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Clean energy and water, a circular economy, and sustainable business and entrepreneurship are key questions to which LUT seeks solutions through technology and business expertise.

CHALLENGER AND TRAILBLAZER LUT is characteristically a challenger. This is our strength, as it keeps us on the move, on our toes, and focused on the essential. We also typically set very ambitious targets – we are interested in tasks that others may consider impossible. Because of our trailblazer spirit, we are often in the vanguard and address issues based on our ability for renewal and our visionary outlook. These strengths have yielded results. We have achieved the targets of our previous strategies ahead of schedule. We desire to conduct research that is not only of a high quality, but also relevant to society and industries. As a compact, agile, and highly focused university, we contribute to a financially, ecologically and socially sustainable society in our focus areas together with our partners in cooperation. We train experts who will change the world. Our key resource is our scientific community of 6500 students and experts, who represent 70 nationalities. In everything we do, we observe our values: the courage to succeed, passion for innovation through science, and a will to build well-being.

Juha-Matti Saksa Rector

Tuomo Rönkkö

Chairman, LUT Board

KEY STRATEGIC QUESTIONS EMPLOYING our core expertise, we focus on selected global themes which are also important nationally and locally. Our strategic focus areas are:

»» clean energy »» the circular economy, emphasising clean water and waste streams »» sustainable business and entrepreneurship. The following cross-cutting themes are connected to research and education in the focus areas:

»» digitalisation and data science »» focus area research in the Russian context and with the best Russian partners.

The core of our strategy consists of four key questions: Will we burn up everything? Is humanity condemned to suffer from the water it has polluted? Will waste be the grave of our future? Will we let Europe degenerate to the world’s back yard? The answer is: no. We will show the way with a trailblazer spirit. To respond to these questions, we will concentrate on the following scientific solutions in our focus areas:

OUR SCIENTIFIC SOLUTIONS CLEAN ENERGY »» Energy markets and solar economy »» Energy conversion and storage technologies »» Sustainability science

CIRCULAR ECONOMY »» Water purification and reuse »» Processing of recycled and renewable raw material »» Products and life cycle assessment

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP »» Innovation and sustainable value creation »» SMEs and international entrepreneurship »» Business analytics and decision-making »» Digitalisation of businesses

All ten research themes call for both theoretical-methodological and applied research. From 2017 to 2020, our aim is to open over 40 tenure track vacancies for application internationally. The implementation of our strategy is supported by internal action plans, which deal with four topic areas: research in high gear, education revolution, an entrepreneurial university, and leadership and well-being at work.

CLEAN ENERGY OUR SYSTEMIC APPROACH means we study the entire energy chain from fuels and resources to the use of energy. Our expertise covers technologies and systems needed in energy and resource efficient production, transfer, distribution and use – from equipment manufacture and fuels to energy consumption and energy markets. Our strengths in the field of energy solutions include the in-depth understanding of flexible energy systems, the solar economy, renewable energy sources and energy storages, nuclear engineering and safety, carbon capture and storage, and the manufacture of energy-efficient machines and devices. LUT has a national mission in the field of nuclear engineering and safety. Education and research in the field are concentrated largely at LUT, which through its know-how and infrastructure serves the entire nation in cooperation with research institutes in the field. Our aim is to enhance and strengthen our scientific impact faster than average in the field. We are already the most energy-focused Finnish university in relation to our overall research volume.

CLEAN ENERGY RESEARCH THEMES: ENERGY MARKETS AND THE SOLAR ECONOMY LUT’S KEY INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH FIELD We develop technologies, solutions and energy scenarios that enable the recirculation of carbon dioxide in flexible energy systems and support a carbon-free future. We have developed special expertise in the analysis of market forces and energy policy, which is necessary for global economic growth based on renewable energy. Renewable energy

production requires high-quality meteorological data. In our applied mathematics research, we develop methods enabling more accurate weather forecasts. LUT is part of the Centre of Excellence for inverse problems selected by the Academy of Finland.

