ExpREES Decision making

The decision-making body of the Russian and Eastern European Studies (REES) network responsible for ExpREES is the executive board, which meets three to four times per year.

The decision-making body of the  University Network for Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES) is the Executive Board, which has representatives from all twelve universities of the network as well as an ExpREES student representative. In the spring, the Executive Board  makes the decision on the funding of the courses for the coming academic year. The decision is based on the course proposals received from teachers of the university network as well as on the wishes of our students. In our curriculum there are approximately 70 ExpREES courses offered annually around Finland (and/or online). ExpREES funds approximately 25 of them. Another important decision concerns the selection of new ExpREES students later in the spring. 

The day-to-day administration and decision-making of the courses is the responsibility of the Head of ExpREES (University lecturer in Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Aleksanteri Institute) and ExpREES Coordinator.

An important part of ExpREES activities are the ExpREES Ambassadors, who act as ambassadors for ExpREES in their respective universities and provide valuable student feedback which can be used in the development of ExpREES.

Executive Board

Executive board

REES network/ExpREES has an executive board which represents the 12 universities of the network and a student representative.

Hanken School of Economics
Professor Mats Ehrnrooth firstname.lastname@hanken.fi
Professor Benjamin Maury firstname.lastname@hanken.fi

Aalto University
Postdoctoral Reseacher Daria Kautto firstname.lastname@aalto.fi

University of Helsinki
University Lecturer Eveliina Heino firstname.lastname@helsinki.fi
Professor Tomi Huttunen firstname.lastname@helsinki.fi

University of Eastern Finland
Assistant Professor Heta Hurskainen firstname.lastname@uef.fi

University of Jyväskylä
Professor Mika Lähteenmäki firstname.lastname@juy.fi
Professor Markku Lonkila firstname.lastname@juy.fi

University of Lapland
Professor Soili Nystén-Haarala firstname.lastname@ulapland.fi
PhD Candidate Olga Pushina opushina at ulapland.fi

Lappeenranta University of Technology
Professor Juha Väätänen firstname.lastname@lut.fi
Postdoctoral Reseacher Daria Podmetina firstname.lastname@lut.fi

University of Oulu
Research Professor Kari Strand firstname.lastname@oulu.fi
Professor Riitta Keiski firstname.lastname@oulu.fi

Tampere University
Professor Sanna Turoma firstname.lastname@tuni.fi
Assistant Professor Nelli Piattoeva firstname.lastname@tuni.fi

University of Turku
University Lecturer Pia Koivunen firstname.lastname@utu.fi
University Lecturer Riikka Taavetti firstname.lastname@utu.fi

University of Vaasa
Lecturer Mika Kärkkäinen firstname.lastname@uva.fi

Åbo Akademi
Professor Mikko Lagerspetz firstname.lastname@abo.fi
Professor Martina Björklund firstname.lastname@abo.fi

Student representative:

Karoliina Keskitalo firstname.lastname@uef.fi

Aleksanteri Institute

Director of the Institute Markku Kangaspuro, Chair of the Executive Board

University Lecturer in Russian and Eurasian Studies, Head of ExpREES, Sirke Mäkinen, Referendary of the Executive Board

ExpREES Coordinator Hanna Peltonen, Secretary of the Executive Board

ExpREES Ambassadors

It is important that ExpREES is visible and accessible at all its member universities. For this purpose, since 2007 we have invited students to take part in the marketing and development of ExpREES. Its ambassadors make up an important part of ExpREES activities. These ambassadors:

  • act as contact persons to prospective and current ExpREES students at their home university.
  • help with the marketing efforts of  ExpREES especially during the application period in the spring semester (February-early April) and with the gathering of course information from their home university for the ExpREES study guide (May-June).
  • participate in developing ExpREES studies by giving feedback from student’s point of view. Once a year we usually organize a workshop for ExpREES ambassadors with the purpose of  brainstorming ideas for further developing  ExpREES studies and other ExpREES activities. 

ExpREES ambassadors 2023-2024:

  • Ella Asikainen / Aalto
  • Anna Kananen, Juho Pitkänen, Johanna Porkkala / University of Helsinki
  • Karoliina Keskitalo / University of Eastern Finland
  • Emma Palokangas / University of Jyväskylä
  • Inka Piisilä / University of Lapland
  • Nelly Meer, Maarit Kiiskilä, Suvi Pukki, Reetta Tuominen, Anna Pitkänen / Tampere University
  • Veera Saukkonen, Konsta Leikas / University of Turku
  • Rebecca Pisimisi / Åbo Akademi

ExpREES ambassador is a position of trust. It comes with some opportunities and responsibilities - and a lot of fun! It provides an opportunity to learn about how ExpREES looks from the side of administration/management and to get experience in nationwide network cooperation. You may also mention it as a merit in your CV! 

At the end of the spring semester many of ExpREES ambassadors graduate, which means that the list above is not necessarily up-to-date. New student ambassadors are usually recruited in the ExpREES summer school in August, but you can also contact our coordinator directly, if you are interested in working as an ExpREES ambassador.

