– sustainable vitality

Over the coming decade, our focus will be on promoting continuous learning and education-based immigration. Our strategic strengths include well-being services in sparsely populated areas, intelligent production and services as well as carbon neutral solutions.

Karelia University of Applied Sciences strategy (PDF)

Population ages, work changes,
environmental responsibility concerns everyone

The central change trends in our operational environment are transformation of work, digitalisation, an ageing population and climate change. As work transforms, the organisation of work, content and technologies as well as ways of working and competence requirements also change. Employment requires a solid educational base, and responding to quick changes in work requires the constant update of competence. Digitalisation is a central driver of change in technology and competence. Routine work is transformed into information-intensive specialist work and the productivity demands increase. The ageing population and the decreasing number of young people impact Finland as a whole. Regionally extensive higher education becomes increasingly important to each area’s vitality and the significance of education-based immigration is emphasised. This also increases the competition for students, competence and partnerships. Finland has committed to being a pioneer in fighting climate change. This calls for fast and major changes in the whole society.

The operational cooperation between Karelia UAS, Savonia UAS and the University of Eastern Finland supports competence and vitality in Eastern Finland, in particular. Together with different operators, the universities invest in work and education-based immigration and strive to commit talent to the needs of the region and Finland as a whole.

Karelia vision 2030

Karelia is a respected, prosperous and international university community. We support vitality within our operational environment. We are known for innovative, high-quality operation, good results and strong competence of staff. Both our students and partners receive an excellent service experience.

Karelia values


We are a responsible employer and university community and promote sustainable development. We continuously assess and develop our university operations. We implement an open operating culture in line with the principles of open science and research.

Pioneering spirit

We are a skilled and innovative university community. Our operating and learning environments support goal-oriented learning and the continuous development of expertise.

Working life orientation

The development of the region’s working life and industry as well as promoting entrepreneurship are central to our operations. We emphasise customer-orientation, interactivity and partnership.

Strategic choices

Vitality to working life through competence!

We listen and react attentively to the needs of working life. We support the strengthening of entrepreneurship and the extending of careers at their different stages. Together with our partners, we boldly take the initiative in order to strengthen the vitality of the region. We are a wide-ranging developer of working community competence and emphasise services of continuous learning. We provide solutions to the challenges of an increasingly complex working life through flexible education and partner cooperation. We build career services for degree students and students updating their competence together with working life operators. We develop hybrid learning processes and make efficient use of modern teaching technology. We increase the attractiveness of education by expanding our recruitment area, profiling our education and providing different entry routes to education.

Education-based immigration and internationalisation!

We respond to the challenges posed by an ageing population, poor availability of workforce and transformation of work by increasing the internationality of the region and the university. We significantly increase the amount of international funding in Karelia’s research and development activities. We strengthen education-based immigration together with companies, education organisations and other partners in the region. In order to respond to the needs of working life, we will develop degree qualification and retraining and upgrading qualification in English that will also include strong teaching of Finnish and support for integration and employment. We build education and employment paths to support education-based immigration together with other education organisations. Karelia will be a genuinely international and networked university community.

Sustainable well-being in a sparsely populated area!

We support the availability of skilled employees in the region’s welfare services outside the urban areas by developing flexible and effective education solutions. We strengthen the preconditions of ageing social and health care employees for participating in working life and continuing their working careers. Together with our partners from different fields, we develop products, services, operating models and technological solutions that support sustainable well-being. We operate actively in regional, national and international well-being networks. Together with our working life partners, we build research and development environments for continuous learning that enable the enhancing of competence, implementation of new technologies and development of user-oriented products and services. We work to make North Karelia the leading area in promoting age-friendliness, health and wellbeing.

Intelligent production and services!

We develop new and intelligent industrial solutions and service process automation in a multidisciplinary manner with our working life and business partners. We support the smooth implementation of advanced technologies and innovations in order to increase the growth and competitiveness of companies. We reform multidisciplinary learning, research and innovation environments for intelligent production and services. We support the growth and competitiveness of companies with ongoing training in intelligent products and automated services. Our research and innovation environment offers our partner companies a possibility to develop their operation in interaction with students from various fields. Karelia graduates are professionals who know the opportunities of data systems, automation and digitalisation in their operating environments and can develop them together with experts from other fields. Digitalisation is integrated into all education. We are a pioneer of digitalisation and knowledge management in our own processes.

Carbon neutral solutions!

We are committed to the carbon neutrality objectives of the City of Joensuu and the region of North Karelia. Climate change and the solutions to fight it, such as circular economy and resource wisdom, are included in the education and activities of all our programmes. We focus on solutions which replace products based on non-renewable natural resources with products based on renewable natural resources. Related product and process development allows us to create new business that supports investment, bold innovation and export promotion in the region. Our particular focus areas include construction, building technology, renewable energy utilisation and energy-efficient solutions. Here, our aim is to be a national pioneer and to achieve strong international development orientation together with our national and international partners. Karelia enhances processing chain competence, such as product design and manufacturing as well as services related to their use and maintenance. The objective is to create advanced bio-based products.

Strategy implementation

The implementation of our strategy is monitored on an annual basis with the help of Karelia/TASO agreements, management reviews as well as performance and development discussions. Finances and operational results connected to strategic indicators are monitored monthly and the realisation of strategic development measures every four months in connection with the operational and financial review. The sector-specific implementation is evaluated together with Savonia UAS through internal auditing performed once or twice a year. The overall implementation of the strategy is evaluated every three years in interim evaluations, the first of which will take place in 2023.