The City of Turku collaborates with universities to incorporate academic insights into strategic development and decision-making. The main collaboration platform is the Turku Urban Research Programme, a joint initiative between the City of Turku, the University of Turku, and Åbo Akademi University.
The Turku Urban Research Programme seeks to support academic urban research, transfer the results into urban governance, and contribute to knowledge exchange between the universities and the municipality.
The programme annually arranges an urban research funding competition for two-year academic projects, provides for small tailored research projects based on the municipality’s topical needs, and runs a grants competition for Master’s theses being written on urban topics at the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. The funded research projects involve active and systematic collaboration between the researchers and the practitioners.
The programme is supervised by a high-profile steering board whose members include the Mayor of Turku, the rectors of both universities, leading experts from the municipality, and university professors. The operational manager is a research director, who is jointly appointed by the University of Turku and the City of Turku. The research director also provides knowledge-brokering services within the programme and the individual research projects.
The Turku Urban Research Programme is an outstanding model of strategic city-university collaboration. It has been recognised as an international best practice, for example, by UniverCity Action Lab and the EUniverCities network.