ENERGY CONVERSION AND STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES LUT’S KEY INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH FIELD One of the most critical issues in the energy industry is finding a solution to the irregular supply of wind and solar power in production – especially transforming and storing electricity in excess production. LUT possesses key expertise in power electronics and power conversion systems. We focus strongly on systemic problem-solving. We develop new solutions

for the conversion and storage of energy, providing energy systems with the operational and economic flexibility they need. Our research covers all of the essential theories on energy conversion and produces new knowledge on fluid dynamics, energy storage, and the conversion of electric power.

SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCE LUT’S EMERGING FIELD In sustainability science, we study the management systems of energy, water, nutrients, and wastewaters. We combine the verification of global and local environmental impacts and improve the energy and resource efficiency of processes and equipment. Understanding sustainability challenges in different

environments is at the core of our research field. We utilise and develop systems analysis and optimisation methods at different levels, for instance in production processes, local energy systems, establishing an energy balance, and developing local environmental strategies.

KEY INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH FIELD: Criteria include high-level international publications and high-profile competitive funding.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY WE PRODUCE KNOWLEDGE about the circular economy, enabling the development of new technologies and new business. The expertise and technologies we develop enable the sustainable and efficient utilisation of natural resources and the recycling of material flows. Our strength lies in generating innovative technological solutions for the recovery and reuse of bio-based materials and precious metals from natural resources and waste. Therefore, our research has a significant impact on production and well-being from both the environmental and the economic perspective. We develop material efficiency especially in water purification and in the use of renewable biomass and secondary (reused) metal and nutrient sources. In research on water and waste flows, separation and purification technologies enable the transition from primary and non-renewable raw materials to a sustainable circular economy. Our research covers the entire value network from raw materials to products and markets. LUT is Finland’s strongest research organisation in separation and purification technologies – the national leader in the field as well as an internationally recognised actor. Our core expertise includes separation and purification technologies applied to industrial processes, water and waste treatment, and the processing of wastewater for reuse. We aim for a paradigm shift in water treatment: wastewater should be utilised rather than disposed of. We also develop technologies that ensure the availability of clean drinking water.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY RESEARCH THEMES: WATER PURIFICATION AND REUSE IN A CIRCULAR ECONOMY LUT’S KEY INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH FIELD Separation and purification technology plays an essential role in solving problems related to scarce water resources and the recycling, cleanness, and safety of water. Our aim is to transform the treatment of wastewater by utilising its compounds instead of degrading and disposing of it. We develop new separation and purification materials and green technology.

Our research will enhance the efficiency of wastewater processing and recycling. We create new knowledge on separation and purification phenomena. In addition, we develop methods to assess the societal, ecological and environmental impacts of wastewater and new solutions in a circular economy.

PROCESSING OF SECONDARY AND RENEWABLE RAW MATERIALS IN A CIRCULAR ECONOMY LUT’S KEY INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH FIELD Transitioning to a circular economy increases the importance of research in the field, as raw materials from secondary, renewable sources are especially complex. We develop solutions for the recovery and purification of valuable compounds and for the elimination of harmful ones in, for example,

the steel and mining industries, pulp production, saline solutions, recycled batteries, and solid waste from the pulp industry. LUT’s exceptional research infrastructure enables the development of hybrid processes and new process combinations.

PRODUCTS AND LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT IN A CIRCULAR ECONOMY LUT’S EMERGING FIELD To develop sustainable production practices, it is necessary to study environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of a product. Life cycle assessment is the most frequently used method in the assessment of environmental impacts during a product life cycle. Our research focuses on the systems analysis of sustainability; that is, challenging

prevailing production practices by identifying new, more sustainable solutions. LUT’s Fibre Composite Laboratory contributes to the research by developing composite materials and creating and modelling material-efficient products and energy-efficient manufacturing methods.

KEY INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH FIELD: Criteria include high-level international publications and high-profile competitive funding.

