Earlier this year Janina Fagerlund set out for Paris, specifically Université Paris-Sud, to study for a European double degree in information and communication technology. Today the young Finn is pleased about her decision.
She received her bachelor's degree in science from Aalto University in Finland, and now she is among the first 94 students to enter the EIT ICT Labs Master School developed within the framework of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Janina will complete her second year of studies in TU Berlin.
Strong industrial involvement
”This education combines cutting edge technical content with a business part focused on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. A strong industrial contact is also granted through mentorships and guaranteed internships. This is a new approach to organizing university studies in Europe”, says Carl-Gustaf Jansson, Director of EIT ICT Labs Master School.
Tuula Teeri, President of Aalto University in Helsinki, says: “The EIT is strategically an important opening for us. The EIT ICT Labs Master School combines internationality, entrepreneurship and a strong technical basic education in an innovative way.”
A network-based EIT ICT master's programme is a result of many years' planning. The programme gives students a chance to break new ground – both in the way they conduct their studies and in the way they interact with different cultures.
“The master's programme is very pro entrepreneur, Janina Fagerlund says.
Janina's technical orientation is Human Computer Interaction & Design (HCID) with a focus on developing new user interfaces. Other technical majors to choose from are Digital Media Technology, Service Design & Engineering, Internet Technology & Architecture, Distributed Systems & Services, Security & Privacy and Embedded Systems.
Bipin Mood Venkataswamy from Bangalore, the “Silicon Valley” of India, is another student in the EIT ICT Labs master school. He started his studies at Aalto University. Bipin was excited about the programme's dimension of innovation and entrepreneurship.
”Right before I chose to come and study here, I read that Finland is the capital of start-up companies in Europe. In my opinion, the start-up attitude works well for students and encourages them to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas. Innovation and all round development are essential to any degree programme. The EIT ICT Labs master program has innovation included in the curriculum, and development issues cover all aspects of life. The emphasis on entrepreneurship is a positive feature”, Bipin tells.
Hannu Tenhunen, the EIT ICT Labs Education Director, comments: “Today's students have different expectations compared to those of my own generation, and education should meet those expectations. We need to come up with fresh new ideas, and universities cannot be expected to do this on their own. We must work together.”
Carl-Gustaf Jansson underlines the networking opportunities that the programme has to offer. He notes: “In the past, universities liked to keep students to themselves. We are doing exactly the opposite.”
However Jansson points out that network based programmes also call for a very careful planning, communication across the network and more intensive monitoring of study results with the objective to launch early support actions. All this to make sure that the student has completed all his first-year courses before entering into the second year.
Boosting ICT talents and new business creation
According to Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT ICT Labs, the constant need for ICT experts in Europe gives good cause for investing more and more on pan-European information and communication technology education. At the same time as the demand for ICT specialists is growing in Europe, the number of ICT degrees is going down. And, adds Jonker, because information and communication technology is so vital in ever-increasing new areas of the society, the quality of the studies should be re-examined, too.
According to Marko Turpeinen, the Director of the EIT ICT Labs’ activities in Finland, the combination of solid technical education, multi-cultural student groups and strong emphasis on innovation make the master's programme quite exceptional. “With this programme we are able to increase the number of new multi-cultural businesses in Europe. It also creates a strong network of partners, which in turn can boost the growth of these businesses internationally”, he says.
The application for the EIT ICT Labs Master School starting fall 2013 is open. More information