cooperation with the academic community

Partnerships and networks with universities and research institutions are an important part of Outotec’s everyday business. In 2017, Outotec cooperated with more than 30 universities and research institutions worldwide.

In Finland, Outotec’s closest research partners in 2017 were Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Lappeenranta University of Technology, University of Oulu, the Geological Survey of Finland and the University of Helsinki. In Germany, where Outotec also has an in-house research center, we have had good collaboration with technical universities in Aachen, Erlangen, Darmstadt, Karlsruhe, Hamburg and Freiberg. The scope of these partnerships varies, but they are primarily related to process technology, resource efficiency, digitalization and IoT development, circular economy, hybrid materials and water issues.

Outotec is a core partner in the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s (EIT) Raw materials Knowledge and Innovation Community. This platform aims to make raw materials into a major strength for Europe by boosting competitiveness and the attractiveness of the raw materials sector. Outotec participates in nearly 20 related projects, aiming to create new business by upscaling technologies, while also generating new educational programs and strengthening Europe’s infrastructural network. The volume of these projects in total is ca. one million euros yearly.

Also, Outotec participates in further EU Horizon 2020 projects in the fields of Industrial Leadership, Societal Challenges and Excellent Science. We have 9 Horizon projects ongoing, with an overall volume of nearly two million euros yearly. These projects are carried out together with industrial actors and academic partners. This allows us to develop our technologies in close interaction with our customers, thus achieving a greater impact on real environmental problems.

Besides project-related research cooperation, Outotec has permanent type of partnerships with many universities or other educational institutes. These partnerships involve contributing to educational steering committees, guest lecturing, software licensing, hosting student groups, and collaborating on Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD theses.

Outotec also participates in the technical secretariat of the EU’s Operational Environmental Footprint Sectoral Rules (OEFSR), piloting for copper.

Outotec had the Presidency of the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP) in 2017.

Read more about our representation in industry associations and commitment to external initiatives.

Sustainability Master Class

One example of educational cooperation in 2017 is the Sustainability Master Class, which was jointly run by the University of Helsinki and Outotec to fuel innovation by activating an interdisciplinary group of 45 young researchers and professionals. In the four-month program the participants were divided into six groups which focused on the real business challenges set by Outotec. The co-creation work was mentored by business and technology experts. In the final pitch in April the first prize went to MineLoop, an online tool for real-time continuous communication between the mining companies and local communities. The application enables effective stakeholder dialogue and data collection of both “hard data” from environmental measurements and “soft data” i.e. feedback, questions and concerns from the locals. The application period for the next Master Class was open in November and the program continues in 2018. 

Outotec has also established sustainability prize to encourage university students to apply their ideas to create practical innovations. In Central South University in China Outotec has awarded the ten best projects promoting sustainable design since 2013.  In 2016 a decision was made to continue this cooperation biannually for at least four more years.