On the 26th of May 2021, the Finnish UAV Ecosystem (FUAVE) had a fruitful meeting with the UAS (Drone) University Collaboration Network (UCNDrone) project. The primary objective of the UCNDrone project is to create a new nationally comprehensive university network focusing on the education and RDI activities related to Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technologies and applications. The members of the network have their strengths, based on which they will identify national and international development targets to develop education and research. In terms of education, this means identifying the competencies needed by businesses and developing education according to the needs. In research, strengthening the collaboration with networks and stakeholders will create the conditions for joint projects and more effective research in Finland and the European Union.
The UCNDrone project is funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, and the total budget is 823 116 EUR for two years of the project duration. The UCNDrone project partners are:
- University of Oulu
- University of Helsinki
- University of Turku
- Centria University of Applied Sciences
- Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
- Savonia University of Applied Sciences
- South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences
- Tampere University of Applied Sciences
- Turku University of Applied Sciences
- Oulu University of Applied Sciences (coordinates the UCNDrone network).
Both universities from Oulu and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences are the Core Members of FUAVE too and the other UCNDrone members have now joined as Academic Members of FUAVE. Nevertheless, the network of academic partners is to be expanded by inviting all the other Finnish universities to join. The plan is to develop collaborative processes and activities through which Finnish academic partners will together contribute to the UAS domain development in Finland for at least five years after the project time.
FUAVE and UCNDrone agreed to help each other with communication and dissemination activities and joint events planning and co-organising. These include, for example, the FUAVE stakeholder event (the 26th of August, 2021), Oulu – Hailuoto test zone opening (August 2021,) and The Third International Workshop on Advances in Innovative Drone Enhanced Applications (IDEA21, October 27-28th, 2021, https://www.fruct.org/idea21).
Several joint action plans were discussed and both FUAVE and UCNDrone agreed to implement those together. The unanimously agreed action plans are the following:
- Organising a national survey on UAS education needs.
- Organising a national survey on UAS research needs.
- Identifying UAS stakeholder circles and key UAS stakeholders.
- Communication and Dissemination activities.
Both FUAVE and UCNDrone look positively into the productive collaboration and development of the UAS domain in Finland.