The success of universities' innovation and enterprise activities was evaluated by MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The factors behind Aalto's successes in these areas were seen to stem from the grass roots and unbiased work conducted by gifted individuals at the university, the strong and fostering culture for startup enterprises, and the support of Aalto University's senior management team.
‒ It's fantastic to see that the excellent work done in Finland and specifically at Aalto University gets the recognition it deserves. We've achieved this by setting innovation and enterprise activities at the very core of Aalto University's operating principles since it was established. These activities are central to our teaching, research, and even the ways in which we make an impact on society, a delighted Vice President of Aalto University Hannu Seristö comments.
The MIT study evaluated the ways in which universities foster innovation, their research strengths, the orientation of students towards enterprise and entrepreneurship, and the support offered by the state.
In terms of the development of growth enterprises, Hannu Seristö sees both the groundbreaking work carried out by the university's students and the collaborations with businesses as significant factors driving this growth.
‒ Among other initiatives in this area, the training provided to young enterprises by experienced entrepreneurs in the Startup Sauna scheme has been tremendously important. This has been further supported by various governmental ministries and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. Indeed, a lot has already been achieved through effective teamwork, but there's plenty of work still to be done. High targets have been set and the competition is fierce. In the end, the decisive factor is striving to work harder than ever before, Seristö continues.
Aalto University was highlighted as one of five ‘rising stars’ in the MIT rankings. The universities in this category were seen to be operating in challenging environments and be capable of developing new inroads towards practical applications in conditions that are less favourable to innovation ecosystems. Joining Aalto University in this group are the University of Auckland (New Zealand), University of Michigan (USA), KAIST (South Korea), and Technion (Israel).
The rankings were topped by the three leading universities in the field: MIT (USA), Stanford University (USA), and University of Cambridge (UK). These institutions are universally renowned for their high levels of research and teaching, and the world-class innovations and inventions they produce. Aalto University has worked in close collaboration with Stanford University for many years.
Aalto University's emphasis on growth enterprise education is beginning to bear fruit. For example, the Aalto Ventures Programme (AVP) has seen around 300 undergraduate students being prepared for work in enterprise.
The MIT university rankings were published on 25 July 2014.
Creating university-based entrepreneurial ecosystems evidence from emerging world leaders (rhgraham.org, pdf)