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Partnership with University of Johannesburg: Taking the collaboration further

Laurea signed the strategic partnership agreement with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in 2017, during the Laurea rectorate’s visit in Johannesburg.

Virpi Kaartti and Nickey Jense van Rensburg - drafting the project proposal

News 28.3.2019

The foundation for the strategic partnership agreement was created earlier in a research project where Senior Lecturer Ritva Jäättelä was actively involved, and shaped during two visits of UJ top management teams at Laurea during 2016. Since then there has been a clear intent to build up and deepen the collaboration between the universities in several sectors.

Dr. Jukka Ojasalo from Laurea has been a Visiting Professor at UJ in the Department of Marketing Management at the College of Business and Economics from 2017. Furthermore, there are two PhD students, Virpi Kaartti and Sami Kauppinen, from Laurea staff making their studies focusing on service design in that same department. On the strategic level collaboration can be seen in Laurea’s International Advisory Board (IAB) that supports the strategic development of Laurea’s operations: Vuyisile Phehane, Eisenhower Fellow Technology Transfer Office Director, is representing UJ in this forum.

Traditionally universities do student and teacher exchange, which is also one form of collaboration between Laurea and UJ. In addition to Jukka Ojasalo’s visits as a Professor there, Virpi Kaartti was there lately in teacher exchange lecturing in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture and the Faculty of Humanities in the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies. Further, an exchange program for the master degree students has been developed together with Nickey Janse van Rensburg, Manager of Process, Energy & Environment Technology Station (PEETS) that focuses on Sustainable Socio-Technical Systems Research. PEETS is part of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at UJ. The theme of the exchange program is circular economy and especially urban agriculture, in which context a service design approach is applied to create new sustainable business models.

"Circular economy and urban agriculture is also the theme of the research proposal that is currently planned. Both universities have already a good track record of the projects around this topic, so it is natural to continue our research in this theme where we have a possibility to build continuation and more sustainable solutions for the stakeholders of the projects. We are now forming a multi-disciplinary research team for the project and recruiting the partners – some of them already onboard", Kaartti tells.

Urban agriculture

If you are interested to learn more, feel free to contact:

Virpi Kaartti, Laurea UAS,
Ritva Jäättelä, Laurea UAS,
Jukka Ojasalo, Laurea UAS,
Nickey Jense van Rensburg, UJ-PEETS,

More information: