Rector, vice-rectors and unit management
The University of Helsinki is managed by the rector, vice-rectors and the heads and directors of units.
Rector Sari Lind­blom

Sari Lindblom was appointed as rector of the University of Helsinki on February 24th, 2022. The first task for Rector Sari Lindblom is to lead the University of Helsinki out of the coronavirus situation and towards a more normal routine.

“The wellbeing of our University community has been put to the test by the pandemic, which has been going on for more than two years. Both staff and students are under strain. It’s now important to focus on members of the community getting the support they need when they return to the campuses,” Lindblom says.

According to Lindblom, lessons learned in the coronavirus period should be put to use in the future.

“The coronavirus period has demonstrated the importance of our community, and the capacity of the University of even rapid change. As we start to consider together in 2022 what kind of a university we wish to build, we must take advantage of our inclusivity and ability to change,” Lindblom notes.

The first year of the University’s strategy period of 2021–2030 is now in the past. From the strategic plan, Lindblom points to the objective of being a leader in responsibility and sustainability. While this year sees the publication of the University’s sustainability and responsibility programme for the coming years, several significant steps were taken in this area already last year.

“The sustainability and responsibility programme was drawn up in a process that engaged the University community, and the course in sustainable development targeted at students was further developed. In addition, we launched the new Sustainability Fund, which supports sustainability-related research and teaching conducted at the University of Helsinki as well as their societal impact. This year, the work to promote sustainable development continues,” Lindblom says.

Sari Lindblom, DPhil, is a psychologist and professor of higher education. She has served as one of the vice-rectors and as the acting rector of the University of Helsinki since 2017. She attended to the duties of the rector during rector Jari Niemelä’s sick leaves in 2020–2022. In addition, she was the director of the Centre for University Teaching and Learning HYPE from 2004 to 2017.

Cur­riculum vitae

Sari Lindblom CV

Sari Lindblom publications

Con­tact infor­mation

Sari Lindblom
P.O. Box 3
00014 University of Helsinki

Executive Assistant
Maija Roitto
tel. +358 2941 22210


Rector's decisions 2017- (in Finnish)


Vice-Rector Han­na Snell­man

Vice-Rector Hanna Snellman’s responsibilities include international affairs and the Finnish cultural heritage. Snellman also deputises for the rector.

“My work is founded on a solid ethos of collaboration. I wish to further advance the University’s public engagement and international activities in a cooperative manner.”

In the academic year 2018–2019, the University promoted, under the direction of Snellman, the development of strategic partnerships according to the University’s partnership model.

“Our aim is to set up a maximum of seven strategic partnerships. Stockholm University and Peking University are already established strategic partners of the University of Helsinki, joined by the University of Edinburgh from August 2019 onwards.”

Strategic partnerships provide excellent opportunities for both scholars and the entire University.

“Together with Stockholm University, we have established Arctic Avenue, a new initiative, for which an opening ceremony was held in Helsinki in autumn 2018. With Peking University, we are running a summer school for doctoral students, launched in Beijing in December 2018. The first summer school, targeted at doctoral students in life sciences, was organised in August 2019 in Helsinki. The collaboration conducted with the University of Edinburgh also revolves around doctoral education.”

In 2019, the University of Helsinki joined the UNA Europa alliance. In addition to the University of Helsinki, the UNA Europa alliance partners include Freie Universität Berlin, Alma mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, the University of Edinburgh, Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie, KU Leuven, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. One of the guiding principles of the alliance is to provide the staff and students of the partner universities with new opportunities for study, mobility and work.

“Together, we are building the European university of the future with our partners. The UNA Europa’s four focus areas Data Science & AI; Cultural Heritage; European Studies; and Sustainability will bring complementarity and further boost the grand challenges highlighted in our strategic plan. University of Helsinki is also coordinating a new, fifth theme called One Health,” says Snellman.

Snellman would like to continue building new university partnerships on many different levels.

