Challenges & Program

The University of Helsinki and Outotec launched in December 2016 the first challenge-based Sustainability Master Class program for students, young researchers and professionals who are interested in new approaches to innovation as well as learning by doing and co-creation. 

The second Sustainability Master Class will focus on risk management in natural resource-intensive global businesses when operating in very different or challenging environments or transforming business models. The program is open to Master level students, young researchers and young professionals who are interested in global sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The program consists of four months of facilitated teamwork - multidisciplinary teams tackle one challenge at joint meetings, science camp and bootcamp and develop their own concrete solution to the problem using design thinking and co-creation tools.

Sustainability Master Class is a part of the University of Helsinki’s Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS) Master’s Program (ECGS-150) Master Class 5 ECTS credits) but it is open to students and researchers from different faculties and sectors. The participants who successfully complete the course work will gain 5 ECTS credits. The responsible teacher is Kaisa Korhonen-Kurki.

Deadline for  applications is November 30, 2017, and the program will start in January 2018. Apply here.



Meet&Greet Thu Jan 11
Poster Clinic Wed Jan 31
Science Camp Wed Feb 28


Boot Camp Thu-Fri March 15-16 (Two working days!)
Workshop on Scaling and Experiments Thu March 22 (Whole working day)


Solve Clinic Thu April 19
Final Pitch Thu April 26
Feedback / Next Steps Thu May 3

If not stated otherwise, the events will take place in the evenings between 16.00 and 20.00.

Note! A good part of the team work happens between the joint events and continuous teamwork is crucial for making most of the program. At the same time, Master Class program allows great freedom for the teams to decide their own schedules.

Master Class Challenges

CHALLENGE 1: Context-driven risk evaluations

Risk-related problems are usually complex and nonlinear in their nature with multiple stakeholders. Still, managing them in a structured manner is highly important in sustainable business. Context-based political, environmental legal, religious, social and cultural factors impact the risk assessment process.

Develop a solution to better understand the risks related to local context  (transparency, regulations, governance, environmental conditions, community) and stakeholders while taking into account possible conflicting worldviews.The focus is in particular on high-risk countries and conflict countries.

CHALLENGE 2: Opportunities and risks in shifting towards service-based business

There are both opportunities and risks when shifting from manufacturing business towards service business.

Create a process/tool/solution to identify them both while considering the global and local scales, as well as possible country level specific characteristics, regulations and profitability.

CHALLENGE 3: Managing reputational risks in value chains

Complex value chains are challenging to manage and they possess reputational risks.

Develop a mean/tool/way to make value chains more transparent and easier to communicate to a broader public while taking into account that communication needs to be based in strategic sustainability decisions in the company (taking into account environmental, societal and cultural factors).

For any questions regarding the program, please contact Master Class Coordinator Meeri Helminen at / 050 317 5981.

If you want to know more about University of Helsinki’s collaboration with Outotec and the Master Class concept, please contact Liaison Manager Jenni Koistinen, Community Relations at / 050 448 9176.