The future of



17 February to 14 April, 2021

The University of Applied Sciences of the Future is a joint hackathon event arranged by the Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences Arene and the University of Applied Sciences Students in Finland – SAMOK. The University of Applied Sciences of the Future will celebrate the 25-year history of permanent universities of applied sciences, ponder their future, and inspire participants to think and create.

Final videos


Sustainable development

The UN defines sustainable development as development that satisfies current needs without preventing future generations from meeting theirs. Its basic elements are ecological, economic, and social and cultural sustainability. The goals of sustainable development are based on people learning to live in harmony with nature and each other.

In the fall of 2020, universities of applied sciences adopted a program for sustainable development and responsibility. The program makes the pledge that, in addition to their specialist knowledge, all UAS graduates will have at least basic knowledge of sustainable development and responsibility, including climate issues. Sustainable development and responsibility cut across all degree-level education in universities of applied sciences.

What skills should a UAS teach its students, so that they can combat climate change effectively in the future? And how can social sustainability be strengthened and the exclusion of young people or the elderly prevented? In what ways can an engineer, nurse, bachelor of business administration or bachelor of hospitality management help to ensure sustainable development and combat climate change?

What kinds of questions could we use to approach the hackathon's theme of sustainable development?

Should universities of applied sciences have a course or a set of courses about sustainable development? 

Should completely new material be developed?

How can we increase accessibility in higher education institutions?

Should students be granted a token for each completed credit that they can invest in their preferred charity?

How can we prevent social exclusion?

Should each university of applied sciences have a designated chat board for discussing responsibility?

What kind of event could a university of applied sciences organise to highlight recycling and ecology?


We live in an age of digitalization, as seen in the shift to remote learning during the coronavirus crisis. Mobile devices accompany us at all times and information can be accessed with unprecedented ease. Every institution is making effective use of e-learning environments — studying has never been more flexible than it is now. What is the next digital leap forward? How can learners and teachers be provided with better support in the age of distance learning?

Should learning materials be gamified? How might information security be improved within society? How might universities of applied sciences benefit from virtual reality in the future? How could cyberbullying be reduced?

<br /> What kinds of questions could we use to approach the hackathon's theme of digitalization?

How can we provide digital services to all citizens?

How can we improve the accessibility of digital services?

A new application that supports and rewards students?

Should we gamify courses?

How can we successfully bring student life and parties online?

What kind of brainstorming application could there be to find tips and topics for a thesis, for example?

What would a YouTube series supporting nursing and hospitality management studies look like?

How can we use digitalisation in nursing?

Continuous Learning

A degree from a university of applied sciences is not enough: each of us has to develop or acquire new skills and knowledge during our careers. Nowadays, universities are expected to provide more than just degree-level education for working-age adults. The discussion on continuous learning highlights individual learning paths, with new elements being built on existing competences and changing needs.

How can a university of applied sciences continue to serve its alumni? How does learning become part of work?

What kinds of questions could we use to approach the hackathon's theme of lifelong learning?

How should we group different student groups?

An application that displays all the courses and accomplishments you have completed and achieved during your life?

What kinds of courses should we offer to older people?

What would a podcast on continuous learning be like?

What would constitute continuous learning in an engineer’s career? 

How can we make continuous learning communal?

Changing work

Working life is undergoing continuous change. New jobs, occupations and even industries are displacing old ones. The platform economy may mean growing numbers of people being excluded from traditional, long-term employment relationships. Working practices have also changed rapidly with the proliferation of telework during the coronavirus crisis. Business travel has collapsed.

What will the telework of the future be like, and how should a university of applied sciences prepare students for this? How can changing work environments be taken into account in universities of applied sciences?

What kinds of questions could we use to approach the hackathon's theme of changing work?

How could we organise on-the-job learning remotely in the future?

What are the new opportunities for remote work?

What kind of virtual remote work environment could there be to easily exchange ideas and tips, regardless of your organization?

What would a new kind of webinar be like where everything happens in virtual reality?

