Societal Perspectives to innovation Opportunities in Technology

Project coordinator

Vikki Eriksson, Aalto University



Finland, The Netherlands

News & articles

Student discipline

Sciences technology

What is the idea behind the ATTRACT Project?

Project at a glance

  • Utilizes creative problem-solving tools to generate a systemic perspective for the students.
  • Learning happens in a hands-on manner.
  • Builds the capabilities for young professionals to come up with innovative solutions with societal impact.

Public summary

SPOT brings Societal Perspectives to innovation Opportunities in Technology through the collaboration of Aalto University, TU Delft and ATTRACT. Creative problem-solving tools to consider systemic perspectives in a hands-on manner build the capabilities of future professionals to contribute towards innovative solutions with societal impact. At the same time, this learning process can be leveraged to raise new perspectives on the ATTRACT R&D&I projects to consider.

This program draws from three courses, two at Aalto University, Finland, and one at TU Delft, Netherlands. The primary course, Mechanical Engineering in Society, is a compulsory Master’s level course that brings together engineering students from seven different study paths: Marine Technology, Product Development, Arctic Technology, Mechatronics, Engineering Materials, Production Engineering, and Solid Mechanics. Educating 120 students annually, the course raises students’ awareness of the breadth and impact of engineering in academia and in industry. Students analyze and identify innovation opportunities using human-centred design methods and prototype novel solution concepts tied to ATTRACT cases.

The main learning objectives of the course for students are:

  1. Knowing how their field of study connects to a variety of economic, environmental, and societal issues.
  2. Being able to articulate how their unique professional profile equips them to contribute productively.
  3. Valuing the importance of collaborating effectively and of communicating ideas clearly.

The teaching team of the course is interdisciplinary, including engineering, design and behavioural scientists. To support and broaden the learning goals, the course includes an integrated compulsory language course, focusing on effective communication, idea pitching and articulating one’s own learnings with the help of communications experts. In addition, the methodology will be tested and iterated in the Bachelor Final Project course for industrial design engineers to ensure wide applicability.