Building cooperation and interdisciplinary understanding at international doctoral course
This is the best Aalto University course I have ever attended, was the view of many students when asked to sum up the Bit Bang post-graduate course.
The Bit Bang course, now held for the third time, provides an Aalto-sized study module where the articles written in spring and autumn as group assignments will appear in a joint English-language publication given out at the end of the academic year.
The doctoral candidates participating in the course come from different branches of science, covering such fields as law, nanosciences and film directing. This year, there were students representing 11 different nationalities.
Professor Yrjö Neuvo, head of the MIDE research programme organising the course and the initiator of Bit Bang, sums up Bit Bang as follows:
– Rich, multidisciplinary and multinational interaction and the input of the students to this extremely demanding course show that Aalto University really generates added value for doctoral studies.”
There is an application round for the course each summer. One indication of the popularity of Bit Bang is that many alumni of earlier courses have applied to take part again as tutors. A tutor is always selected for each group assignment. The tutor’s task is to ensure that the teamwork proceeds smoothly.
The interdisciplinary nature of the course is the key to its success
This year, the focus was on the world of entrepreneurship and service business. In multidisciplinary teams, the students were able to create visions on such matters as the structure and role of services in the future. The proposals included a mobile container hotel relocatable in accordance with weather and other conditions and a mobile application allowing motorists seeking parking places in cities and towns to check the areas with the highest ticketing frequency.
The interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to teamwork has attracted a great deal of praise. The advantage of multiform teamwork is that people are able to look at well-worn subjects from new angles.
– In my a view, the course has one important plus: it offers a wonderful opportunity to learn from other branches of science and to network inside Aalto, says Daniel Graff, a German doctoral candidate who is working on his thesis on international business at Aalto University School of Economics. This was his second Bit Bang course.
Bit Bang means a great deal of work: Studying background literature, lectures, an intense study tour to a place shedding light on the themes of the course, and writing of articles as teamwork. However, in the words of Leena Sivill, who is writing her dissertation on energy economy, the year of hard work can be summed up as follows:
– It was a privilege to take part in this course. The course is now ending and we will be going our different ways. However, I hope that we will be able to convey the same spirit and enthusiasm in whatever work we will end up doing.
Text: Annika Artimo
Multidisciplinary Institute of Digitalisation and Energy (MIDE), a research program on digitalisation and energy technology at the Aalto University, carries out important long-term projects aimed at creating high-level expertise, strengthening teaching and increasing the competitiveness of Finnish business and industry. MIDE is building cooperative groups where the expertise areas of research groups are combined in a broadly-based fashion. The objective is to achieve significant synergies in planning of projects, carrying them through and exploiting their results.
The next course (Bit Bang 4) will have the future of Internet as its theme. The application will start during the month of June. Check the website of MIDE
The publications produced as part of earlier Bit Bang courses can be viewed at