What kinds of digital skills do nurses need in the future?


The application round has ended. Thank you to all the applicants!
Selected teams and their solutions:


Johanna Salminen, Sini Rasi, Paula Hänninen & Emilia Kankaanpää (Laurea-ammattikorkeakoulu, Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu)

“Aavapolis – A virtual interactive world that brings information and different educational institutions together using the latest technology to support students in planning their study and career paths throughout their whole lives. Algorithms and Tutor-Aavatar accompany the student in building the study path that best suits them, guiding them in choosing different courses. In addition, the student can see their personal development when their student avatar evolves as the student learns something new.“


Topi Hänninen & Kerttu-Liisa Helppi (Savonia-ammattikorkeakoulu)

“The 3D social learning environment prevents exclusion and provides students and staff with an opportunity to meet remotely, both in their studies and during their leisure time.”


Isidora Sofronijevic, Uchechukwu Nwosu, Thomas Rogdakis, Maksim Minenko & Anneli Matila-van Houtum (Laurea-ammattikorkeakoulu)

 “A lifelong tool that enables simpler certification of skills developed through UAS courses. Providing also personalized guidance for students and alumni on the existing opportunities for development and education on the importance of continuous learning.”


Sara Mattila, Tua Ek-Taiminen & Karoliina Hämäläinen (Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu)

“We want to solve the issue of a lack of possibility of specialising in circular economy at expert level in Finland for students with a Bachelor’s degree. Our solution is the Circular School, which provides specialisation training in circular economy, and the Circular Design Immersion semester, which enables future employees to play a pioneering role in the meeting point between circular economy and business.”


Antti Kuusisto & Jaakko Viljanen (Seinäjoen ammattikorkeakoulu)

“UNIted – Take courses in a virtual environment!”


Roberts Belins, Lotte Leibner & Janni Hakkarainen (Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu)

“Sustainability Competition: An annual competition held by a committee of students focusing on sustainability movement in Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland. Benefits from the competition are improving communication between the UAS and an opportunity for the students to network.”


Yana Dobretsova, Ritika Giridhar & Alona Tsikora (Vaasan ammattikorkeakoulu)

“We want to develop virtual reality (VR) solutions for future students to experience universities of applied sciences (UAS). Our idea is to provide the potential students with a way to learn about the universities of applied sciences, about the teaching processes and about the facilities without having the need to go to the campuses with the help of VR technologies. This includes an interactive 360 degrees view of the campus, a glance at the different facilities the UAS offers (like classrooms, laboratories, in-campus restaurants), and first-person experiences of the teaching styles by virtually attending demo classes.”


Hannele Lohiniva, Milja Heinonen & Taru Rintamäki (Laurea-ammattikorkeakoulu, Vaasan ammattikorkeakoulu)

“EDU-VR is a shared platform for higher education institutions that offers easy-to-use VR learning material. We want to create a solution that promotes accessibility to support the studies of students in universities of applied sciences.”


iViktoriia Shustova, Daria Kalugina & Iuliana Fadeeva (LAB-ammattikorkeakoulu)

“We offer a solution to gamify certain practical studies in the Universities of Applied Sciences which will differ from other existing platforms. The game would not be compulsory for every course and the teachers can decided themselves whether to use this approach in their teaching process. We offer this solution because even in online working environment there should be practical side in the studies in the Universities of Applied Sciences.”


Janita Hietala, Moona Taavitsainen, Niklas Sillander, Tekla Hahl & Antony Smal (Jyväskylän ammattikorkeakoulu)

“Planting trees is an excellent and efficient way to combat climate change, and it is already a major project around the world. Our idea for a solution makes it possible for a higher education student to make a contribution to their own future while increasing the size of our forests, enabling us all to have a future in our chosen career paths, and making it possible for the student to contribute to a future that is about more than just their own personal goals and career paths. Credit by credit, the student’s work and contribution would be reflected also in the most essential form of sustainable development. A tree and a credit at a time towards the future.”


