Basic facts

Values

The Ruralia Institute’s operations are based on the University of Helsinki’s strategic plan and values: a critical mind, creativity and the quest for truth and knowledge. By applying these, the Institute has defined the values that guide its operations.

The desire for knowledge

The Institute’s operations are based on scientific research, the active utilisation of the latest research data and the continuous development of competence.

The quest for solutions

The Institute takes a solutions-oriented approach to producing and applying research data. Scientific data often evolve into solutions when combined with practical, empirical knowledge. Establishing forums and coordinating interaction are important and rewarding activities that boost this evolution.

The joy of work

A respect for other people and their skills, as well as for the freedom to conduct independent work contribute to positive experiences. Trust, equality and the acceptance of diversity support success.

Responsibility

We must take responsibility for our work and for other people, as well as act in an ecologically, economically, socially, culturally and ethically sustainable way.

Reliable partnerships

Cooperation, independence, networking and open communication are elements of reliable partnerships.

Tehostekuva

Duties and focal areas

The Ruralia Institute is an independent institute of the University of Helsinki Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, which comprises two units: one in Mikkeli and one in Seinäjoki.

The Institute is tasked with promoting the bioeconomy and sustainable local development in rural environments through multidisciplinary research as well as research-based education and innovation activities. It is also involved in the provision of University teaching. One of the Institute’s specific missions is to promote research and teaching in cooperative entrepreneurship.

The Ruralia Institute’s activities are divided into focal areas and corresponding research, innovation and education groups.

The Institute’s two focal areas are:

  • The food chain and natural resources
  • The development of local communities

Both areas aim to promote sustainable development, strengthen entrepreneurial activities and value chains, develop innovation networks and boost the impact of public-sector services and policy interventions.


Cooperation and networks

The Institute operates nationally and internationally. It cooperates closely with the University of Helsinki’s other units and with other parties in society at large.

Participation in university consortia activities is one of the main forms of cooperation. The Ruralia Institute operates in both the Mikkeli University Consortium and the University Consortium of Seinäjoki.

The Institute’s international cooperation mainly consists of EU-funded research and development projects and of programmes in which the Institute participates jointly with its European partners.

The Ruralia Institute coordinates the Co-op Network Studies and Rural Studies teaching networks, as well as the Finnish Organic Research Institute, a joint expert network of the University of Helsinki and Natural Resources Institute Finland.


Organisation

The Ruralia Institute is an independent institute of the University of Helsinki Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, which comprises two units: one in Mikkeli and one in Seinäjoki. The Institute has a staff of some 60.

The Institute’s director is Professor Sami Kurki and its vice-director is Research Director and Docent Torsti Hyyryläinen. Sami Kurki heads the unit in Seinäjoki and Torsti Hyyryläinen the unit in Mikkeli. The Institute’s management group consists of the director, vice-director and head of administration.

The Institute has a board with eleven members, each of whom has a deputy. The board’s term is four years. The chair of the board is Marketta Sipi, Dean of the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.

Both of the Institute’s units have an advisory board, whose members are appointed from the key interest groups in Mikkeli and Seinäjoki. The advisory boards monitor the units’ operations, participate in the evaluation of operations and propose development measures.

Board
Advisory board, Mikkeli
Advisory board, Seinäjoki


History

The Ruralia Institute began operating as an independent institute of the University of Helsinki in early 2004, following the merger of the institutes for rural research and training in Mikkeli and Seinäjoki. The new Institute for Rural Research and Training was placed under the administration of the University’s Senate.

During the reorganisation carried out in 2005, the unit was renamed the Ruralia Institute. The latest organisation change took place on 1 January 2015, when the Ruralia Institute became an independent institute under the University of Helsinki Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.

The institutes for rural research and training were originally established in Mikkeli and Seinäjoki in 1988. Their establishment was related to the development plan for higher education 1987–1992 approved by the Government, which stated that the University of Helsinki was to establish regional centres offering research and continuing education services for the agricultural field.