“Collaboration with stakeholders and partners is important and needs to be nurtured. We must work towards a shared understanding with our partners regarding values, goals and the practices we are pursuing together. I believe it’s important for the University to attentively listen to its partners, as well as sentiments expressed in the wider social context. The University of Helsinki is the only university representing Finland in its entirety. We have activities and units, such as research stations and university consortia, across the country. The University must offer something to its surrounding community, but it must also listen to this community and be in genuine interaction with it.”

In the coming academic year, Snellman will highlight the development of collaboration with decision-makers, faculty lobbying and the development of collaboration with international foundations as part of fundraising.

“We have also become more active in cooperating with Finnish academic institutes.“

Another matter close to Snellman’s heart is getting the international staff of the University increasingly involved in public engagement.

Hanna Snellman, DPhil, has worked as a professor of ethnology at the University of Helsinki since 2012. She served as the dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University in 2017–2018 and as a vice-dean of the same faculty in 2014–2016.

Cur­riculum vitae

CV Hanna Snellman


Con­tact in­form­a­tion

Hanna Snellman
P.O. Box 3
00014 University of Helsinki

Executive assistant
Tiina Hartikainen
tel. +358 2941 22382


Vice-Rector Tom Böh­ling

The duties of Vice-Rector Tom Böhling include public engagement, sustainability and responsibility as well as the wellbeing of the University community. He is also coordinating cooperation with the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, an important partner of the University.

As regards equality and occupational safety, Böhling will keep on working to strengthen equality as a value inherent to the University. In August 2018, the University participated in the national Work Does Not Discriminate campaign for workplace equality.

 “My goal is to improve wellbeing in the community, an expansive whole that encompasses, among other things, the health of staff and students, as well as affairs of equality. We are all responsible for wellbeing, and I hope to see the entire community rise up to the challenge. The more encouraging and positive our community is, the better it is to work in, which usually ends up enhancing results.”

In bilingual affairs, Böhling wishes to promote their natural role as part of everyday life of the community.

 “The University of Helsinki is the only bilingual university in Finland and it is an asset to us.”

Böhling intends to review the University’s facilities and consider ways to engage the community in facility development.

 “Continuous improvement of University facilities and their safety and security is an important part of campus development. It is important to know the demands set by the work and how the facilities support creative work.  I will continue my work modernising laboratory, study and office facilities to better meet current requirements. Supporting sustainable development is among the primary strategic goals of the University. In terms of facilities, using them as efficiently as possible promotes the achievement of that goal.”

Böhling himself wants to be an inspirational leader and a sparring leader who motivates employees.

“As a vice-rector, my duty is to create an environment where working is as easy as possible for both staff and students.”

Tom Böhling, MD, has worked as a professor of pathology at the University of Helsinki since 2012. At the University’s Faculty of Medicine, he served as the director of the Medicum unit in 2015–2018.

Cur­riculum vitae

CV Tom Böhling

Con­tact in­form­a­tion

Tom Böhling
P.O. Box 3
00014 University of Helsinki

Executive assistant
Susan Sankkila
tel. 02941 24381


Vice-Rector Jouni Hirvonen

Vice-Rector Jouni Hirvonen oversees research, doctoral education and innovation.

Vice-Rector Hirvonen notes that long-term and unrestricted research and doctoral education founded on inquisitiveness and aimed at producing new knowledge and theories separate universities from other educational units.

“In recent years, public engagement and innovations stemming from university research as well as measures aimed at commercialising them have become an increasingly vital part of the University of Helsinki’s operations.”

Vice-Rector Hirvonen points out that in international rankings measuring research quality and impact, the University of Helsinki is by far the best university in Finland. The University’s share of the Centres of Excellence, Academy Professors, Flagships and profile-building projects of the Academy of Finland is considerable. In fact, domestic and international competitive research funding outside the University budget constitutes well over half of the overall funding in many faculties and independent institutes.