Call for ExpREES course proposals in the academic year 2024–2025


The Programme in Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES) offers master’s level courses in different fields of Humanities and Social Sciences with the focus on Eurasia, incl. Russia and Eastern Europe.The courses are given in the universities of the REES network. We hereby open the call for applications for course funding in the academic year 2024–2025. You may apply for funding for a course which is part of the curriculum of a degree programme in any of the REES network universities. Funding will be allocated to the given degree programme, not to the teacher responsible for the course. In order to apply for funding for your course proposal, please fill in the e- form and submit it by 22 February 2024, at the latest.

The maximum amount of funding allocated to a course is 3,000 euros. In the academic year 2024–2025, the REES network may fund courses tailor-made for the purposes of the ExpREES with up to 50,000 euros in total. Funding may also be allocated to the teaching fees of summer schools organized in English.

Target group and form and content of teaching

ExpREES enrols students from all 12 member universities of the REES network. In order to facilitate the participation in the courses funded by the ExpREES for as many ExpREES students as possible, we will give preference in the allocation of funding to courses that provide an opportunity for distance learning (hybrid or online). In the application form we would ask you to specify how the course may be taken by using the distance learning option.

We encourage rganizing courses with a multi-disciplinary approach as well as courses organized around one theme but addressing different regions/countries of Eurasia or Eastern Europe. In particular, we encourage applicants to propose courses that focus on Ukraine, Central Asia, South Caucasus or Eastern Central Europe or South-Western Europe, in addition to Russia. A comparative approach is also welcome. We encourage cooperation in course planning between different universities of the network. Universities may apply for funding for courses which have been collaboratively planned and will be offered in the teaching programmes of the given universities. A university will act as a coordinator and apply for funding for the cohosted course.

The courses to be funded should fulfil the following criteria


  • The course must be offered free of charge and it should be part of the curriculum and teaching programme 2024-2025 of a degree programme of any one (or more) member university of the REES network. Funding will be allocated to a degree programme/department/faculty hosting the course, not to a teacher responsible for the course. If the host university takes part in the funding of the course, this will be regarded as an advantage when making decisions on the allocation of the ExpREES funding.

The extent and level of the course

  • The extent of the course is, as a rule, 5 ECTS. However, please follow the instructions of the host university.
  • The course should be offered at the master’s level (i.e. advanced courses).
  • In the course description, please give the following information: the content of the course (the lecture outline and the names of teachers, the amount of contact hours, teaching/learning methods, language of instruction), expected learning outcomes and assessment methods.


  • The maximum amount of funding allocated to a course is 3,000 euros.
  • The costs to be reimbursed may include teaching fees (payments for unsalaried teachers, researchers working with a scholarship, visiting teachers, teaching which is not part of the work plan; please note that, according to the recommendation by the Ministry of Education and Culture, teaching fees cannot be paid to teachers affiliated with Russian universities), teaching materials and organization of exams, social security fees, travel and accommodation expenses, and rents of teaching premises. It would be beneficial for the application if the host university agrees to participate in covering part of the costs. Please note that if your university charges VAT, it must be taken into account in the budget (i.e. it will decrease the amount of funding available e.g. for teaching fees).
  • The costs will be reimbursed in accordance with real expenses. Therefore, a report of accountancy must be attached in the invoice. Detailed instructions will be given in the funding decision.

A joint application by the university – please contact a member of the REES board

When planning to apply for ExpREES course funding, we would recommend contacting a member or deputy member of the Board of the REES network at your university. The course funding proposals of one university may be gathered together and submitted as a joint funding application. From the members of the Board you may learn about a potential joint application of the given university. When gathering and submitting a joint application, you will avoid proposing overlapping topics. In addition, discussing the topics among the researchers specializing in REES may also support the research interests of each host university.

The sum applied for the courses of the joint application may be defined as a total sum in the e-form. However, the applicant must differentiate the costs of each course in an attachment (regarding the differentiation, please see the budget section in the e-form). If you submit a joint application, please tick the correct box in the appropriate section of the e-form. Individual and joint applications will be processed on equal criteria.

Please note before submitting the course proposal and after receiving a positive funding decision

  • Before submitting the application, the applicant should make sure that all teachers of the course give their consent e.g. to the recording of the course or offering the course online.
  • The applicant, together with the host university must plan the schedule and book the teaching premises for the course. An agreement on the level of teaching fees should also be reached with the host university.
  • The applicant/other person responsible for the course should submit a more detailed outline of the course and other updated information to the ExpREES Study Guide by the deadline given in the funding decision.
  • Student feedback should be gathered from all the courses funded by ExpREES. The teacher responsible for the course should write a summary based on the student feedback (instructions will be sent together with the funding decision).

Announcing the decision

The funding decision will be made by the Board of the REES network. The applicants will receive the funding decision by 18 March 2024.