Last updated: February 8, 2024

RCE Helsinki Metropolitan

Photo Credit: Anja Ruoti
Rce details
Date of RCE acknowledgement:
January, 2011
Description of RCE and Geographic Region:

RCE Helsinki Metropolitan is located in the South of Finland, on the coast of the Baltic Sea.

In 2015, the UN Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will steer the promotion of sustainable development in 2016–2030.

Finland is committed to reaching them both at home and in its international cooperation. Finland’s development cooperation supports this commitment.

Goals and Objectives:

Vision: 'Sustainable future is an active choice and it will be reached together!'

RCE Helsinki Metropolitan network is committed to further generating, accelerating and mainstreaming ESD by implementing the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD, and contributing to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

GAP on five priority areas:

1) Advancing policy

2) Transforming learning and training environments

3) Building capacities of educators and trainers

4) Empowering and mobilising youth, and

5) Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level.

Organisation Hosting RCE Secretariat:

Name of organisation: Association for Science Education
Type of organisation: Implementing ESD and SDGs from early childhood education to the school culture and civic society
Contact name: Marju Silander
Contact email:

Key Partners:

Name of organisation: Luma Centre Finland
Role: Science, SDG, R&D
Contact name: Dr. Maija Aksela
Contact email:

Name of organisation: Fingo
Role: Fingo works on Agenda 2030. It is the umbrella organisation of about 280 Finnish civil society organisations (CSOs) and an expert in global development.
Contact name: Rilli Lappalainen
Contact email:

Name of organisation: Aalto University
Role: ESD, SDG, R&D
Contact name: Jasmin Järvinen
Contact email:


Name of organisation: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences
Role: ESD, EE, SDG, R&D
Contact name: Dr. Anna Uitto
Contact email:

Name of organisation: Motiva
Role: Motiva provides the public sector, businesses, municipalities and consumers with information, solutions and services that allow them to make resource-efficient, effective and sustainable choices.
Contact name: Irmeli Mikkonen
Contact email:

Name of organisation: Finnish Nature Centre Haltia
Role: EE, ESD, SDG
Contact name: Elina Pilke
Contact email:

Current Activities:

Implementing the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD, and contributing to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

1. Advancing policy

Sustainable development
The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development / Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) calls for action by all countries in the world.

Fingo works for making sure that the 2030 Agenda is taken genuinely into account in the policies of Finland and the EU.

What are our demands?
Finland must be guided by the 2030 Agenda throughout its policies.  
The current Finnish Government Programme is based on the 2030 Agenda. Its implementation is supported by a Government Report, and there is a set of annual indicators employed to monitor progress made.  

In addition, the State Budget must support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and principles of the 2030 Agenda.   

For Finland to achieve the SDGs by 2030, a national roadmap is required, providing a plan for the measures to be taken to ensure the desired development over the next ten years.

EU priorities for 2019–2024 must support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda
Sustainable development is included in the priorities of the European Commission for 2019−2024. Each Commissioner must ensure the delivery of the SDGs within their policy area, while overall responsibility lies with the President of the Commission. The EU measures to deliver on the UN SDGs can be found here

Finland must take account of the role of civil society in the implementation of sustainable development
Finland must ensure civil society actors have sufficient resources and access to the implementation of sustainable development. Participation of the various societal actors strengthens transparency and helps to keep decision-makers accountable for their decisions.

Morning coffee meetings
The aim is to strengthen dialogue and common understanding, as well as finding ways to achieve the 4.7 goals. Ensure by 2030 that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.

Sustainable development is the basic values in the National Curriculums
Early childhood education and care, pre-primary, basic and general upper secondary education, vocational education and training.

RCE Helsinki Metropolitan / Association for Science Education
Sustainable school program
More than 20 environmental education and training organisations are proposing to launch a new, national Sustainable School program for kindergartens, primary and secondary schools. In the Sustainable School program, learners are empowered to build a sustainable future. The goal of a sustainable school is to implement knowledge, skills and practices into the school culture.

The program has been designed by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) Finland, the Finnish Association of Nature and Environmental Schools (LYKKY), the Association of Biology and Geography Teachers (BMOL), the Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ), the Early Childhood Education Teacher's Union of Finland. WWF Finland, Suomen Latu - The Outdoor Association of Finland, RCE Helsinki Metropolitan, Natur och Miljö, the Finnish Nature League, SYKLI Environmental School of Finland, Gardening Association for Children and Youth, The OKKA Foundation for Teaching, Education and Personal Development, Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association, Suomen Kiertovoima KIVO, The Association of Cultural Heritage Education in Finland, Fingo - an NGO platform and an expert on global development, Finnish Youth Center Association, Reuse Centre, Teacher Student Union of Finland SOOL, Climate change – project for high schools!

Finnish Environment Institute
New research-based information and comprehensive assessments and reports produced by SYKE support decision-makers. SYKE also develops means to mitigate climate change, circular economy and e.g., urbanisation together with other actors.

