We have been an integral part of the birth of the Finnish national identity and our welfare state since 1640. During the years, our academic community has grown into 40 000 people scattered into 11 faculties on four campuses. Now, our research and education set global benchmarks, and we believe that the search for new knowledge and boundary-breaking research can lead to solutions that have a real, global impact on the future.
Our strategic plan currently emphasises four research themes: wellbeing for humans and our environment, a humane and fair world, a sustainable future for our planet, and the possibilities that limitless curiosity opens up – a universe of ideas and opportunities.
The University of Helsinki was established by a 13-year-old girl whom the world came to know as Queen Christina of Sweden. Initially, our university was a small and modest academic community where future civil servants and members of the clergy learnt Lutheran theology and European humanism. As we grew, we became the centre of the Finnish national awakening. Our university was the scene for the creation of the Finnish national anthem and flag, and we had an important role in the formation of Finnish identity, history, language and culture.
Throughout its history, the University of Helsinki has played a key role in the development of the Finnish education system, cultural life and welfare state. We have been the alma mater of nine presidents and thousands of influential figures in the worlds of politics, scholarship, culture and the business sector – and not forgetting four Nobel laureates.
Finland’s northern location and rugged terrain have made us Finns survivors. Life on top of the world requires solution-driven thinking, openness and the ability to work together. We are known for our ability to think clearly and produce solutions that stand the test of time.
Our northern qualities are combined in a blend of expertise and attitude that just happens to be what the world aspires to. Today, we are one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary universities, featuring in the top 1 % of the world's research universities. (Depending on the method of calculation used, there are approximately 18,000–23,000 higher education institutions in the world.)
We Finns believe in a just society. We are living proof that even a small country can succeed if all its citizens have the opportunity to succeed. Whether health, education or technology, we develop solutions for everyone, not just the chosen few. We create and share ideas that contribute to social wellbeing, regardless of people’s income or education.
The roots of the Finnish school and healthcare systems, widely considered among the best in the world, can be traced back to our university. They are excellent examples of social justice and sustainable development for everyone’s benefit. Transparency, equality and justice guide all our actions, and this is reflected in the steps we take towards equality and diversity.
Moreover, we adhere to the principles of open science, open data and open innovations. We believe that sharing knowledge and open science promotes and accelerates economic, social and cultural progress on a global scale.
We work for a fairer, healthier and more secure world. As a multidisciplinary university, we solve problems that affect us all from multiple different perspectives. Today, we are pioneers in climate research. Thanks to strives in medical research, the mechanisms that cause the onset of cancer are now better understood than ever before, and our clinical biobank is a cornerstone of pioneering genetic research. Furthermore, we educate the world’s best teachers and lead the way with big data and artificial intelligence.
Our values are truth, Bildung, freedom and inclusivity – four things the world needs right now.