Give for the future

Opportunities taking flight

New creations are possible with the support of foundations and associations. The Land and Water Technology Foundation (Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki ry) has enabled water technology research and doctoral education reach the top. The donation from The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland (Svenska kulturfonden) is used to develop activities and teaching in Swedish. Active contacts between funders and universities promote the effectiveness of the support.
Male student working on some wires.

The Land and Water Technology Foundation, MVTT (Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki ry), is a long-term supporter and partner in the teaching and research of water technology at Aalto University. ‘Aalto University conducts top-level research in the water sector. Finland has extensive expertise in the sector and an opportunity to be a global pioneer in, for example, water diplomacy and water purification technologies. Climate change causes drought, floods and heavy rainfall, all of which are matters related to water,’ says Minna Maasilta, Managing Director of MVTT.

‘MVTT’s support has enabled long-term and strategic development of water technology research. Their support has been valuable in making new openings. Funding for professorships of practice is also very important to us,’ says Olli Varis, Professor of Water Resources Management at Aalto University. The five-year Majakka programme funded by MVTT developed a new type of doctoral education. The pilot showed that dissertations can be done differently, and it produced a lot of new information to Aalto.

MVTT publishes the leading Vesitalous magazine, in which Aalto’s experts are actively involved. ‘We hope that our cooperation with Aalto continues to be smooth and creative. We want to speed up the flow of opportunities and let them take flight,’ says Maasilta.

Swedish language in an important position at Aalto

The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland (Svenska kulturfonden), which supports Swedish-speaking culture and education in Finland, recently donated 125,000 euros to Aalto. The donation is used for developing Swedish-language teaching and activities. Aalto has approximately 14,000 students, of whom about 1,000 are Swedish-speaking.

‘The government matching funding campaign was a big incentive for us. It’ll increase the value and impact of the donation,’ says Berndt-Johan Lindström, education ombudsman at The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland. ‘For example, we’re very interested in Aalto University Junior’s activities, and we hope that Swedish-speaking schools will also have an opportunity to participate in the activities. We’re also following Aalto’s artificial intelligence research with great interest. It’s important that bilingualism is taken into account from the beginning, for example, in the development of robots in the care sector,’ Lindström continues.

Supporting Aalto University’s Swedish-language activities also promotes cooperation opportunities with Nordic universities. ‘A relatively large number of students in Finland go to Swedish universities, but the number of students coming to Finland from Sweden is considerably smaller. We hope that Nordic cooperation will help increase the number of students arriving from Sweden,’ says Lindström.

Foundations are genuinely interested in the kind of impact they can have with their support.

Liisa Suvikumpu, CEO at the Association of Finnish Foundations

University tour introducing foundations

Liisa Suvikumpu, CEO at the Association of Finnish Foundations that represents Finland’s most important foundations and funds giving grants, encourages funders and universities to maintain contact and dialogue. ‘Foundations are genuinely interested in the kind of impact they can have with their support. Wellbeing of the people working in research projects is also important for foundations.’

In April 2022, a university tour of Association of Finnish Foundations was launched. It provides new opportunities for meetings with donors and representatives of universities. ‘On this tour that our members wished for a long time, representatives of foundations, university staff and researchers can meet each other to exchange ideas. We were happy to start the tour at Aalto,’ says Suvikumpu.

‘I want to encourage different actors to actively engage with the foundations. They’re very curious to hear how society is doing and how we can take matters forward together.’

Text: Marjukka Puolakka

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