Research cooperation between Finland and the USA to be strengthened in the fields of learning and education

A research cooperation project focusing on learning and education and funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Academy of Finland and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, has been launched. The first research projects jointly organised by Finnish and American research units are now beginning.

“The American and Finnish researchers participating in the projects have a joint research plan. During the discussions, workshop and project preparations organised between the NSF, the Academy of Finland and Tekes, research subjects such as learning through games, the challenges set by a multicultural setting and making use of information technology and social media were selected,” says Director Eero Silvennoinen from Tekes.

As a whole, the research projects cover learning on a wide scale. The aim is to examine learning in schools and educational institutions, but also in working life. The shared research problems and methods have been discussed and the distribution of duties has been agreed upon.

“We face the same research challenges as our American partners and we will tackle these challenges together. As a result of this new cooperation opportunity, we will be one step closer to US businesses and we will be able to produce the type of know-how that can later be commercialised and turned into business,” explains Director Jari Multisilta, who is coordinating the research cooperation at the University of Helsinki.

”The coordination of the research activities will ensure that the projects will form a logical entity and not just a group of separate studies. The aim is to create a virtual institute around mathematical and natural sciences and introduce new solutions and methods for learning," continues Multisilta, who will also lead a research project exploring the use of panoramic videos in learning mathematics and science.

The planned virtual institute will include intense research cooperation, researcher exchanges, joint meetings and the creation of joint demonstrations. A total of nine joint projects are being launched and Tekes is participating in the funding of three projects with a contribution of one million euros.

A passionate and ambitious approach to research

Post-Doctoral Researcher Niina Nurmi from Aalto University is studying the effects cultural differences and time differences have on the well-being and learning of members of global teams. The research will include interventions that will help teams learn more stable cooperation methods for projects carried out in several time zones.

“During the project, Finnish and American researchers will learn how to use and combine different research methods by following each other and expand their theoretical knowledge base. We are expecting the cooperation of the research groups to yield new innovative research methods and boost the ambition of our researchers,” Niina Nurmi says.

”We will also have the opportunity to collect research data that would not be available to the Finns or the Americans if they were working on their own.”

For Tekes, the cooperation is part of the Learning Solutions programme that combines solutions for businesses, learning in schools and educational institutions, and research aiming at the development of know-how. In this partnership programme, Tekes will, together with other co-funders, fund project entities or value network projects related to themes that are agreed upon on an annual basis. The aim of the programme is to develop nationally significant learning solutions in cooperation with actors in the field, develop new methods, create new competence and develop products, services and comprehensive solutions for international markets.

Further information:

Eero Silvennoinen, Director
Tel. +358 (0)50 5577 813

Pekka Ollikainen, Programme Manager, Learning Solutions programme
Tel. +358 (0)50 5577 758

Jari Multisilta, Director, Professor, Dr. Tech.
University of Helsinki, Cicero Learning
Tel. +358 (0)50 568 8593

News release by the Academy of Finland

National Science Foundation (NSF)  

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