Turku and Tamkang Deepen Co-operation in Futures Studies
Futures researchers from Turku and Tamkang met at the beginning of the year in Tamkang, and this summer an MOU was signed in Turku.

​The collaboration in futures studies between Turku School of Economics and Tamkang University has been longstanding. For example, for four years now the Futures1 How Can we Explore the Future course has been jointly planned and implemented.

– Together, we've planned the teaching contents, distributed expert introductions, and created joint learning materials, notes Coordinator Sari Söderlund from the Finland Futures Research Centre.

The MOU that was signed in Turku further deepens this co-operation.

– With this agreement, we will strengthen our student and teacher exchanges. We have also discussed creating a joint degree. Both sides are interested in deepening our co-operation, and now the prerequisites for creating an internationally competitive curriculum exist, says Söderlund.

Different Cultures Influence Futures Studies

Tamkang University has named itself a future university. Over the last couple of years, the significance of futures research as a strategic focus area has also strengthened in Turku.

– For example, we offer a Master's and doctorate programme in English, a minor subject in Finnish, a degree programme in sustainable development, the Finland Futures Academy's Futures1 course, the Open University, as well as the CFP Certified Foresight Professional programme. Our co-operation is mutually beneficial and our universities have much to give to one another, says Söderlund.

The co-operation has produced valuable information on how different cultures and regions view futures research.

– As a science, futures studies is formed differently in different cultural areas, and this co-operation enriches our understanding of our discipline's contents and methods in Asia and Europe, notes Söderlund.

Opening Doors for Others

According to Söderlund, Finland has a lot to offer in, for example, evaluating and promoting the quality of futures studies, developing innovative research applications, providing new visionary contents, as well as the sophistication of its futures research scientific community.

– Taiwan is especially interested in Finland's expertise in integrating futures thinking into society and decision-making.

Even though the MOU is between the universities' futures research units, according to Söderlund it opens up possibilities for co-operation between other disciplines as well.

– Tamkang University emphasises the multidisciplinary nature of futures studies and offers futures studies courses as part of its degree-related teaching. Their focus areas are society, technology, the environment, the economy and politics. In addition, the university offers a separate Master's degree programme in futures studies, tells Söderlund.

CAPTION: Coordinator Sari Söderlund (left) and Professor Sirkka Heinonen met Assistant Professor of Futures Studies Mei-Mei Song from Tamkang University in Taiwan.

Text: Erja Hyytiäinen
Translation: Sam Parwar

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Published date 7/31/2015 10:25 AM ,  Modified date 7/31/2015 10:34 AM

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