Internationality, the chosen theme of 2022 for the three Universities of Applied Sciences (3AMK) strategic alliance, was the starting point for the network meetings organized in Brussels by Helsinki EU Office. This article brings some insights into those meetings.
The purpose of the networking events was to gain benefits and add value for 3AMK strategic alliance and its research and development (R&D) activities, in addition to strengthening its shared thematic R&D heads by bench-learning with European networks and other collaboration partners. For these aims, Helsinki EU Office is a natural partner to support the international ambitions of the 3AMK, as all three of these Universities of Applied Sciences – Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia – are their active and dynamic members. Helsinki EU Office specializes in promoting the interests of its members at the EU level while creating strategically impactful partnerships and increasing member visibility in Brussels.
Helsinki EU Office organized an impactful hybrid event on the 29th of March on the urban development in the EU, sharing insights on the next steps of the European Urban Initiative in the current EU framework period (2021-2027). Moreover, Helsinki EU Office organized several networking meetings with relevant European networks such as ERRIN and UAS4EUROPE for the delegation of the 3AMK strategic alliance. Helsinki EU Office is an active member of ERRIN (European Regions Research and Innovation Network), a Brussels-based network aiming to strengthen regional and local dimensions in the EU R&D policymaking. Furthermore, UAS4EUROPE is the leading network of European Universities of Applied Sciences, representing more than 450 UAS in Europe. In particular, the exchanges with the Chair of the UAS4EUROPE Management Committee proved that the strategic interests of the 3AMK alliance are well in alignment with their European counterparts. The overall mission of UAS4EUROPE is to strengthen the involvement of UAS in European R&D policymaking and provide a shared platform for networking and knowledge exchange.
Networking led to the new R&D initiatives, e.g. the project idea, which aims to support the educational pathways of Ukrainian refugees and their integration into Finnish working life, in addition to the idea concerning green transition. The role of cities as innovation powerhouses, and urban food production were also discussed, and they will most likely be in the focus of future R&D proposals of 3AMK strategic alliance.
The dialogues provided valuable insights into the currently ongoing joint 3AMK initiative ”Horizon for Helsinki Uusimaa Region”, which fosters multi-stakeholder cooperation in the Helsinki-Uusimaa region to form R&D partnerships connecting both regional and EU level actors. The project promotes the impact and visibility of the region’s R&D actions and actors on the European level, maps regional R&D interests and project ideas, links them to relevant Horizon Europe funding calls and supports writing them into full project proposals. The network meeting contributed value to all these aspects. It deepened the participants’ understanding of the EU policy context and supported identifying strategic partnerships based on mutual interests, both essential for preparing successful project actions.
The EU-level networks recognized 3AMK as an interesting alliance: it is big enough to be noted as an active regional player with its multi-disciplinary fields and quantity of students. The meetings encourage us to continue developing shared competencies in R&D -activities: information sharing of upcoming funding programmes and competence development for creating a winning proposal are certainly among the most important takeaways from the trip. The meetings provided a great platform to boost the visibility of the 3AMK strategic alliance and their R&D activities in Brussels as well as strengthen the strategic collaboration with relevant European networks. Mikael Vainio, Senior EU Advisor at Helsinki EU Office, gives his thoughts:
“Personal meetings with European networks are great not only for the exchange of knowledge but also for their ability to connect actors. Through strategic collaboration with European networks, your voice in Brussels will become much stronger.”