New seed-funded projects strengthen research and education cooperation on sustainable development between Finnish and Asian partners.
The University of Turku has a long history of conducting research and cooperation in Asia. For 16 years, the University has been a home for the Centre of East Asian Studies (CEAS) which is an academic research centre focusing on contemporary East Asia from the perspective of social sciences. CEAS also coordinates the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies (Asianet) and is involved in the new ReConnect China research project which recently received EU Horizon funding. In addition, the University coordinates the multidisciplinary Finland-China Network in Food and Health network. It has also been possible to study Chinese language as a major subject at the University since 2021.
The University’s collaboration with Asian partners was reinforced this year with two new projects which received University’s internal seed funding for Global Pilots of the Ministry of Education and Culture's Internationalisation Programme. The projects Finnish-ASEAN Academic Platform for Sustainable Development (FAPSU) and Finland-Asia Network for Sustainable Experience Design Education (SEDE-FAN) focus on collaboration between Finnish and Asian partners in promoting sustainable development.
Network Cooperation in Sustainability Education and Teaching
The objective of FAPSU project is to develop flexible online teaching on topics connected to sustainable development in equal and multivoiced partnership with universities of the Southeast Asian countries’ organisation ASEAN University Network (AUN). The project aims to design and implement two online courses that are based on problem-based teaching on sustainable development. The courses are designed and implemented together with two AUN thematic networks: Ecological Education and Culture and Sustainable Cities and Urban Development. As part of the project, the theme issues of the "Journal of Management for Global Sustainability" and "Journal of Infrastructure Development" edited by the Asian partners will also be delivered.
“FAPSU project responds to the current and future challenges of sustainable development by producing high-quality and awareness-raising teaching on the subject matter. The project will be implemented in equal cooperation and with emphasis on social and multicultural influence,” says University Lecturer Outi Luova from the Centre for East Asian Studies.
SEDE-FAN project also focuses on fostering sustainable development in teaching and education. However, the emphasis in the project is on sustainable experience design. The aim of is to develop a network of Finnish and Asian higher education institutions in which participants can exchange experiences and practices on sustainable experience design education. SEDE-FAN provides a platform on which education methods from different countries and contexts can be collected, shared, evaluated and developed together.
Seed Funding Creates a Basis for Long-Term collaboration with Asian Partners
SEDE-FAN and FAPSU projects aim for initiating and maintaining a long-term cooperation with Finnish and Asian partners. For example, collaboration between the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies and its sister network in Asia had been planned for a few years already. FAPSU project provided a great opportunity to join forces.
“When the seed funding call was announced by the University, we saw an opportunity to initiate a joint research and teaching project on sustainable development. Seed funding made it possible to kick off the project and our long-term objective is to create a basis for permanent cooperation with AUN and Finnish universities”, explains Luova.
In addition to the University of Turku, SEDE-FAN project network includes University of Oulu and Jamk University of Applied Sciences as well as universities from South Korea and Singapore. In the coming years, the plan is to expand the network into China and other countries the Southeast Asia.
“We are also interested in building local network within the City of Turku where the new Turku Design Studio will serve as a home for Sustainable Experience Design Education for broad audiences in Turku,” says Yong Se Kim, Professor of Mechanical Engineering.
The aim is also to get start-ups and other companies involved in the project to ensure that the work and results of the project can be utilised by industries. The kick-off event of the project was organised in Turku in August and the next events will take place in South Korea and Singapore.