“You can justifiably say that success in research often benefits education and the other duties of the University. Researchers at the University of Helsinki are doing well in the ever-intensifying competition for research funding. For instance, the top researchers of the University of Helsinki have received almost a hundred research grants from the European Research Council (ERC), for which top-level expertise and ideas is a prerequisite. In my position as a vice-rector, my goal is to support and help all members of the University community to succeed in the intensifying competition for research funding.”

Vice-Rector Hirvonen’s key duties include the development of doctoral education and research infrastructure operations, and increasing resources needed for them.

“The advantage and strength of a large and diverse operator such as the University of Helsinki is that it’s easier to reach a critical mass in research compared to smaller units. Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research projects and consortia within, for example, sustainability sciences, atmospheric sciences, life sciences and the humanities and social sciences – and especially between them – have generated an entirely new research culture at our University in recent years. I myself intend to continue promoting this trend along the lines of my predecessors in charge of research affairs.”

International and domestic networks are also an important operating environment, and a channel for developing the University’s research, doctoral education and innovation activities.

“The European LERU and Una Europa networks and the UNIFI network of Finnish universities engender good opportunities for both international and national university collaboration, not to mention discipline-specific and personal networks. A tripartite collaboration agreement important in terms of innovation and commercialisation was concluded in spring 2022 with KU Leuven, a multidisciplinary university at the global top in the field, and Aalto University in Finland.”

Jouni Hirvonen, Doctor of Science (Pharmacy), has worked as Professor of Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Helsinki since 1998. He served as vice-dean for academic affairs at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy from 2004 to 2009 and as dean from 2010 to 2022.

Curriculum Vitae

CV Jouni Hirvonen

Con­tact infor­mation

Jouni Hirvonen
P.O. Box 3
00014 University of Helsinki

Executive assistant
Tiina Hartikainen
tel. +358 2941 22382

Vice-Rector Kai Nordlund

Vice-Rector Kai Nordlund is in charge of academic affairs, bilingual activities and digitalisation.

Vice-Rector Nordlund has always believed that there should be a close connection between teaching and research at the University.

“The University of Helsinki has a great opportunity to utilise its top-level research to increase further the number of master’s students coming from outside the University. Master’s level teaching can be focused on our strong research fields, enabling also junior researchers to attend unobstructed the teaching of specialist courses. Such development also promotes research, as talented master’s degree holders are natural candidates for doctoral studies.”

As a scientist specialising in computational science, Nordlund has been closely following the digital revolution for three decades. Among his other achievements, he created one of the first Finnish student association websites in 1993.

“The change brought about by digitalisation has been rapid and has radically changed our lives. The change is about not only the acceleration of communication, but also the transformation of social relationships. The development is ongoing: original web-related solutions have already become outdated, and new ones are increasingly diverse but not always easier to use. Coordinating the deployment of new systems and having them comprehensively tested by end users before large-scale rollout is important.”

Nordlund is also responsible for the University’s bilingual affairs.

“Experiences in teaching in Swedish alongside Finnish are now useful when we have more and more teaching in parallel in three languages.”

Nordlund points out that researchers from other cultural and university backgrounds bring with them fresh ideas on how things can be handled differently from our traditions.

“The University of Helsinki is a highly multilingual community. Officially we are bilingual, but in practice we are trilingual on all of our campuses. And many other languages besides English have strong representation at the City Centre Campus in particular. This is an asset that we should take advantage of in both teaching and research.”

Professor of Computational Materials Physics Kai Nordlund, PhD, served as dean of the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Science from 2018 to 2022. Previously, he was director of the Department of Physics in 2018 and vice-dean for academic affairs, bilingual activities and infrastructures at the Faculty of Science from 2014 to 2017.

Curriculum Vitae

CV Kai Nordlund


Kai Nordlund
P.O. Box 3
00014 University of Helsinki


Executive assistant
Kirsi Petersen-Jessen
tel. +358 2941 22670

Dir­ector of Ad­min­is­tra­tion Esa Hä­mä­läi­nen

The director of administration shall manage the general administration of the University in support of the rector; be responsible for the efficient, economic and effective management of the University administration; monitor issues concerning the University; present initiatives for the development of the University administration; and attend to other duties assigned to him or her by the rector. The director of administration shall also serve as the secretary general of the Board of the University.

