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New collaboration between robotics cities Riihimäki and Odense

24.4.2024 news Robotics Campus – Scale up Robotics

Image: Kim Saarinen

Finland’s and Denmark’s leading cities for robotics education have agreed on a significant collaboration. Riihimäki and the Danish city of Odense have signed a collaboration agreement to express their willingness to work together to develop robotics pedagogy and methods, technological thinking, and technological literacy.

In practice, the collaboration will include, among others, mobility of pupils and teachers, pedagogical development of teaching, continuing training of teachers, and cooperation around curricula. These objectives will be be pursued, for example, through the ERASMUS+ programme. Collaboration can also take the form of innovation workshops and joint events.

Nurturing future skills is an objective for both cities

In Odense, Susanne Crawley, Deputy Mayor for Children and Youth Affairs, is looking forward to the cooperation.

“In times of global conflict, it’s important to me that we engage in meaningful international collaboration. There is a strong tradition of cooperation between the Nordic countries. I am sure that Odinskolen in Odense and Riihimäki can enrich each other when it comes to technological literacy in education. It is therefore clear that engaging in partnerships where we can learn from each other, both on a human level and in terms of technological understanding, is a good idea,” Susanne Crawley says.

Senior Advisor in Robotics Education Reetta Viitanen from the Riihimäki Robotics Campus is also excited about the collaboration:

“There are many similarities in the pedagogical perspectives of Odinskolen and Riihimäki robotics education models, and it will be really interesting to learn how Odinskolen has organised its teaching and learning facilities, and managed to attract companies in the industry to support and complement the school’s work. Riihimäki, for its part, can offer Odinskolen its experience in the long-term development of robotics education for children of all ages, and the support structures around it. Riihimäki has been providing continuing robotics training for teachers since 2016.”

Riihimäki invests in robotics skills and competences at all school levels: every child receives robotics education as part of the public early childhood and comprehensive education. In addition, pupils have the opportunity to choose robotics as an optional subject in grades 5, 6, 8 and 9, and to attend robotics clubs. Robotics can also be studied at the Riihimäki General Upper Secondary School, as well as at the vocational college Hyria Education, and at the Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK).

Odense in Denmark is one of the world’s leading cities for robotics research, development and innovation. The story of robotics development in Odense began when the Maersk shipyard realised in the 1980s that jobs were at risk to disappear from Denmark to countries with lower labour costs. This prompted Maersk to invest in technology and robotics to remain competitive in the market. Now, thanks to this continued work, Odense has top-level technology education, research, business, jobs and the ability to invest in them all.

The Robotics Campus – Scale up! project has opened doors to collaboration

In October 2023, leaders from the Robotics Campus – Scale up! project, the City of Riihimäki, and Häme University of Applied Sciences visited Odense. During the visit, the delegation toured local robotics facilities, including the Odinskolen comprehensive school which specialises in robotics.

“The visit was inspiring and confirmed that we are on the right track: the development of robotics education has been a strategic priority for the City of Riihimäki since 2017. With the Robotics Campus – Scale up! project, we are taking the next step towards a robotics innovation ecosystem. High-quality robotics education, starting from early childhood education, and our educational institutions’ investment in skills are key, solid foundations for this work. Companies locating here can rest assured that we have skilled young people and professionals growing up to meet the needs of business growth,” says Jouni Eho, the Mayor of Riihimäki.

Headmaster at Odinskolen in Odense Lars Breinholt Søndergaard is looking forward to the new collaboration:

“At Odinskolen, we have an ambitious path for STEAM subjects and robotics education. We look forward to being able to develop the area further together with our strong Finnish colleagues who are just as ambitious in the field as we are.”

The City of Riihimäki and Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK) are jointly developing a robotics competence and innovation centre as part of the Robotics Campus – Scale up! project. The project is part-funded by the Regional Council of Häme from national funding allocated for regional development.

Further information:

Susanne Crawley, Deputy Mayor, Department for Children and Youth Affairs, City of Odense, Denmark. Tel. +456 375 4525

Lars Breinholt Søndergaard, Headmaster at Odinskolen, City of Odense, Denmark. Tel. +456 375 4525

Jouni Eho, Mayor, the City of Riihimäki, Finland. Tel. +358 44 767 6674

Pia Engström, Development Manager, Robotics Campus, City of Riihimäki, Finland. Tel. +358 40 629 7672