To boost education, research, and use of new infrastructure the Events – Freshwater Competence Centre was established. Events are open for all participants and organises monthly Events – Freshwater Competence Centre. Also European Blue nights were organised in water sector, Suomen ympäristökeskus > Tutkijoiden yö (Blue Nights) (

2. Transforming Learning and Training Environments

LUMA Centre Finland 
We are a science education network of Finnish universities. Our aim is to inspire and motivate children and youth into mathematics, science and technology (STEM). To achieve our goal, we develop new methods and activities of science and technology education based on research. Furthermore, we support the life-long learning of teachers working on all levels of education from the early childhood to universities and strengthen the development of research-based teaching.

Concerns and questions about climate are part of everyday discussions in our societies. Also, students in schools have questions they seek answers to. They are related to for example scientific, societal, ethical, and moral aspects. Students' questions can be used as part of climate change education in classrooms to make the topic approachable for the students, to activate students to learn, and raise hope for the future. The Finnish national core curriculum has also emphasized the importance of students` questions and climate in education.

The children, the youth and the families
We offer children and young people, and sometimes the whole family, opportunities to participate in science clubs, camps and workshops – or help them throw a science birthday party. Through us, many University courses are available to upper-secondary school pupils. We are also active online.

For teachers
We support teachers and learning communities in reaching the objectives set in the Finnish national core curriculum. For example, we can arrange school group visits to our science classrooms, we offer web-based materials and equipment on loan to support teachers.

Association for Science Education promoting ESD and SDGs in early childhood education and school culture.

Supporting pre-school teachers in science education and ESD.

Science material for pre-school teachers with Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre: and

In Swedish

In Finnish

Tutkijakoulu (in Finnish)

Finnish Environment Institute
The European accessibility act is a directive that aims to improve the functioning of the internal market for accessible products and services. SYKE is promoting this by developing more accessible www-site and extensive amount of material for education in several projects. One such page:

University of Helsinki
Annual Finland’s Children’s Forest Trip Day May

Aalto University is committed to promoting sustainability through research and education as well as in our campus development and other daily practices.

Shaping a sustainable future
Aalto University’s purpose is to shape a sustainable future. We do high-quality research, excelling and making breakthroughs in and across science, art, technology and business. We spark the game changers of tomorrow, and renew society with research-based knowledge, creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset. All our work is guided by the values of the university: responsibility, courage, and collaboration.  

We have adopted a living strategy tailored for a world in motion. Join regular events and online discussions to share your ideas about the future of our university.

The Sustainability Science Days is an international, two-day conference organised jointly by Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) and Aalto University on 18th-19th of May 2022. The conference will be held on-site at Aalto campus in Undergraduate Centre (Otakaari 1, 02150 Espoo), and online. This year the conference will focus on the theme of systemic transformations to sustainable futures in a globally connected world and highlight the urgency to act now.

The urgency for systemic sustainability transformations has been here for a long time. Transformations in multiple systems have been ongoing for a while; however, pace of change has been much slower than previously foreseen. We need more understanding of the interlinkages between sectors, actors, geographies, markets, practices and lifestyles as these have significant relevance for the impact and pace of change.

Motiva – a Sustainable Development Company is a multidisciplinary study and teaching module on the basics of climate change.

3. Building Capacities of Educators and Trainers

LUMA Centre Finland
For Teachers and Learning Communities
With the help of science education and communication, we will export scientific thought also outside the University, as knowledge belongs to everyone.

We support teachers and learning communities in reaching the objectives set in the Finnish national core curriculum. For example, we can arrange school group visits to our science classrooms, we offer web-based materials and equipment on loan to support teachers.

Science labs operate alongside universities, support meaningful formal, non-formal and informal science education with various operating models. Study visits can be carried out at the university as a part of kindergarten’s or school’s curriculum. Learners get to familiarize with research, research environments, researchers and they have the opportunity to carry out hands-on activities.

The LUMA Labs at the Kumpula campus are a key part of our operations. There are currently five labs:

Contact information for the Science Lab

Association for Science Education
Training days for pre-school and basic education teacher in science and ESD.

Aalto University
Education for sustainability
Teachers get peer-support on how to integrate sustainability aspects in their course practices and contents. We also offer dedicated master’s degree programmes and minor studies on a variety of sustainability themes, where our students learn to combine state-of-the-art sustainability aspects with relevant interdisciplinary understanding of the knowledge in other fields.

Open on-line courses


The LUMA Science Helsinki research group was founded at the beginning of 2021 and promotes scientific know-how and scientific literacy from early childhood education to higher education. LUMA Science Helsinki promotes multidisciplinary research-based science education. The research group is part of Faculty of Science and LUMA Centre Finland. LUMA science education has been conducted at the University of Helsinki since 2003.

We use design-based research in our development. This means planning and creating new pedagogical solutions around latest scientific research and schools' needs.

Research topics and themes
Currently, the following topics and themes are being researched and developed with one of the focus points being high school-university collaboration.

  • Virtual teaching and learning
  • Sustainable development
  • New pedagogical methods and approaches
  • Teacher training

LUMAT Science Research Forum aims to improve the quality, effectiveness, and visibility of the Finnish science education research. To achieve this, it develops and deepens the dialogue and research collaboration among the universities, faculties and research groups. Universities are in key position in supporting continuous learning opportunities in teacher education.

