Department and society
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AFSci 3/2012

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The aim of the Department of Agricultural Sciences is to conduct research on crop production in agriculture and horticulture, animal production and technologies pertaining to them, as well as to provide the highest level education and wield societal influence based on the research. The work of the department is based on the scientific foundations of biology and natural sciences and is topical and multidisciplinary in accordance with the demands of societal relevance. Experts in agricultural sciences graduating from the department and moving on to the world of work are the department’s most valuable output for the society and international community.

Key societal factors and duties
Agriculture is the basis of food security. Agricultural research in the coming decades will be labelled simultaneously by the demand to provide enough food for the increasing population and worry over challenges posed on the sustainability of the system of food production and consumption by global changes, such as climate change, environmental burden, sufficiency of natural resources, shortage of energy and dietary changes.

The Department is committed to promote the social equity, wellbeing and learning of people, as well as healthy interaction between people and nature, through research, teaching and other activities. The department is nationally responsible for its fields of education. The department places the problem-solving competence of its multidisciplinary research and teaching community at the disposal of society in topical issues and maintains working life competence in the fields for which it is responsible by producing new research information for the needs of the society, national innovation system and international scientific community. Moreover, the Department will ensure that it will recognise the changing societal needs of research and education both in Finland and internationally.

Examples of societal interaction

  • Participation in public debate on societal development and popularisation of research outcomes for the public (TV, radio, press, scientific associations, presentations in layman’s terms).
  • Co-operation with the Open University, The University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education HY+, and the Ruralia Institute (adult education and extension studies).
  • Participation in the European Union framework projects and development studies funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the EU and other Finnish and international bodies.
  • The department’s most significant co-operation partners in government are the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and in sectoral research the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), the Finnish Food Safety Authority (Evira), the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), and the Technical Research Center in Finland (VTT). Coopperation partners are also companies such as Valio Oy, Rehuraisio Oy, Kemira Oyj.
  • Co-operation with the Nordic Forestry, Veterinary and Agricultural University Network (NOVA), the Viikki Tropical Resources Institute (VITRI) and RakeDEVEnet (the planning and development project of the development studies and teaching at the campus) as well as the research station in Kenya. Participation in Baltic Sea research.
  • Participation in the advisory board activities in the faculty and the university, alumni activities and fund-raising.
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