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP OUR AIM is to find solutions for economically, ecologically and socially sustainable business. We wish to understand factors that enable the continual renewal of organisations. We combine technology and business expertise to promote entrepreneurship, the growth of enterprises, and internationalisation. Our key strength is our close collaboration with business enterprises. We develop analytical methods to support strategic decision-making. We help to understand the opportunities presented by digitalisation in the renewal of businesses. Our business researchers solve wide-ranging problems together with researchers in technology. We utilise our expertise in dynamic industry change, public-sector process management, interfaces between technology and business, commercialisation, business models, and business in Russia. Our research is at a high international level: in the research of international entrepreneurship, we are the world’s most productive university. We produce the most publications in Finland in the field of innovations and sustainable value creation. We are the world’s fifth most productive publisher in the field of Russian business; the top four are Russian universities. The School of Business and Management is among the most productive ones in Finland, comparing the research and education output to the financial input.



We study factors that enable the growth, renewal and internationalisation of businesses in an economically, ecologically and socially sustainable way. These factors lead to sustainable value creation. We see innovation as the key source of value creation. Research in the field has long-standing traditions at LUT, and it covers different innovations and innovation methods, including product and service innovations, business innovations, innovation systems and networks, and new ways to co-create and utilise knowledge. The research combines expertise in business and industrial engineering and management with research on clean energy and the circular economy.

Our research focuses on international entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship education, and different forms of ownership. Research on entrepreneurship and SMEs has been developed systematically at LUT for 15 years. We also specialise in research on the special characteristics of business in Russia. The research brings together experts in business and industrial engineering and management.

KEY INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH FIELD: Criteria include high-level international publications and high-profile competitive funding.



We employ intelligent systems, machine learning, simulation methods, and fuzzy logic in the development of analysis and decision-making methods that support business. We are Finland’s leading expert in fuzzy logic and soft computing. Our activity is strongly cross-disciplinary and highlights the university’s in-house collaboration in applied mathematics, technology and business. We typically apply the methods we develop to problems in our strategic focus areas and to business economics problems in general.

Significant changes in the digitalisation of business and human-centred software require highly developed theories for understanding and anticipating changes. Our research focuses on the technologies that these changes demand, on the interaction of technology and humans, and on extensive systemic impacts. We study sustainable business related to digitalisation and the opportunities of new, entrepreneurial business, and we model the development of the profitability of business activities. Digital technologies and services develop interactively, mutually affecting each other. We study these issues from the perspectives of software development, behavioural research, usability, and service development. In addition, we research digital transformation from the viewpoint of strategy research in certain industries, such as energy, pulp and paper, media, and the public sector.

RESEARCH PLATFORMS WE HAVE LAUNCHED six interdisciplinary research platforms aiming for high impact on themes related to LUT’s key strategic questions. LUT’s research platforms can be characterised as open research programmes and dynamic research environments. The research platforms bring together LUT’s top expertise in a novel, interdisciplinary way. LUT also attracts wide-ranging expertise through international and national cooperation networks. The research platforms were selected based on an open application process within the university. An international evaluation panel assessed the applications. We will thus maximise the quality and impact of research conducted with the university’s own budget funding. The objective of the platforms is to implement LUT’s strategy and significantly affect society and the economy. The platforms conduct high-quality research and acquire external funding.

LUT’S RESEARCH PLATFORMS: »» REFLEX – Recycling carbon in a flexible competitive energy system »» SIM – Sustainable product processes through simulation »» RE-SOURCE – Resource efficient production processes and value chains »» DIGI-USER – Smart services for digitalisation »» SAWE – Safe water for all »» RED – Revealing emission discrepancies


By focusing on key technologies of the future, we will solve how carbon can be recycled in renewable energy systems where carbon dioxide is reused and renewable energy stored. The produced energy is emission-free, cost-effective, and independent, creating a wide range of business opportunities and revolutionising the entire energy field.


We need to move from waste management to resource management – from the “take, make and dispose� approach to maximised resource utilisation. RE-SOURCE produces knowledge to develop novel processes for recovery, purification and manufacturing. We enable replacing oil-based compounds with bio-based ones in everyday products. We efficiently utilise industrial side streams and waste, which compose a significant material source. For example, we are able to collect valuable metals from waste electronics.


