HELSUS Co-Creation Lab
The HELSUS Co-Creation Lab is a cooperative, scheduled and facilitated process for master’s students doing their master’s thesis. The next Co-Creation Lab starts in autumn 2022.

During the Co-Creation Lab, the students take on sustainability challenges presented by partners and produce their master’s thesis on a subject developed during the process. Making connections and gaining experience are built into the lab: we seek to bring together real-world sustainability challenges and future experts. The partners include both businesses and public-sector actors.

What is the HELSUS Co-Cre­ation Lab?

In the HELSUS Co-Creation Lab, master’s level students tackle sustainability challenges presented by partners and produce their master’s thesis during the process. The lab is based on a cooperative, scheduled and facilitated process. During the first four lab meetings, the research topic, research questions, and the methodology and methods are developed. This is followed by a research period, during which the master’s students conduct individual research work. The last two lab meetings focus on interpretation of the data and presenting the research results.

The HELSUS Co-creation Lab does not replace traditional thesis seminars but adds to them by introducing a co-creative approach to the research process.

For master’s students at the University of Helsinki

The HELSUS Co-creation Lab is a co-creative approach to doing master’s thesis research. The lab offers the participating Master's students

  • the opportunity to find topics for their thesis
  • help with their research work
  • a clear timetable to work on
  • a chance to develop transdisciplinary skills
  • a chance to get in touch with actual sustainability challenges
  • wide support from the lab personnel, their student peers, the partner, and the thesis supervisor
  • meeting new people
  • Each student who finishes their thesis in time will also be awarded a scholarship of at least 1500 euros. 

For partners

  • the opportunity to receive new insights, ideas, and possible solutions to their sustainability challenges.

The Lab also gives opportunities for social networking with students, researchers, and other societal actors and businesses. We aim for a community where a wide range of knowledge and experience are used to explore novel ideas and possible solutions for common interests.

Ex­per­i­ences from pre­vi­ous par­ti­cipants

Eleven students from various faculties of the University of Helsinki participated in the 2019-2020 HELSUS Co-Creation Lab, which was organised as a pilot. The latest lab was organised in 2021. Below are some of their experiences from the Lab process, as well as on writing a master's thesis during the Lab.

  • Feedback from different participants during the lab meetings helped with shaping my work and especially helped with writing for different audiences. Also, seeing other students’ presentations was invaluable as I could learn how they were conducting their research.
  • I got a different perspective on the challenge by working with practitioners from partner businesses.
  • A unique part of the lab was the opportunity to develop one’s subject together with the partners, teachers and peer students – this is something that is rarely included in a traditional master’s thesis process!
  • The Lab helped me with finding my professional focus within the discipline.
  • The clear schedule assisted with the writing process, and the Lab presentations served as a basis for the writing.
  • It was beneficial to report on the research results during the Lab meetings, as one had to present and explain the research results to other persons.