for the stages of publishing in the university’s own publication series, and the central processes were described.
Towards the end of the year, a publication compensation system was adopted, writing classes were organised for the personnel and work teams were given the opportunity to order writing workshop days. The unequivocal aim of the development work was to remove obstacles from publishing and encourage the staff to actively share their expertise in the form of publications. This was successful, and the target result for the year was exceeded.