Aallonhuiput establishing international presence

Our main theme of the year, networking, does not limit itself to Finland. Aallonhuiput was invited to take part in preparing the Aalto chair term in the CLUSTER university network (cluster.org). In the next few paragraphs I’m going to tell you what it means and how last year’s student survey results relate to all this.

The CLUSTER network (Consortium Linking Universities of Science and Technology for Education and Research) drives multidisciplinary collaboration for future needs of the society. In practice this means exchange- and double-degree programs students. The network also facilitates faculty and staff exchange.

So what does this mean for PhD Candidates? The specific theme for the forthcoming two years in the CLUSTER network is entrepreneurship. Together with AYY’s head of international relations and representatives from five other CLUSTER network universities we crafted a preliminary agenda from the students’ and PhD candidates’ point of view in Barcelona. In short, this entails connecting the member universities to share best practices in teaching, societies and incubators, and in co-working spaces. The work still continues and Aallonhuiput is actively involved in driving the PhD Candidates’ interests in the network.

Survey results bear fruit

Our survey results from last year are a key component in this work. With the help of the survey and other complementing data we were able to identify and justify the needs of PhD candidates in the CLUSTER meeting.  Half of the PhD candidates consider entrepreneurship as potential future career move, while the other half clearly wants to focus on an academic career. So clearly a majority of PhD Candidates require support that goes beyond academic career planning.

The survey results have proven to be very useful on other occasions as well. In addition to our work in CLUSTER, the Nordic5Tech network (a network joining the five top engineering universities in the Nordics) has asked us to present the findings of the study in their meeting in June. Clearly the survey has been a powerful tool for driving the agenda of PhD candidates forward.

On this note we want to thank you very much for participating in the survey! A year on from the survey’s release your contribution is still making a difference.


Finally, a sideline for the CLUSTER meet was to start initial talks with other PhD representatives about a Europe-wide collaboration among the PhD student networks. It turned out that the existing networks in each country are fairly different, e.g., a national PhD candidate network in Germany in contrast with the Doctoral Schools or Program specific clubs in the Netherlands. Despite this, Aallonhuiput will continue to establish connections and collaboration across Europe.

Best regards,

Lauri Saviranta

Vice president of board

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