University of Vaasa awarded its best research and teaching acts of 2022

During the anniversary celebration on Friday 27 January, the University of Vaasa awarded the research and teaching acts of the year. The Research Act of the Year 2022 was awarded to researchers in economic law and accounting Marika Salo-Lahti, Mikko Ranta and Helena Haapio. University Lecturer Minnie Kontkanen got the Teaching Act of the Year 2022. In addition, Binod Timilsina received the Good Teacher award from the Students' Union of the University of Vaasa.

Research act of the year combined artificial intelligence with legal design

Assistant Professors Marika Salo-Lahti and Mikko Ranta and Associate Professor Helena Haapio received the Research Act of the Year award for their research that combines artificial intelligence (AI) with legal design for a better and more sustainable business. The multidisciplinary research brings together different disciplines, education and research in a concrete way.

– The demands for corporate responsibility have increased, and contracts, regulations and reporting have become more complex. Legal design aims to solve these problems and make information related to investing, contracting and reporting easier to produce and use, says Salo-Lahti.

– Artificial intelligence (AI), on the other hand, offers completely new possibilities for presenting, finding and using information. For example, AI tools can be used to find the required information in large volumes of text, to create easy-to-understand summaries and to identify what is relevant for decision-making, continues Ranta.

AI can also facilitate the fulfilment of information requirements under the new sustainability regulation and the use of sustainability information in investment decisions. This in turn will contribute to channelling investments into sustainable projects.

– In our research, we have explored how AI tools, such as Open AI's GPT-3 and ChatGPT, open up new opportunities to facilitate the work of readers and writers so that people and businesses can better understand their rights and responsibilities, address the causes of sustainability problems, and monitor and enforce sustainability principles. As our work continues, we see the combination of legal design and AI opening up many exciting opportunities for business and society, says Haapio.

Teaching act of the year award for the development of an international master's programme

University Lecturer Minnie Kontkanen received the Teaching Act of the Year award for the active and long-term development of the master's degree programme in international business.

Kontkanen has been responsible for the degree programme since 2005, and she has been actively involved in the implementation of accreditation processes since 2010. Kontkanen has led the systematic development of the structure of the degree programme as well as the combination of contact and distance teaching. One successful result of the development work is a significant increase in the percentage of degrees completed within the target time.

– Our goal is that students not only complete their studies within the target time but that they can also work during their studies, especially during the second year, says Kontkanen.

Significant steps have also been taken by profiling the programme into responsible global business. This way, the programme has managed to stand out from other Finnish master’s degree programmes in international business. Last year, the number of applications received to the programme was the highest of all programmes in our university, which shows that the development has been right also in terms of profiling.

In the photo (from left to right): Minnie Kontkanen, Mikko Ranta and Marika Salo-Lahti.

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