The University of Helsinki’s cooperation with Chinese universities continues to expand. In addition to air quality research, teacher education and jurisprudence, new cooperation in the research and treatment of cancer is being launched.

During the past few years, the University of Helsinki has been looking towards Asia and increasing cooperation, particularly with Chinese universities. In 2014, the University concluded a strategic partnership agreement with Peking University (PKU). This agreement has covered research cooperation in air quality, teaching and research, law and oncology.

Now the cooperation in cancer research is increasing. The basis for the cooperation has been built through reciprocal visits between the Finnish and Chinese universities.

Professor Risto Renkonen says that the aim is to further increase cooperation. 

 “The Chinese are particularly interested in biobank sample collections and patient data. We are currently planning our first joint research endeavours,” states Renkonen. 

Chinese EDUCATIONAL reform

China has ambitious plans for reforming its education system. Many current Chinese projects are seeking to use big data and learning analytics to promote learning. 

“It has been wonderful to see how advanced technology is being used in China to promote teaching and education. We have a lot to learn from each other in terms of education development,” says Professor Hannele Niemi.

Together with Beijing Normal University (BNU), the University of Helsinki is organising researcher, teacher and student exchange, teacher education courses in China, joint research projects and publications.  

BNU has a major research and development project, Future School 2030, which involves several Finnish researchers. Professor Hannele Niemi’s research project on digital storytelling is part of Future School 2030. In the project, pupils in Finnish and Chinese schools make their own video compilations about learning mathematics and teach each other through videos. 

A 5G network to track air quality 

In conjunction with Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s June visit to China, the University of Helsinki and the Beijing University of Chemical Technology have concluded a cooperation agreement to build a SMEAR station in Beijing with Chinese funding. The first Chinese SMEAR station is in Nanjing.  

Academy Professor and member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Markku Kulmala seeks to find and measure the main culprits behind the city’s pollution problems. Air pollution is responsible for the deaths of approximately 2.5 million Chinese people each year. The station is being built by the University of Helsinki’s Centre of Excellence in Atmospheric Science, which is funded by the Academy of Finland. 

Kulmala’s research group is also involved in a multidisciplinary corporate cooperation project which will take advantage of the coming 5G network to monitor air quality and the environment. The new project combines atmospheric sciences, computer science as well as geosciences and geography.  

 “The 5G network can support the Internet of Things and the monitoring of the environment much better than 4G. For example, data transfer speed and energy efficiency are key issues for the Internet of Things,” says Professor Sasu Tarkoma

University of Helsinki legal researchers in China

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) cooperates with the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Law and the China Law Center. CASS is interested in increasing the cooperation in jurisprudence as well as extending multidisciplinary research cooperation to Arctic research and Nordic cooperation. CASS is also interested in establishing its own centre in conjunction with the University of Helsinki.

The Nordic welfare state and legal model are interesting to Chinese legal experts and political institutions. Professor Ulla Liukkunen, director of the China Law Center, is delighted by the cooperation and the fact that Finnish researchers will be able to share the practices of Nordic models.

 “The Chinese are also extremely interested in research on employee rights and labour law,” Liukkunen explains.

Liukkunen has headed two extensive Academy of Finland research projects which have also involved close cooperation with leading labour law researchers from CASS and Peking University. These studies on Chinese labour law have developed a new method for evaluating the implementation of basic employee rights.  

At the end of this August, the China Law Center is organising the eighth joint conference with CASS, held in Helsinki and Tampere .

In addition to the University of Helsinki, the China Law Center features eight other Finnish universities as well as the Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy Krimo at the University of Helsinki.