Five things to know about university impact

When you think about the powerhouses ensuring our societal and economical success, universities may not be the first thing to pop into mind. It's clear that a university's basic function is to provide education and advance scientific research, but what else is there?
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Photo: Kristian Presnal

1. Universities cultivate entrepreneurial mindset

Entrepreneurial thinking can be learned alongside academic studies. It's an approach that can be applied to anything, not just starting a company. The courage and curiosity to discover something new, cultivating an intrinsic motivation, taking ownership of your work, recognizing your mistakes but having the tenacity to get back up again are valuable skills in all walks of life. According to our questionnaire, 80% of Aalto students think that they could be entrepreneurs in the future.

2. Universities are active business generators

Research is a great platform for innovation and thus future founders. The Finnish business ecosystem is stronger thanks to university-born spinoffs, which have paved paths to the future in areas from quantum computing to sustainable textiles. Aalto alone has produced more than 2,000 research-born inventions since 2010.

3. Universities are on a mission to solve global grand challenges 

Research is vital to recognize and address global grand challenges, so universities are at the leading front of creating a more sustainable future. For example, new technologies are being developed to improve agriculture through advanced imaging and to reduce plastic waste with renewable, biobased insulation materials.

4. Corporations benefit from having universities as business allies

International competition is tough, and a research alliance with a university can offer competitive edge. Right now, universities and businesses are working together to create a large-scale 'hydrogen valley' in Baltic Sea area. Universities are also major providers for career design and lifewide learning, starting from programming through to special engineering skills. Aalto Executive Education hosts around 7,000 participants from 1,000 organisations annually. 

5. Universities stand up for science education for all ages

Nobody is too young or too old to get interested in science and arts. Do you want build a mobile app or dive into the history of architecture? Aalto reaches out to the public with hundreds of open university lectures and free MOOC courses. Aalto Junior engages with 28,000 school children each year, teaching them science and art through camps, events and lab visits. A variety of digital materials are provided for all aspiring researchers and artists to try at home.

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