One question round

April 10, 2024
"How does your university/faculty/department award and encourage teaching staff who introduce and experiment with new and innovative teaching methods?"

Aarhus University

At Aarhus University, each year a teacher is awarded with the Teaching Prize, which recognises outstanding and ground-breaking teaching. When selecting the award winner, one of the criteria is how the teacher is working with developing quality and innovation in her/his teaching. The winner of the Aarhus University Teaching Prize will subsequently become a nominee for the national teaching prize. In the day-to-day teaching environment, teachers are encouraged to develop their teaching activities and to discuss experiences with their colleagues – and to facilitate this, the faculty has composed a Didactic Foundation with the purpose to support the dialogue about teaching.

Tampere University

In Tampere University, a 4-year development program for flipped learning ended last year, where the teachers were given an exemption from teaching for 3 months and during that time, they prepared new material for their course to exploit various flipped learning methods. During that time substitute teachers were hired.

Åbo Akademi University

At Åbo Akademi University we have annual prizes for a teaching, supervision and pedagogical development that are awarded based on successful and often new and innovative teaching methods. The faculties and university also invest in licenses and new technology that support teaching such as XR and well-connected classrooms. Short courses focused on novel teaching practices are offered regularly.

University of Turku

Our faculty does not have a specific award for innovative teaching, but we do encourage experimentation and have been active in it. We have piloted automated grading and AI-generated course materials, even AI generated slide sets; we have set up a recording studio for video lecture preparation; and we have investigated the adoption of platforms that support sharing of teaching materials between different universities.

University of Oulu

Teachers are encouraged to participate in pedagogical studies, resources and support is provided for pedagogical training and experiments, and information is spread about good and effective practices and successful experiments. Student feedback regarding innovative teaching methods is recognized and is used as a justification for providing immediate rewards to teaching staff.

Aalto University

Aalto University has several annually given awards at university level (e.g. Education impact award and Success enabler award) that bring up and recognise great developments in education or teaching. Also, Aalto Schools (University consists of six schools) give respective awards at the School level.

One of the important elements of encouragement is our tenure track/lecture track systems which explicitly recognize teaching merits.

Reykjavik University

The university has RU Annual Teaching Awards, which acknowledge faculty innovations in course design, evaluation methods, IT integration, student interaction, and content creation. Teaching Developmental Fund provides annual support for faculty to enhance teaching quality and innovation. An ECTS Course for Educators introduces new and early career educators to effective teaching, learning, and assessment principles within higher education. Teaching Affairs is offering consultations on assessment, learning design, teaching methods, and development workshops. RU Studio assists faculty with media use in teaching, such as recordings, videos, podcasting, flipped classroom approaches, and creating multimedia content. Recognition and Publicity efforts that highlight innovative teaching practices through websites and newsletters, encouraging faculty by showcasing best practices and experiences, thereby creating a platform for sharing and inspiration among faculty members.


We have a merit-based system that recognizes excellent and systematic teaching practices developed over several years, and meritorious instructors are important contributors to the development of new teaching methods at NTNU. Employees awarded the title of meritorious instructor receive a salary increase, and in addition, the academic community of employees awarded the status of meritorious instructor receives funding to carry out development projects (NOK 150,000 in 2024), further contributing to new practices.

Furthermore, we motivate and reward employees to adopt new and innovative teaching methods through the initiative NTNU Top Teaching. Since 2013, we have allocated various resources to support development projects focusing on innovative and student-active teaching and assessment methods.”

The Arctic University of Norway

UiT has established a financial support program for projects regarding development of teaching methods and education quality (UiT Talent).In addition, results from the national study survey provide points of improvement for all of our study programs annually, which are used directly to improve our teaching and teaching methods. UiT also have a career development program for teachers that encourage our employees to develop and try out new teaching methods (the teacher will achieve a position as meritorious educator). We should also mention that IVT faculty at UiT are working with new ideas on student response systems meant to activate and engage online students.

Uppsala University

We have specific calls for educational development, both on the faculty and university level but also in cooperation with other universities in our European University Alliance.

Pedagogical awards are issued on all these levels. The university has a pedagogical programme where development is encouraged and on the faculty level there is a council for educational development (TUR). TUR also organises development workshops and a network for classroom observation visits. In the teacher’s pedagogical portfolio (which is important for employment) teachers describe how they work with educational development. There is also possibility to obtain the status as an “Excellent teacher”. We have also recently launched an initiative for development of Lifelong Learning courses where teachers work with innovative teaching methods to reach new target groups.

Linköping University

There are teacher awards that consider the above criteria and a university wide didactical centre with the aim of spreading new and innovative teaching methods to the faculty. The didactical centre offers both short courses and staff that goes out to teaching groups to hands on support introduction of new methods. The faculty also arrange pedagogical days once a semester to spread good practice among faculty members.

