DEEP – Water Well-being Challenge

Water is the crown jewel of the Nordic nature. From the Baltic Sea to trickling streams, the purist lakes, and flowing rivers, the Nordic countries have water resources unlike any other part of the world. Yet, most of these resources remain under-used – or are used in an unsustainable way. With new solutions, these unique bodies of water could become a shared fountain of physical and mental well-being. They could foster both communality amongst the locals and new tourism.

DEEP – Water Well-being Challenge aims to create concrete solutions for the two different challenges. The two challenges bring together academics from multiple disciplines and actors from the public, private, and third sector to co-create solutions for well-being and sustainable business from lakes, rivers or the Baltic Sea.

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Helsinki Think Company, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)

The University of Helsinki's Sustainability Master Class is a challenge-based program for students, young researchers and professionals. Every Master Class is unique, as the programs are designed in collaboration with a partner organization around a specific theme and challenges. 

Master class is:

  • a challenge-based learning experience for forward-looking minds from academia, business world and society
  • a co-creation platform to generate new ideas, solutions, skills and knowledge
  • an inspiring partnership program to adopt new working tools and innovation approaches and build a vision for the future

Each Master Class is built around one main theme and a number of related challenges. Some 40 participants are selected for the program following an open call, and every participant will choose their challenge. Master Class teams form around the challenges, and start working towards solving their challenge. Master Class program consists of four months of facilitated teamwork - teams gather to clinics, science camp and bootcamp to boost the development of their solution and learn new working methods.

The latest partner organization has been Valio and the challenges focused on nutrition, food waste reduction and the well-being of milk producers.

TRY OUT! is a co-creational and experimentative platform aiming at strengthening emerging business models in cleantech, circular economy and smart city. The project is carried out by Turku University of Applied Sciences, University of Turku, Demos Helsinki and University of Helsinki. 

The main objectives of the project are:
1. To promote the creation of an innovation platform for circular economy and cleantech
2. To look for functional business opportunities for circular economy and cleantech by experimenting
3. To enable the creation of new market-led solutions and services
4. To implement cooperation in terms of product development, innovations or commercialization between cities, companies, higher education institutions, other RDI actors and customers in a way which is concrete and supports being a pioneer
5. To increase business and employment within the field and through these, the well-being of regions
6. With measures, to promote the system level change of cities and higher education institutions both in development activities in general and especially in the development of circular economy and cleantech

HELSUS supports the project in creating a new innovation platform to promote circular and bio economy so that good science-based solutions will be acknowledged also in the future.

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Corporate Responsibility Mini Challenge with UPM. Local communities have an increasingly important role in the decision making processes of companies around the world. Building sustainable relations to the surrounding community is crucial in modern business as we are all linked together. This is why we talk of ecosystems. But how can we strengthen the interaction between the company and the community?

These were the questions university students from various fields dove into during a weekend-long Mini Challenge organized by Helsinki Think Company and UPM in October 2017. During the intensive workshop teams of students developed new, scalable ways for UPM to interact with local communities in factory cities. The weekend culminated in a pitching final and left both the participants and UPM representatives with new ideas and inspiration.