Constructing a sustainable future requires us, as individual and societies, to have a holistic relation to the future. Development of futures thinking and futures learning increase the capacity of an individual to face a different futures and affect the shaping of the future.
A critical examination of individual values, assumptions and conceptions of the future as well as a community mindset and social responsibility are central to futures conscious culture and learning.
In our research, education, and development projects at FFRC we focus on futures consciousness, futures literacy, as well as futures learning and guidance. We also produce reports, facilitate futures oriented processes related to the future skills, competences and development needs within education and work life. As methods we use e.g. images of the future, scenarios, workshops, questionnaires and interviews, as well as futures guidance tools. Participatory methods and processes are central to our development work.
Ongoing Research and Development Projects:
Access to modern energy services has direct implications on every aspect of sustainable development. Lesotho is one of the world's Least Developed Countries (LDC) where many households do not have access to electricity (less than 50% have access to electricity, roughly 10% in rural areas 2019). In the electrified areas, the demand for electricity is growing at a fast pace, but the supply has not been able to catch up. Lesotho has an abundance of techno-economically exploitable renewable energy resources such as hydro, solar and wind.
Application of renewable energy resources and adoption of energy efficiency measures can provide sustainable energy solutions and reduce the effect of increasing energy demand on greenhouse gas emissions. One of the major barriers hindering sustainable energy use and production in Lesotho is the lack of knowledgeable and skillful human resources.
The collaboration project DEPLOY is carried out between the National University of Lesotho (NUL), University of Turku (UTU) and Aalto University (AU).
The main objectives of the project are to enhance internationalization activities between partner universities and to engage in capacity building at NUL to develop the quality of futures resilient sustainable energy education through the training of trainers approach.
Project activities focus on
- developing sustainable energy study content from a holistic perspective that incorporates supply and demand side considerations with a systemic lens;
- improving pedagogical expertise for the provision of high-quality, problem-based and digital sustainable energy education; and (3) enhancing internationalization activities, enabling the formation of long-term partnerships between NUL, UTU and AU through student and staff mobilities, research collaboration and networking.
The project also aims to disseminate and promote thematic knowledge on sustainable energy to industry, public sector, and to civil society, building a foundation for long-lasting collaboration between all major stakeholders.
An overarching challenge that the project addresses is the existential risk imposed by climate change. By promoting futures-resilient sustainable energy education in Lesotho and the internationalization between universities focusing on sustainable energy issues, the project addresses local educational needs, influences growth of green jobs in the sustainable energy sector and promotes mitigation responses to climate change
Funding: Finnish National Agency for Education EDUFI, 2022-2023
Further information: Osku Haapasaari
The general objective of the Entrepreneurial Skills for a Modern Education in Albania (EntrAL) project is to increase entrepreneurship in Albanian educational institutions (universities and schools) to support the skills of graduates so that they meet the demands of the labour market and modern society.
The project aims to promote an entrepreneurial mindset at the university and school levels by encouraging entrepreneurial teaching methods, nurturing students' entrepreneurial behaviour, and supporting student start-ups. Teachers are supported by the university's structure and mechanisms (LLL, staff activities); students receive better support and guidance from their teachers in relation to entrepreneurship and related skills, thus enhancing their employability after graduation.
University of Turku coordinates the three-year project that was launched in December 2021, involving following partners:
- The University of León, Spain,
- Technological University Dublin, Ireland,
- Albanian Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth, and
- eight Albanian universities:
- Sports University of Tirana,
- Aleksandër Moisiu University of Durrës,
- University Aleksander Xhuvani Elbasan,
- University Eqrem Çabej Gjirokaster,
- University Fan S. Noli Korce,
- University Luigj Gurakuqi Shkoder,
- University College Pavaresia Vlore, and
- University Ismail Qemali Vlore.
The project is part of KA2 Capacity building in the field of Higher -financed by Education of Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
Contact person: Vesa Hautala
Project website: https://entralproject.eu/
Futurists talk about future consciousness, but what is it, actually? How does a future conscious person or organization look like, what kinds of features or traits do they have?
