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Exporting education to Shanghai

Aalto University is partnering in establishing a new College of Design and Innovation in China and in providing teaching.

China’s Ministry of Education has approved Aalto University’s and Shanghai-based Tongji University’s joint application to establish Shanghai International College of Design and Innovation (Shanghai D&I). It will start operating in 2017.

Programmes modelled to those of Aalto University

Aalto will produce approximately one-third of Shanghai D&I’s all teaching content.  Aalto University and Tongji University have been developing a curriculum based on Aalto University’s current high-quality master's programmes, which include International Design Business Management, Creative Sustainability, Collaborative and Industrial Design and the multidisciplinary minor subject, Aaltonaut.

To start with, the new Shanghai D&I would have four degree programmes.
- We will start by teaching cooperation, but the intention is to expand it later also to research, explains Turkka Keinonen, Head of Aalto University Department of Design.

The common aim is to get students with top talent to the College. For this reason, student selection for example, will be influenced by Aalto University’s selection criteria and mechanisms, which have been found to work well.

Part of China’s education reform

Shanghai D&I forms a part of the Tongji University, with which Aalto University has closely cooperated for years now. Tongji University is among China’s 15 best universities and the leading one for example in the field of architecture and that of urban and regional planning.

- Along with the new College, better opportunities for international cooperation for the students and staff of Aalto University are opening up, rejoices Aalto University’s President Tuula Teeri.

As part of the education reform in the whole of China, the goals of Shanghai D&I are high. China has set its sights into transforming itself into an industrial country on a sustainable basis, and education provides the base and expertise for this change. Shanghai is China’s biggest city and an important centre for education, research and business. It also aspires to become the centre of design and innovation. Both the City of Shanghai and China's Ministry of Education are strong supporters of these activities.

Professor Lou Yongqi, Dean of Shanghai D&I tells that the College is the result of long term collaboration of Tongji and Aalto.
- It's a brand new joint effort of future higher education in the field of design and innovation, especially when dealing with large, complex problems that involve multiple disciplines. Shanghai is a great laboratory for developing and test this kind of new models, says Professor Lou.

Tongji Lounge, on the Otaniemi campus, is a meeting point in the Aalto-Tongji co-operation. Photo: Aalto University Mikko Raskinen.

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