Vice Rector Löytönen: a stronger culture between the university and the alumni

The University of Helsinki is an actor in civil society, a partner in cooperation and an advocate of science.

Löytönen Vice Rector Markku Löytönen is responsible for a broad and multi-faceted area within the university leadership: interaction with society.

“You could compare it to a network that is formed out of ten thousand little pieces which are connected in extraordinarily complex ways. One of my tasks is to find the appropriate channels of communication and interaction so that we can promote and foster certain aspects,” says Löytönen.

Löytönen emphasises the significance of research, tuition and producing and mediating information as the foundation for the university’s role in society.

One of the focal points in the future will be maintaining the relationship between the university and the alumni, even after they have left the university. Löytönen feels that it is, after all, a matter of culture.

“In Finland and in the other Nordic countries we lack the kind of identity that anchors us to our university. There is a significant cultural difference if you compare our universities to those in Anglo-Saxon countries” says Löytönen.

The new Aalto University will present both a good competitor as well as an excellent partner in cooperation for the University of Helsinki. “In fact, we already cooperate to a large extent at the practical level. Take, for example, the Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP) and the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT). We hope that in the future there will be even more cooperation. After all, there are no dividers in the field of research,” says Löytönen.

Löytönen would like to concentrate on making different time frames more compatible. Whereas companies set goals for the near future, the time frame for basic research can be decades or even centuries. Today’s research results may not be utilised until the next century. Löytönen sees it as a challenge to incorporate this kind of long-term results into the decision-making process.

As Vice Rector, Professor of Human Geography Markku Löytönen’s specialist fields are interaction with society and information technology.

Text: Tapani Sainio
Photo: Ari Aalto

Translation: AAC Noodi Oy

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