We also publish a double peer-reviewed open access journal LUMAT on math, science and technology education.

Publications will be updated as articles are published by the research group.

Latest research articles

Aksela, M., Kiviluoto, O., Pesonen. R. & Vuorio, E. (2021). ZAU- Zonta Advances You
New models and materials for teaching and learning in mathematics, science and technology in the national ZAU science club project. A report of operations from 2018-2021

Haatainen, O., & Aksela, M. 2021. Project-based learning in integrated science education: Active teachers’ perceptions and practices. LUMAT: International Journal on Math, Science and Technology Education, 9(1), 149–173.

Herranen, J., Aksela, M., Kaul, M. & Lehto, S. 2021. Teachers’ Expectations and Perceptions of the Relevance of Professional Development MOOCs, Education Sciences, 11(5), 240.

Markula, A. E., & Aksela, M. (2022). The key characteristics of project-based learning: how teachers implement projects in K-12 science education. Disciplinary and interdisciplinary science education research4(2), 1.

Vuola, K. & Nousiainen, M. 2020. Physics knowledge justification: an analysis framework to examine physics content knowledge, Nordina: Nordic studies in science education, 16(2), 149–166.

Vuorio, E., Pernaa, J., & Aksela, M. (2021). Kestävän kehityksen kompetenssien ja opetuksen edistäminen kemian yliopistokoulutuksessa. FMSERA Journal, 4(2), 34–55. Retrieved from

LUMAT journals

4. Empowering and mobilising youth

LUMA Centre Finland
International course for youth on global challenges

Meet a researcher
This purpose of this service is to make researchers’ school visits as easy as possible, regardless of geography or financial resources.
Meet a researcher – Nuorten Tiedeakatemia

With ZAU science clubs, we increased girls’ interest towards mathematics, natural sciences and technology. At the same time, science club instructors were able to try phenomenon-based and Inquiry-based teaching. For example, many primary school teachers were inspired to organise accessible science clubs for their pupils.
Report of ZAU science club project - LUMA Centre Finland

5. Accelerating Sustainable Solutions at Local Level

LUMA Centre Finland

Upcoming Activities:
  • Developing an RCE Helsinki Metropolitan website
  • Sustainable School - project
  • Teacher education and producing materials
  • ESD, EE and SDG events
    • Finland’s Children’s Forest Trip Day May, 2022. The intent of the day is in encouraging us all to offer the children of Finland the possibility of going on a trip to the forest. The purpose of the event is to remind us of the importance of going out into the nature and is meant to serve as a celebration of the purity of the Finnish nature.


LUMA News is dedicated to mathematics, science and technology education news from Finland to all international audiences. The webzine highlights themes, innovations and research as well as interesting events within the field.

The “International Dialogue on STEM Education” (IDoS) welcomes new members to its ranks in April. The Finnish STEM initiative LUMA Centre Finland and the French foundation La main à la pâte with its Office for Climate Education will amplify the education network’s efforts to push early STEM Education for children aged 3 to 10 up the international agenda. LUMA Centre Finland joins IDoS Network - LUMA Centre Finland

The Science on Stage Festival is an international fair meant for STEAM teachers. At the festival, the attending teachers and educators share their educational ideas and meet colleagues from all over the world. This year, around 450 teachers from over 30 countries came together at Europe’s largest educational fair for science teachers in Prague, Czech Republic. The general assembly held simultaneously with the festival decided that the next Science on Stage Festival 2024 will be held in Turku, Finland. The Science on Stage Festival 2024 will be held in Turku, Finland - LUMA Centre Finland

Maija Aksela, Professor, Department of Chemistry

Association for Science education & Keinumäki School & University of Helsinki

RCE Helsinki Metropolitan worked to educate students by transforming their learning environments – native plants were brought into the schoolyard, which increased awareness of native biodiversity and also served to create connections with nature. The RCE also worked to create curriculum and train teachers on how to transform areas such as school gardens or forests into learning spaces.

Engaging Communities for Biodiversity Conservation: Education for Sustainable Development Projects from the Global RCE Network, ed. Vaughter, Philip, Park, Jonghwi and Pham, Nancy (Tokyo: United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, 2022).

The launch article is available here.

University of Helsinki
Dr. Anna Uitto is a partner of Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) that contributes to sustainability transformations of societies by means of inter- and transdisciplinary research and education. HELSUS co-creates knowledge through research, experiments, living labs and best practices for national and international policy, private sector and civil society. HELSUS forms an attractive international environment for researchers and facilitates partnerships in areas of research and innovations for the sustainable future.

The Finland’s Children's Forest Trip Day. The intent of the day is in encouraging us all to offer the children of Finland the possibility of going on a trip to the forest. The purpose of the event is to remind us of the importance of going out into the nature and is meant to serve as a celebration of the purity of the Finnish nature.

Communication Channels
RCE Website:
Contact Details
Main RCE Contact:
Mrs Marju Silander
Secondary RCE Contact:
Dr. Maija Aksela
RCE Youth Coordinator(s):
General RCE email:
RCE mailing address for correspondence: