The development of human technology can become a new path to success for companies, says Ilpo Kokkila. He is leading a support group for University of Jyväskylä’s (JYU) fundraising campaign, which is looking for companies and communities to sponsor technology education at JYU. In the autumn, a new master’s degree education in information and software engineering will start at JYU. Graduates from this programme will have expertise in technology and human sciences.

Ilpo Kokkila, the founder of SRV and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Pontos Group, believes strongly in his current mission to generate support from the business world for technology education at JYU. Kokkila himself has a master of science degree in technology, and he has had a long career in the construction business. He is fascinated by human–machine relationships and in our increasingly digital society, especially how technology can be developed to contribute to human wellbeing.

“We need technology that people find easy to use,” Ilpo Kokkila says.

Kokkila finds the market has plenty of room for simple solutions.

“We need technology that people find easy to use,” he explains. “The electronics industry has not yet invested in user-friendliness in the same way as car manufacturers have. The aging population in our societies only highlights this need.”

Kokkila compares the situation to driving a rental car: “Using a rental car is nowadays not at all as exciting as renting a car abroad used to be. Few people need to wonder how the car actually works when heading out from the parking lot of a car rental office.”

He hopes the electronics industry would aim for a similar universal user experience.

Technology bringing new success through collaboration

The University of Jyväskylä is looking for companies and communities to sponsor technology education. The new master’s degree education in information and software engineering is starting in the Faculty of Information Technology in autumn 2021.

This education also responds to the challenges of human technology: a prospective master of science in technology learns not only the logic and methods of information technology but also other approaches to humans, technology and society. The technology studies can be combined with studies in music, sport and health sciences, education, brain research, psychology, journalism, mathematics or economics.

Close cooperation brings long-term benefits.

Kokkila predicts that companies and the University of Jyväskylä can join forces in this new education and make a successful breakthrough.

“This could be really significant for the region if they jointly set out to develop technology and services that support people’s mental wellbeing,” he says.

Kokkila emphasises the long-term benefits of close cooperation, which can include thesis projects, internships and collaborative research.

“The IT field is advancing rapidly, so it’s good that both partners get the latest knowledge about any changes in a timely way. Firms receive skilled interns and eventually committed employees who are already familiar with what the firm does. Correspondingly, JYU keeps in contact with the real-world issues that matter to companies.”

“This kind of cooperation,” Kokkila says, “is eye-opening for both sides.”

Many ways to donate

Technology education is the spearhead of JYU’s current fundraising campaign, which lasts until June 2022.

“JYU will use this degree education in technology to promote the vitality of the region”, says Rector Keijo Hämäläinen.

“Now companies have a great opportunity to invest in expertise. With the government’s matching funding, the size of any investment is at least doubled, not to mention the related tax deduction. JYU will use this degree education in technology to promote the vitality of the region, creating expertise, jobs and enterprises in all sectors,” says Rector Keijo Hämäläinen.

The effect of a single donation is multiplied many times over, as the government is offering universities matching funding to be shared among universities in proportion to the private capital they have acquired. So, each euro donated to JYU can mean up to 2.5 euros in matching funding.

A donation of over 10,000 euros can also be directed to a specific educational field within JYU. The collected funds can be allocated to finance research projects, purchase equipment and recruit Professors of Practice, for example.

“Donors can contribute to our fundraising campaign in various ways as a community, a firm or a private individual. Please feel free to contact us so we talk about your preferences for cooperation or a donation, and what kind of arrangements would be practical regarding matching funding and tax deduction. For example, an anniversary can be a good reason to arranging fundraising for the benefit of science,” says Head of External Relations Anu Mustonen.

Technology education is highlighted in this campaign, but donors are free to direct their contribution to any educational field within JYU:

Companies, communities and private individuals receive a significant tax deduction for their donation. The fundraising campaign lasts until 30 June 2022.

For further information: Head of External Relations Anu Mustonen, anu.mustonen@jyu.fi . +358 50 564 9022 Invest in the future. A donation to the University is the most effective way to support future development.

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