We carry out high-quality, international research that cuts across disciplinary boundaries in the areas of administrative sciences, business sciences, politics, information and knowledge management, and industrial engineering and management. The quality and strong international dimension of our research are manifested by the quality of our publications and the large number of publications co-authored with international partners. A multidisciplinary approach allows us to address the broad and complex challenges facing our society.
In 2020, we took systematic steps to further develop our research activities by drawing up a research strategy and identifying key areas of development. As set out in the strategy, the Faculty has aims to offer an attractive, cheerful and inspirational research environment, make time for research, promote collaboration, and improve the quality and impact of research. We are committed to being a reliable, sought-after partner for research and development projects in both Finland and abroad. Our research development activities are focused on fostering an inspirational research environment and culture and expanding research resources and competencies.
Our key source of external funding is the Academy of Finland. In 2020, we launched two new research projects funded by the Academy of Finland and welcomed two academy research fellows and one postdoctoral researcher. Our researchers participated in a number of research consortia funded by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council. We are also taking steps to systematically increase the volume of international research funding.
Our new projects funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme included LOWINFOOD, which is focused on reducing food loss and waste, and ENGAGE, which examines how the EU could speak with a more unified voice and become increasingly active and assertive on the international stage. Other projects underway at MAB included the H2020-funded LEVEL-UP, which examines lifecycle management in the manufacturing sector, and projects funded by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council, namely EL-TRAN (Transition to a Resource Efficient and Climate Neutral Electricity System), CICAT2025 (Circular Economy Catalysts: From Innovation to Business Ecosystems) and CORE (Collaborative remedies for fragmented societies – facilitating the collaborative turn in environmental decision-making).
The hiring of new staff continued despite the Covid-19 pandemic. In the year under review, we recruited five new tenure-track faculty members who will take up their appointments in 2021. Three existing faculty members who hold a tenure-track position were promoted to the next level in 2020.
Despite the exceptional circumstances brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and the introduction of the new student information system Sisu, we can look back on 2020 with considerable satisfaction. The number of degrees conferred was extraordinarily high and time-to-degree rates were on a good level. For example, in the fields of business studies, administrative studies and legal studies Tampere University reported the best time-to-degree rates of all the eleven university units that provide education in these fields in Finland. Overall, we were able to make a smooth transition to virtual teaching. This experience will pave the way for the continued development of online teaching and learning in the years to come.
While designing the curriculum for the years 2021 to 2024, a special emphasis was placed on the gradual expansion of expertise while working towards a degree and the articulation of the acquired knowledge and skills. As labour market relevance is a key feature of our degree programmes, we took steps to highlight the connections and make them clearer to students. We increased the flexibility of learning, developed alternative modes of completion and expanded the range of courses taught in English to meet the needs of exchange students, international degree students and Finnish students looking to gain international experience on their home campus.
In December, the Academic Board made an important decision to transfer the Degree Programme in Information and Knowledge Management and the Degree Programme in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences to MAB as of 1 August 2021. The decision was preceded by lengthy preparations involving both staff and students. The transfer will clarify administrative processes and turn our Faculty into an increasingly diverse and multidisciplinary provider of management and business education both at the regional and national levels.
Interaction with the broader society is an integral part of our activities. We carry out much of our research in collaboration with external stakeholders, and our staff members contribute to legislative drafting and the development of national and regional governance through different working groups and by taking part in preparing reports and completing assessments. Research projects and theses are completed in collaboration with companies. Our staff members hold prominent positions of trust in the public, private and third sectors.
Our most high-profile event is the annual Leadership Symposium. The theme of the ninth symposium held in 2020 was Sustainable Development – from Words to Action. Due to the pandemic, the international symposium was organised as a fully virtual event, resulting in an audience of thousands. Virtual sections are likely to become a permanent feature of future symposia.