Unlocking Urban Innovation: UNIC Summer School Success Story

Imagine a unique summer school experience that brings together students from Oulu and Bochum to explore the fascinating world of Smart City concepts. That’s what happened on 11-15 September 2023 in Germany.
A group of 21 people standing in front of a big grey building with lots of windows, and smiling to the camera.
Students of the UNIC Summer School in Bochum. Photo: ©RUB

The Faculty of Economics at Ruhr University Bochum hosted an inspiring UNIC Summer School in September, welcoming students from University of Oulu. Together, the students discussed pressing urban challenges like climate change and explored innovative smart city concepts.

The five-day visit was dedicated to the cities of Oulu and Bochum, and the smart city strategies they have developed. The theme of the Summer School was “Smart City Concepts in Oulu & Bochum: Solutions to Pressing Urban Challenges”. The aim was to enable students to exchange knowledge across borders, gain hands-on knowledge for their future careers and to acquire experience in international teamwork.

Successful experience

Initiators of the Summer School, Professor Michael Roos from the Ruhr University Bochum and Associate Professor Jaakko Simonen from the Oulu Business School at the University of Oulu, were pleased with the outcome. The students had a fantastic time, they forged valuable connections, and even provided city representatives with innovative ideas for urban development.

“It was great to watch how enthusiastically and energetically the students tackled the subject of the course, i.e., the development of smart urban environments. During the week, we also got to see concretely the projects of the city of Bochum around the theme. According to representatives of the city of Bochum, the development ideas drawn up by the students were such that it is definitely worth taking them on for further development”, Simonen sums up the experience.

The Dean for Education at the Oulu Business School, Professor Satu Nätti is also delighted for the successful cooperation:

“It is great to see how the UNIC cooperation agreement is starting to materialize, in addition to online course offerings, into cooperation between faculties and students.”

The core of UNIC

The Summer School hit the core of what the UNIC is all about:

“In addition to academic cooperation, UNIC's core idea is to bring together universities and their hometowns around common development challenges, as stated in the name of the consortium: UNIC-The European University of Post-Industrial Cities”, Satu Nätti describes.

During the successful week, discussions on how to continue the well-started cooperation with the Ruhr University Bochum were started.

“I am looking forward to the continuation of the cooperation with the Faculty of Business and Economics at the Ruhr University Bochum, which has started well. When we visited the site last fall, we felt like-mindedness and genuine interest in developing cooperation”, Nätti concludes.

Huge thanks to Ruhr University Bochum for the invitation!

Interested in hearing what the students had to say about the Summer School? Check out the news article on the Ruhr University website.