University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University to Deepen Co-operation in Natural Sciences and Technology
​Geotalo has been in use since the beginning of the academic year and is located in Akatemiankatu 1.

​The geology units of both Universities and the Department of Archaeology of the University of Turku begin their new academic year in the shared building. The opening ceremony was held on Wednesday, 23 November 2016. The aim of the shared facilities is to enable the utilisation of synergy benefits in research and education.

– The most significant meaning of the building is that it increases the possibilities of the geology units of both Universities to keep up with the times and not be left outside the mainstream of science. In order for this possibility to be used in full, the expertise that is placed in the building needs to be used across the familiar administrative borders of universities, says Professor of Geology Matti Räsänen from the University of Turku.

The building that has been recently renovated by the Åbo Akademi University Foundation was designed by Erik Bryggman and opened its doors in 1951 under the name of Chemicum. The building has now received a new look and appropriate teaching facilities designed by Sigge Architects. The new facilities are still steeped in the Bryggman architecture.

– This shared building strengthens the research environment and raises geology research in Turku to a whole new level. All the five floors of the building have different functions, but there are also areas where students and researchers can work together or just spend time together. I am happy that the coexistence is fluent in two languages, says Professor of Geology and Mineralogi Olav Eklund from Åbo Akademi University.

Even though archaeology is by its phrasing of question a humanist discipline, its methods are partly natural scientific. The placement of archaeology in the building enables a more effective and diverse use of research, teaching and laboratory resources.

– Excavation, the most characteristic and central data collection method in archaeology, has been borrowed from geology. The processing of the found data requires laboratory facilities and equipment that are not provided by the Faculty of Humanities, says Professor of Archaeology Jussi-Pekka Taavitsainen from the University of Turku.

Universities in Turku Plan Shared Master's Level Education in Natural Sciences

The University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University plan shared Master's level education taught in English for students of natural sciences alongside with the Finnish and Swedish Master's level education, as well as closer co-operation in doctoral studies.
The purpose of the increasing co-operation is to create internationally attractive multilingual study paths in a high-quality and cost-effective manner. The aim is to make natural sciences and technology more interesting and to speed up the progress of studies.
– We want to improve the quality of education and research in natural sciences and technology, not only in Southwest Finland but on the national level. The purpose is to increase the amount, quality and visibility of research, says Rector Kalervo Väänänen from the University of Turku.
– I am convinced that this co-operation will raise the profile of natural sciences education, also from an international perspective. For example, the geology units of both Universities already have experience of close and fluent co-operation on Master's level, says Rector Mikko Hupa from the Åbo Akademi University.

Natural sciences related multidisciplinarity, which supports both the strategic focus areas of the Universities and regional development, is taken into account in the planning. The plan is to create shared education taught in English for Master's level students of both Universities. Bachelor's degrees would still be completed in Finnish in the University of Turku and in Swedish in Åbo Akademi University. It would still be possible to complete Master's degrees in Finnish and Swedish alongside with the English degrees.

Doctoral studies would be taught in English, which would enable close co-operation. The Universities in Turku have a long history in creating shared research infrastructure, for instance through the PET Centre and Centre of Biotechnology, and in the future, the aim is to increase the amount of joint procurements. The idea is to expand the coordination of procurements and the shared use of equipment to cover all activities in natural sciences and technology.
Photos: TS
Published date 12/7/2016 2:40 PM ,  Modified date 12/7/2016 2:54 PM

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