The director of administration shall bear overall responsibility for the human resources, finances and assets of the unit under his or her leadership.

Esa Hämäläinen, Master of Social Sciences, is the Director of Administration of the University of Helsinki.

Cur­riculum Vitae

CV Esa Hämäläinen

Con­tact infor­mation

Esa Hämäläinen
Tel: +358 2941 22212
P.O. Box 3
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Executive Assistant
Mari Lehtonen
Tel: +358 2941 22396
P.O. Box 3
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Unit man­age­ment

Fac­ulty of Ag­ri­cul­ture and Forestry

Dean Ritva Toivonen.

Vice-dean Laura Alakukku, research infrastructures.

Vice-dean Mari Sandell, public engagement, innovations.

Vice-dean Janna Pietikäinen, academic affairs and bilingualism.

Vice-dean Anne Toppinen, research affairs, doctoral education.

Fac­ulty of Arts

Dean Pirjo Hiidenmaa.

Vice-dean Mikko Saikku, public engagement.

Vice-dean José Pereira da Silva, research.

Vice-dean Minna Palander-Collin, academic affairs.

Fac­ulty of Biological and Environ­mental Sciences

Dean Jaakko Kangasjärvi.

Vice-dean Craig Primmer, research affairs.

Vice-dean Atte Korhola, public engagement.

Vice-dean Helena Åström, academic affairs.

Fac­ulty of Edu­ca­tional Sciences

Dean Johanna Mäkelä.

Vice-dean Arto Kallioniemi, international affairs.

Vice-dean Auli Toom, research affairs.

Vice-dean Anu Laine, academic affairs.

Vice-dean Markku Jahnukainen, public engagement.

Fac­ulty of Law

Dean Johanna Niemi.

Vice-dean Juha Raitio, public engagement.

Vice-dean Jaana Norio, academic affairs.

Vice-dean Jaakko Husa, research affairs.

Fac­ulty of Medicine

Dean Anne Remes.

Vice-dean Elina Ikonen, research affairs.

Vice-dean Anu-Katriina Pesonen, academic affairs, bilingualism.

Vice-dean Kari Reijula, public engagement.

Fac­ulty of Pharmacy

Dean Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma

Vice-dean Yvonne Holm, public engagement, sustainable development.

Vice-dean Mia Sivén, academic affairs, digitalisation.

Vice-dean Mikko Airavaara , research affairs.

Fac­ulty of Science

Dean Sasu Tarkoma, research affairs, research infrastructures, business cooperation, innovations, digitalisations.

Vice-dean Samuli Siltanen, communication, science education and alumni activities.

Vice-dean Sami Moisio, academic affairs.

Vice-dean Hanna Vehkamäki, sustainable development, wellbeing, international issues, equality and principles for facility use.

Fac­ulty of So­cial Sciences

Dean Marjaana Seppänen.

Vice-dean Hanna Wass, public engagement.

Vice-dean Jari Eloranta, Faculty Disciplines.

Vice-dean Markku Lanne, academic affairs.

Vice-dean Timo Kaartinen, Research Units.

Fac­ulty of Theo­logy

Dean Antti Räsänen.

Vice-dean Jutta Jokiranta, research affairs.

Vice-dean Pekka Kärkkäinen, academic affairs.

Vice-dean Elina Vuola, public engagement and international affairs.

Fac­ulty of Veter­in­ary Medicine

Dean Antti Sukura.

Vice-dean Maria Fredriksson-Ahomaa, bi­lin­gual and in­ter­na­tional af­fairs.

Vice-dean Olli Peltoniemi, research affairs and bilingualism.

Vice-dean Mirja Ruohoniemi, academic affairs.

Swedish School of So­cial Sciences

Rector Johan Bärlund.

Vice-rector Stefan Sjöblom, research affairs.

Vice-rector Anna Henning-Lindblom, academic affairs.

Research Units

List of faculties and units.