Investments in wood competence

During the past two years companies, associations and foundations were invited to support the development of high-quality wood science teaching and availability. Significant sum of donations now enables initiation of the project.
Sun peaking through Finnish spruce forest

The aim of this project is to develop university-level wood science teaching in Aalto University and provide high-quality online courses to students of various backgrounds, but also to professionals in working life – or anyone interested in the topic. This is advanced by renewing some of the contents, increasing the number of courses and the share of online courses, which enables easier access to others than Aalto degree students. These steps could also raise more interest in the versatile and carbon-storing wood material and respond to the increasing need of wood expertise in different fields.  

More than 700 000 euros worth of donations enable realisation of this 5-year-project started in the beginning of 2023. The Dean of the Aalto School of Chemical Engineering Kristiina Kruus finds it significant that wood science teaching is also appreciated outside the university.

We are very satisfied for the realisation of this project and thankful to all donators!

Kristiina Kruus, Dean of the School of Chemical Engineering

Discussions with the donators brought to light the significance of wood education and will to invest in future know-how.

- Our foundation selects the donation causes based on our own analyses with the aim to enhance education to support the changing needs of our industries, says the Chairman of the board of Yrjö and Senja Koivusen foundation Mikko Niini.

- It has been shown that lack of know-how has been hindering the designing and building of wood constructions and therefore we want to support the development of teaching.
The founder of the foundation, businessman Yrjö Koivunen, who died in 1951 childless, wanted the foundation to support especially higher education of machine and wood engineering and help students to finish their studies, which he never had an opportunity.

- We are pleased to be able to target a significant donation to the future know-how in the wood field, which is very important to us, says Niini.

Demand for know-how

The project inspires Sweco because the company finds it important to keep wood construction and timber engineering going strong and secure the education of the field. Technology manager Hannes Tähtinen knows that wood is a living material and knowledge about its properties is essential in order to utilise it properly.

- Everyone working in the building sector or studying the field should have basic understanding of wood as a construction material but also knowledge of the behaviour of wood over the lifecycle, as well as methods for wood processing, says Tähtinen.

To enable wider availability of education, online courses developed in the project are also offered outside the university. These are for example:

  • Forests, wood, and carbon (5 credits)
  • Wood material science (5 credits)
  • Wood products and processes (5 credits)

Providing courses to a wider audience is piloted through Aalto Open University with Forests, wood, and carbon course starting already in April 2023.

Forests, wood, and carbon in Aalto Open University

Everyone interested are invited to join the open online courses and enhance sustainable and versatile use of wood!

Donors who have contributed to this project include Yrjö ja Senja Koivusen Säätiö sr, Huonekalusäätiö sr, Marjatta ja Eino Kollin Säätiö sr, Puumiesten ammattikasvatussäätiö sr, Tekniikan edistämissäätiö sr, Puuteollisuusyrittäjät ry, Suomen Puuteollisuusinsinöörien Yhdistys ry, UPM-Kymmene Oyj, Raute Oyj and Sweco Finland Oy.

More information on wood science teaching and research:
Prof. Lauri Rautkari
Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering
Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
[email protected]

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