Further information: Sanna Ahvenharju & Matti Minkkinen
The project focuses on the work life skills and connections of upper secondary and vocational education teachers and career counsellors in Northern Finland and Kainuu. Need for information of the current and future working life possibilities and networks already during secondary level studies are central in connecting with the world after graduation ase well as making meaningful educational and career choices. Project actions - new tools and methods will be developed and tested by teachers with their students - teacher training module with emphasis on learning-by-doing Project results - new ways of networking and improving work life connections of upper secondary schools and vocational schools - new tools and models for teachers and their students to explore the world of work and its possibilities both locally and regionally.
Timetable: 1st June 2023 - 31st May 2025
Partners: The project coordinator is Oulu University of Applied Sciences. Partners of the project are Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, University of Lapland and Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC) within the Turku School of Economics at the University of Turku.
Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, North Ostrobothnia, Finland.
Further information: Sari Miettinen & Johanna Ollila, FFRC
Erasmus+ project, titled "THE BIG GAME: Immersive and Multidisciplinary STEM Learning through A Cooperative Story-Driven Digital Game 2021–2024" is built upon the widely acknowledged necessity for the advancement of STEM education (STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) across Europe.
This initiative introduces an innovative teaching model tailored for 11–16 year-olds, aiming to address environmental issues through interactive games and digital storytelling. Furthermore, a key focus and objective of the project is to promote the digital revolution in schools. This is achieved by enhancing the diverse digital skills of both teachers and students, thereby fostering a more technologically adept educational environment.
Further information: Mikko Grönlund, Finland Futures Research Centre
The Erasmus+ partnership project, Inclusive Digital Learning (Dig-2-Inc), aims to enhance the academic skills of students across various educational levels, including secondary education, university of applied sciences, and those transitioning to higher education.
By addressing the needs of students from low socio-economic backgrounds, the project strives to mitigate educational inequalities. It focuses on developing academic skills, easing the transition into higher education, and ultimately reducing dropout rates. This international initiative brings together partners from Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, and Germany.
Further information: Mikko Grönlund, Finland Futures Research Centre
Professional Noticing to Improve Entrepreneurship Education (PROMISE) project seeks to tackle the task of instilling a comprehensive entrepreneurial mindset in college students. This move towards imparting essential soft skills is essential due to the uncertain job market and societal changes. Professional Noticing could play a role in nurturing entrepreneurship skills and helping students apply what they learn in practical situations.
Our project aims to contribute to the evolution of higher education in the 21st century by identifying new practices that enable effective teaching of entrepreneurial competences. The project develops pedagogy that enables university teachers to support students' preparation for various professional situations in working life, and it has a specific focus on entrepreneurship education. PROMISE promotes the working life orientation of education and supports the growth of students into experts.
University of Turku coordinates the three-year project that was launched in December 2022, involving:
- Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain,
- Universität für Weiterbildung Krems, Austria,
- European University Continuing Education Network, Spain,
- European E-Learning Institute, Denmark, and
- Momentum, Ireland.
The project is part of KA220-HED - Cooperation partnerships in higher education funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.
Contact person: Vesa Hautala
Project website: https://professionalnoticing.eu/
The REFORD Project refers to “research-based and future-oriented curriculum review and development for teacher education” at the University of Nairobi and Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya. It aims to support students to acquire skills needed in 21st century life and the labour market.
Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) was launched for basic education in Kenya in 2017. The current focus is on rolling out CBC in higher education institutions and teacher education. The research to be conducted under the proposed project will specifically strengthen the designing of curricula, improve the quality of delivery of teacher preparation programmes, and thus, strengthen the preparedness of the higher education institutions to implement the CBC.
The future horizon is changing constantly. Education in the Global South must meet aspirations of sustainability. To expedite the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), educational structures need to provide relevant competences, models, and a future-oriented mindset that sustains our 21st century lives.
This project received funding under the Spring 2022 GINTL Project Funding from the University of Helsinki.
Further information: Joni Karjalainen
UNESCO Chair in Learning Society and Futures of Education project is part of the global Futures Literacy network coordinated by UNESCO. The project develops futures education contents and methods for informal and formal education that can be utilized worldwide.
Further information: Markku Wilenius & Laura Pouru