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President Kersti Kaljulaid highlighted industry collaboration

President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid visited Tampere University of Technology during her state visit to Finland. The President and her entourage visited Kampusareena, SMACC, and TUTLab. President Kaljulaid also gave a speech at the Campus Club.
Students demonstrated TUTLab equipment to President Kersti Kaljulaid during her visit to Tampere University of Technology.
Students demonstrated TUTLab equipment to President Kersti Kaljulaid during her visit to Tampere University of Technology.

The new President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid arrived with her spouse to Tampere on 8 March, the second day of her first official state visit. The presidential couple’s visit to Tampere was hosted by the Chair of Tampere City Council Sanna Marin, Mayor Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, and President of TUT Mika Hannula. The President’s first destination was Tampere University of Technology.

After introductory speeches at Kampusareena, Kaljulaid visited TUTLab and watched students demonstrate the use of the laboratory’s equipment. On display were some miniature models of amusement park rides designed by TUT students and created with TUTLab equipment. The laboratory’s laser cutter, 3D printer, embroidery machine, and CNC router likewise garnered much interest from the press photographers.

According to Dean Jyrki Vuorinen, who hosted President Kaljulaid’s visit to TUTLab, the President was very interested in technical details.

“The President mused that, in some ways, we are returning to old methods. Before, we used to draw models by hand, and now we design them on the computer and then create them with 3D printers,” Vuorinen said.

As a parting gift the President and her spouse received two barn swallows, the Estonian national bird, skillfully made with TUTLab’s 3D printer and CNC router.

Important collaboration between universities, cities, and companies

President Kaljulaid concluded her visit with a speech at the Campus Club. A recording of the speech can be viewed on TUT’s YouTube channel. The President’s speech concerned the Triple Helix model of collaboration between universities, companies, and cities, which she considers to be of great importance.  As an example, she discussed University of Tartu’s campus in the industrial area of Narva.

“The university has grown into a central operator that decision-makers and companies alike consult in matters concerning local development,” President Kaljulaid said.

Traditionally, universities have affected society through innovations made there and then commercialized for societal use. According to Kaljulaid, time has moved on and brought new challenges to universities.

“As society develops into a more service-based society, it is becoming more difficult to measure the true societal effect universities have. Nevertheless, universities continue to produce new information and training for the benefit of all society. Universities should not shyly keep to their traditional role, but instead consider how their expertise could be better utilized in the service sector,” Kaljulaid said.

President Kaljulaid was especially interested in industry collaboration at TUT and was presented with some examples of it at Kampusareena.

“TUT does not just collaborate with the industry in practical matters, but we also conduct scientific research in collaboration with industry operators,” President of TUT Mika Hannula said.

“The new possibilities brought by Tampere3 will be the next step in this collaboration. The different profiles of the three different higher education institutions will facilitate even better collaboration between technology experts and the fields of business, medical research, cultural and social studies, and many other fields of study.”

The President’s speech at the Campus Club was attended by some 50 members of the presidential delegation, members of an Estonian business delegation, and invited guests.

“It was a pleasure to hear President Kaljulaid’s perceptive and contemporary views on the collaboration between universities and companies,” commented TUT Industry Professor Matti Sommerberg.

Photo: Hanna Leppänen

News submitted by: Riku Haapaniemi
Keywords: about tut