Karelia2030 – sustainable vitality

The Karelia2030 strategy was approved in the Board of Directors’ meeting in December 2019. In accordance with the established practice and the plan set out in the strategy, the mid-term review of the of the strategy has been carried out in spring 2023. On the basis of the review, the strategy has been updated to reflect the challenges and opportunities arising from the changing operational environment.

Strategy (pdf)

The population ages, work life changes, environmental responsibility concerns us all and the global situation creates uncertainty

Central change trends in our operational environment are transformation of work, digitalization, ageing population and climate change. As work transforms, also the organization of work, content and technologies as well as ways of working and competence requirements change. Employment requires a solid educational base, and responding to quick changes in work calls for the constant update of competences. Digitalization serves as a major transformative power in changes in technology and competence. The nature of work changes from routine tasks to information-intensive expert work and the productivity requirements rise. The ageing of the population and the decrease in younger age groups are concerns throughout Finland. The significance of regionally extensive higher education as a reinforcer in vitality is growing, and the importance of education-based immigration is highlighted. At the same time, competing for students, competences and partnerships is highlighted, as well. Finland has committed to being a pioneer in fighting climate change. This calls for quick, major changes in society.

Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Savonia University of Applied Sciences and University of Eastern Finland work together to support competencies and vitality in Eastern Finland. In collaboration with different operators, the institutions of higher education invest in work and education-based immigration and engaging experts in the needs of the region and the nation. The COVID-19 pandemic revolutionised teaching, learning and working practices. The transformation of work accelerated, and in many sectors the operational requirements changed dramatically. Digitalisation and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) have progressed faster than anticipated. The Digivisio 2030 programme will lead to increased collaboration between Finnish higher education institutions. As a result of the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the significance of the security of supply and energy has increased. Economic uncertainty has increased and international cooperation relationships have had to be reassessed.

Karelia’s vision 2030

Karelia University of Applied Sciences is a valued, prosperous and international community in higher education. We are a central force in strengthening the vitality of our operational environment. We are known for high quality, innovative work, good results and highly competent staff. Our students and partners rate their service experience as excellent. We are a strategically networked expert at digital teaching and learning.



As an employer and a higher education community we operate in a responsible manner, promoting sustainable development. We constantly evaluate and develop the operations of our university of applied sciences. We aim for an open operational culture that follows the principles of open science and research.

Taking bold initiative

We are a competent and innovative higher education community. We are proactive and take bold actions to strengthen the vitality of our area. Together with our partners we proudly showcase the North Karelian expertise.  

Proximity to working life

Our operations are based on the development of regional work and economy and on promoting entrepreneurship. Our operations emphasise customer-orientation, interaction and partnership.

Strategic choices

Experts for the work life of tomorrow!

We provide seamless, high-quality training to produce experts with the skills needed in the work life, and strengthen entrepreneurship. We offer students clear and learner-centred options for skills development and degree completion. We emphasise guidance that supports learning, well-being and a sense of community in learning. We will strengthen the quality and attractiveness of the education through educational profiling, close partnerships and cooperation and division of labour between higher education institutions. We offer innovative and pedagogically high-quality digital learning content and implementations. We provide customer-oriented continuous learning services for individuals and communities in changing work life and career paths. Through teaching cooperation, we provide significant added value to students from other higher education institutions in our country. We strengthen the vitality of the region through bold, knowledge- and research-based openings.  

Education-based immigration and internationalisation!

In cooperation with businesses, educational organisations and other partners in the region, will actively increase the educational and labour immigration. We will expand the foreign-language degree training and retraining and upgrading of qualifications to meet the labour market needs, including a strong emphasis on Finnish language teaching and support for integration and employment. We will develop international student recruitment to support study requirements, employment and local integration. We actively support the internationalisation of the region’s work communities.