Topi Aila, Roman Tsypin & Eric Telkkälä (Hämeen ammattikorkeakoulu)

“Our team is developing a tool for smart distribution of students into groups when conducting group work. In particular, at this point, our scope is limited towards distribution of students in web-development projects (for instance, building a website), based on the students grades, motivation and other factors. In future, we would like to create algorithms which would be applicable for all kinds of group work.”


Xuan-An Cao. Thi Dinh, Khanh Hua, Viet Nguyen & Hong Huynh (Vaasan ammattikorkeakoulu)

“KURRY – A mobile application devoted to eliminating students’ distractions and enhancing productivity. Staying focused has never been harder in this world of digital distractions, from Facebook notifications to phone call, people are now extremely fragile to distractions, thus preventing the thinking streamline and the overall productivity. Kurry is the revolutionary anti-distraction timer application that eliminates distractions and improves users’ attention in a fun and easy way. Standing out from most anti-distraction applications available on the market which lack strong features and characteristics, Kurry gamifies the user experience by integrating a compelling story and an additional competitive mode that holds users’ interests for a long time.”

Evaluation criteria

Problem definition

The problem or challenge is identified, exists, and has been explained and justified in the application. The problem or challenge falls under one of the competition themes. The problem or challenge is relevant to the future (and not solely now).

Solution definition

How well does the idea provide a solution to the problem presented?What opportunities and benefits does the solution bring to the presented challenge? How well does the solution answer to a future challenge facing a university of applied sciences (related to one of the themes)?

Novelty value and innovation

What is the innovative angle of the solution? How does this differ from previous solutions to this challenge? What is new about this solution?


How many people might actually benefit from a solution of this kind? How well can the solution be realized at practical level? Does the solution have many limitations?


The winning team will be presented with a cash prize of €3,000. The winning team will be selected by a jury, based on the teams’ pitches in the final on April 14, 2021.

Two other teams will also be presented with prizes in the final. The value of the additional prizes is €100 per person.




Executive director, Eurooppalainen Suomi



Co-founder, Pros of Tomorrow



Director, S Group's HR Services and Development, SOK



Visionaire, Una Europa



Rector and President, Turku University of Applied Sciences



Advisor, Finland Chamber of Commerce



Founder, FinEst Bay Area, Founder, Slush


January 7, 2021

Team application round begins

February 17, 2021

Teams’ kick-off

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The teams selected for the competition will meet, engage in sparring and receive help with developing their ideas. Teams can participate in the event on the basis of an idea under development.

During the day, the teams work from 9 am to 4 pm. After the kick-off day, teams are expected to work independently before the development and networking days for about 1-2 working days.

March 25 to 26, 2021

Development and networking days

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Companies in the sector, participating teams, and representatives of universities of applied sciences and student unions will be brought together during these two days. Participants will have the chance to network and share ideas on solutions and the industry’s future. Teams can fine-tune their ideas based on tips and insights from other participants, and companies can hear about current themes and ideas from experts and students in the same field. In turn, the participating companies can discuss their own services.

The teams will present their solutions as follows:

Thursday, 25 March: 13-16
Team 3
Team 7
Team 11
Team 14
Team 21
Team 25

Friday, 26 March: 12-15
Team 13
Team 15
Team 18
Team 20
Team 22
Team 24

Sign up to development and networking days with this form.

Teams work on both days as follows:

25 March: 9-12, work in teams
25 March: 13-16, presentation of solutions and networking

26 March: 9-11, work in teams
26 March: 12-15, presentation of solutions and networking

After the development and networking days, teams are expected to work independently before the final for about 1-2 working days.

April 14, 2021


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Before the final, the teams must submit a video pitch of their final solution. Based on the presentations of the final solutions, the jury selects the winning teams.

In the final, the teams will give pitches on their chosen solutions, and the jury will comment on each team’s idea. The final will be streamed on this site and can be watched by anyone.


The winning teams will receive prizes at the end of the final.


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