Academia and Practitioners unite in the second NEEDS Intensive Study Programme

On 1-7 May 2022, 37 students, teachers, and experts gathered in Porkkala, Finland, to participate in the second Intensive Study Programme (ISP) of the Erasmus+ project NEEDS. This immersive week-long program focused on exploring and discussing societal security.

The NEEDS Intensive Study Programmes (ISPs) serve as intensive study weeks, providing students with the opportunity to connect with practitioners in the field of societal security. The primary objective of the ISPs is to bridge the gap between societal security education and the actual needs in the field. By bringing together academia and practitioners, the programmes aim to foster a better understanding and exchange of knowledge between the two sides. Through this collaboration, the participants can provide valuable input and recommendations for the development of improved societal security education.

The second of the three one-week-long ISPs marked the first in-person meeting among the participants, bringing together students, professors, and practitioners from across the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). Throughout the week, attendees deepened their understanding of societal security, developed essential skills, and networked with their peers and industry professionals.

Under the overarching theme of “Societal Security in the BSR,” the participants engaged in discussions on various topics. These included exploring the role of young people in societal security, making sense of crises in the BSR, understanding the perspective of a societal security practitioner, effective communication during crises, and strategies for improving societal security in the BSR from a youth perspective.

The program consisted of presentations, group work, table-top exercises based on real-case scenarios, analytical framework tasks, and a panel featuring practitioners from the field. Students had the opportunity to work with existing course materials developed by NEEDS, while also contributing their insights to shape and enhance future material.

The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) played a significant role as the lead partner in the NEEDS project. As the main organiser of the event, CBSS collaborated with Laurea University of Applied Sciences, which hosted the ISP. 

The NEEDS project addresses the existing skills gap and mismatch between societal security education and the practical knowledge required in the field. It also seeks to promote transnational cooperation and dialogue between higher education institutes, practitioners and experts dealing with societal security.

For more information about the project, visit project’s page.