We will increase the amount of international funding for research and development. Our international business will focus on profitable development projects, contract training, commissioned education and student recruitment. We will build strategic, strong and long-term international higher educational partnerships. In our partnerships and in the areas where we recruit students, we take into account the changes in the global situation. We will create a truly international and networked higher education community in Karelia.

Sustainable well-being!

We will develop flexible and effective education solutions to improve the availability of skilled staff, especially nurses, across the region. We will support the development of staff skills in a changing service structure. We will promote the renewal of workplace culture and first line management, as well as the continuity of careers.

Together with our partners, we will innovate services and digital solutions that support sustainable well-being. We work together to build research and development environments that enable deeper skills development, the deployment of new technologies and user-driven product and service development. Our aim is to make North Karelia a leading region in age-friendliness and the promotion of health and well-being.

Intelligent production and services!

We work in multiple sectors to develop new industrial solutions and automation of service processes with our partners in work life and businesses. We will support the implementation of advanced technologies and innovations to strengthen the businesses’ growth and competitiveness. We will integrate smart manufacturing skills into degree programmes, continuous learning and research, development and innovation.

We will train people with competencies in designing and deploying AI-enabled services and applications. We will develop knowledge management skills in the degree programmes and continuous learning. In our own processes we are at the forefront of digitalisation, knowledge production and knowledge management.

Solutions for the green transition!

We will integrate green transition solutions into all the teaching and activities at the University of Applied Sciences. We are committed to the carbon neutrality goals of the city of Joensuu and North Karelia region.

We will promote new investments, bold innovations and exports in our area through product and process development. We aim to be a national leader in climate-smart construction, new energy solutions and energy efficiency. We will develop green transition solutions in international networks together with our partners in work life and higher education institutions.  

Karelia 2030 Metro Map

Increasing the amount of degree programmes -> Open UAS 20 000 credits -> High school to UAS route -> Increasing continuous learning -> New curricula 2022 -> Professional production of digital content -> Career guidance services -> 75% of students graduating on schedule -> UAS Master’s Degrees 120 -> UAS Bachelor’s Degrees 740 -> 5% graduating as entrepreneurs -> Senior UAS -> Open UAS 30 000 credits -> UAS Master’s Degrees 150 -> UAS Bachelor’s Degrees 800

Degree Programme in Industrial Management 2020 -> International networks in focus areas -> Renewed Degree Programme in International Business 2021 -> ICT education launched 2022 -> Secondary education path for immigrants -> Internationality as a target for audit 2023 -> 1st Horizon project -> Member in the EUA network -> International commercial activities 0.5 M€ -> International experts graduate to working life -> Immigration services -> International quality audit 2029 -> International commercial activities 0.5 M€ -> 450 International degree students -> International RDI funding 2,0 M€

Social and health care living lab for sparsely populated areas -> International networks for competences in ageing -> Supporting the social and health care service structure renewal -> Elderly Care Professionals education starts 2022 -> Multidisciplinary health communication -> Active Ageing education starts 2023 -> Social and health care experts for sparsely populated areas -> 1st Horizon project -> KAFS unit launches -> Service business 0,4 M€ -> RDI funding 1,0 M€ -> International RDI funding 0,5 M€

Industry 4.0 demo environment -> Robotic process automation (RPA) service products -> A digital twin for building automation -> ICT Education starts 2022 -> Karelia processes automated -> Knowledge management service products -> Learning environment for business -> Intelligent automation education -> Strategic international network -> Diploma studies -> Smart summer school -> 1st Horizon project -> Service business 0,4 M€ -> RDI funding 1,0 M€ -> International RDI funding 0,5 M€

Strengthening national and international networks -> International seminars -> Carbon neutral solutions for building and energy management -> Environmental liability to curricula -> Modernized R&D and learning environments -> 1st Horizon project -> Environmental certification 2024 -> RDI funding 1,0 M€ -> National pioneer in wood construction -> Carbon neutral Karelia 2028 -> Service business 0,6 M€ -> RDI funding 2,0 M€ -> International RDI funding 1,0 M€