We aim for a paradigm shift in water treatment: wastewater should be utilised rather than disposed of. We remove harmful compounds from water, creating access to clean water. In a circular economy, we search for innovative ways to treat sludge and to recirculate nutrients. SAWE thus provides cost-efficient frugal innovations for new businesses in developing countries.


SIM focuses on energy-efficient machine design using real-time simulation. Physical prototypes are not needed, which makes product development more economical and the time from an idea to a product considerably shorter. The users are involved in the product development process in a game-like way to gather user experiences. The method can be applied to test and develop many central future technologies, such as the industrial internet and intelligent materials.


We engage users in the development and management of digital services. We help SMEs to find solutions and co-create digital services with users for different fields. This can be done in user-driven Living Labs and through data analytics. We bring users and SMEs together, enabling SMEs to take advantage of the opportunities provided by digitalisation and to increase their competitiveness.


The RED platform promotes the worldwide sustainability revolution by analysing global emission flows. The objective of the platform is to determine the true environmental balances of both nature and human activity. We thus support informed decision-making and increase business opportunities.

IMPACT WE CONDUCT scientific research with an impact. We are results-oriented and strongly specialised. We create solutions for society and industries: inventions and patents, new products and spin-off companies. Our performance is also reflected in international rankings. LUT has been ranked among the world’s top 600 universities by Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings and among the top 400 by QS World University Rankings. In addition, our position on the THE young universities’ list is 101-150. The higher education consulting firm Firetail has in its report listed LUT as one of the world’s 20 most promising challenger universities. In Europe, LUT is among the top three. These rising stars will be able to challenge the academic elite and become globally renowned by the year 2030.

We are entrepreneurial, which is one of the ways we make an impact. The aim is for entrepreneurship to be a cross-cutting theme in all university activities by the year 2020, and for us to be the first Finnish university to meet the OECD criteria for an entrepreneurial university. In industry collaboration, THE ranks us in the top 20 per cent of world universities. LUT research results in 50-60 inventions annually. LUT applies for more patents than any other university in Finland. A total of four to five research-based spin-off companies are established each year. Tens of globally used products stem from LUT research. The university’s own investment company and accelerator Green Campus Innovations supports the commercialisation of our research results, leading to the establishment of new business enterprises. »

Entrepreneurship is incorporated in education through entrepreneurship courses and pedagogical methods encouraging entrepreneurial activity. Our entrepreneurship research focuses on supporting the growth and internationalisation of SMEs and promoting green growth entrepreneurship. The third mission of universities, societal interaction, is implemented through close collaboration with companies. It is based on a strong entrepreneurship ecosystem and a process for the commercialisation of innovations, involving students, alumni, and investor and enterprise networks. We educate future problem-solvers to change the world and work as we know it. We pioneer in international Master’s programmes and education export. Our graduates have a high employment rate and find challenging work corresponding to their education.

Studies show that students are very satisfied with LUT. In an extensive international survey (International Student Barometer) we are ranked first in Finland, second in Continental Europe, and eighth worldwide. We commit to the promotion of open science. Openness helps us to increase the scientific impact, reliability and transparency of our research. Our aim is to climb to the highest maturity level 5 referred to in the Open Science and Research Initiative of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture by the year 2020. We are an agile reformer of organisational structures. We have made the strategic choice to establish the LUT group in which the science university is the head of the higher education consortium. Education and research would be carried out in LUT’s schools and the university of applied sciences in parallel with them, in accordance with the international model.


50 400 5

doctorates a year publications with a national Publication Forum rating of 2-3 showcases of research excellence (funding from the European Research Council and the Academy of Finland, centres of excellence)


85 million euro turnover 45% external funding 5 million euros from the European Commission


60% 650 450 200

of students complete at least 55 ECTS credits a year higher university degrees a year Master’s degrees in technology Master’s degrees in business

LEADERSHIP: Best university workplace in Finland (Great Place to Work ®)

IMPACT: First entrepreneurial university in Finland meeting the OECD criteria Graduate employment rate higher than in other universities 15% more citations annually (Scopus)


Trailblazer - LUT Strategy 2020  
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