Luleå University of Technology

The Lab Fund for Education issues calls for proposals twice a year. This fund serves as a resource dedicated to financing the purchase of equipment aimed at enhancing education and fostering the rejuvenation of activities. Funding applications from the Lab Fund are accepted for the acquisition of new equipment, as well as for upgrading or complementing existing systems. Additionally, through the university’s Centre for Educational Development, teachers are provided with opportunities to engage in workshops and contemporary courses focused on teaching methodologies. For instance, there is presently a significant emphasis on developing expertise in utilizing generative AI for learning purposes.

Umeå University

We have a system for educational qualifications for university teachers with two steps: recognised university teacher and distinguished university teacher. Both appointmenst render a salary increase. Umeå University regularly announces funding for educational development, known as Punktum grants. The Faculty of Science and Technology announces funding for educational development at the undergraduate and advanced level.

Every year the Faculty of Science and Technology at Umu (and all other faculties at Umu as well) decides to award a pedagogic price to an individual teacher or a group of teachers employed at the facult.

Blekinge Institute of Technology

We have career development opportunities on a pedagogical basis for all teaching staff. There are several levels, first lecturer and assistant professor. In 2024, a course for pedagogical training of academic staff is launched, focusing on pedagogical innovation. University has a reward system for course evaluations that rewards high course index with a bonus for the department. Employees who present a paper at the conference on teaching and learning in higher education have the opportunity to receive funding to be able to participate. Best Practice is an annual event in which teachers nominated by colleagues share their pedagogical knowledge within the organization. The focus is on practice, proven experience and collegial learning.

Karlstad University

Karlstad University has an active unit for university pedagogy and didactics (UPE) that continuously follows up new ideas and contributes to spreading innovative ideas on teaching to more teachers. The developers at the unit are frequently available online for discussions on a platform called “Keep-on-teaching”. We also have the “KauKan! Educational development day” where teachers are invited to present and discuss cases from their own practice.

Mid Sweden University

Mid Sweden University has a pedagogical qualification program in two levels. In order to be qualified, documented pedagogical development work is required. Especially interesting is method development, which many teachers can utilize regardless of subject details.

It is the departments that finance educational development within the framework of the free resources available there.

Mälardalen University

In the univeristy, three initiatives have been launched. The first concerns the development of multidisciplinary research and is connected to a national university alliance and the development of educational forms for distance learning. The second effort is an investment in professionals’ lifelong learning where teachers at the university could apply for project

funding in competition and this has taken place in two rounds. The third activity has a focus on internal project that aim for educational innovation for a sustainable future.


TalTech has establishing the position Associate Professor in education and has already named 15 Associate Professors in education to award and develop excellence teaching. Lecturer of The Year Award is given to 10 outstanding teachers annually. It comes with a financial reward and a salary bonus. Teaching and Learning Development Fund encourages teaching staff to innovate and experiment with new pedagogical approaches. Teachers who want to experiment new of teaching can apply to The Instructional Design Programme develop their course e-support. With this programme comes financial reward and opportunity to apply the national e-support quality mark. Individual schools have special funding programa, salary bonus and The Letter of Honor (for excellence teaching) and a competition for development ideas, awarding projects dedicated to educational innovation among others.

Riga Technical University

Since 2018, RTU has been organizing contests “Annual Academic Excellence Awards” and “Young Academic Staff Member of the Year”. The aim of these events is not only to award the best academic staff members, but also to promote creativity in the academic environment. The Student Parliament of RTU organizes the contest “Annual Award of the Student Parliament of Riga Technical University” and awards honorary titles “Instructor of the Year” and “Student Support of the Year”. The Student Parliament of Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management organizes the contest “The Pride of the Faculty”. are awarded more than 30 nominations.

Vilnius Tech

Two teachers are awarded annually for the application of innovative methods with distinctive badges “I teach at VILNIUS TECH”. The first nomination is “Leader of Educational Heights,” awarded to a teacher who applies active, innovative teaching and assessment methods: constantly seeks various and new ways to work with students, creates interesting tasks for classes or assessments, and engages students with their interesting teaching style.

The second is “Leader of Educational Technologies,” awarded to a teacher who constantly seeks new ways to engage students during classes using various technologies, actively learns and improves their digital competencies.

Kaunas University of Technology

University Senate has approved the Regulations for Encouraging Teachers for Innovations and Quality in Studies. Pursuant to these regulations, an annual competition is announced at the University wherein Faculties` study committees, in collaboration with students, submit nominations of distinguished teachers for evaluation. Subsequently, based on predefined criteria, the most innovative teachers are selected and awarded with the Rector’s letter of commendation and a financial incentive – 2000 EUR. Furthermore, a dedicated fund aimed at fostering innovative approaches in educational practices is established. Successful applications are allocated funds for advancement of educational innovations.

Simultaneously, KTU is currently in the process of developing a system for recognizing the pedagogical competencies exhibited by our professors.