Global impact
For us, it is not just enough to be well-connected globally but to make sure that those connections matter. We are striving to built partnerships that are aligned with our values and that contribute to positive, global impact. Read more about our initiatives especially in Africa and China.
Focus Africa

The University of Helsinki's new Africa program 2021-2030 takes our interaction with African partners to a new level. Through equal, long-standing and mutually beneficial partnerships we aim to intensify our collaboration and engagement in research, education and impact for a more sustainable and equal world.

We have diverse expertise and almost one hundred scholars working on Africa-related research on our campuses.

We are about to launch fascinating new initiatives in the near future. One of the is the Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning, which will involve several Finnish universities and universities of applied science, coordinated by the University of Helsinki. Another example is the One Health Early Career Champions Mentoring Program for doctoral students.  

Read more about the program, our new initiatives and dive into the wide-ranging expertise present at the University! 

University of Helsinki Africa Programme 2021-2030

The University of Helsinki (UH) is a community of research and learning based on courageous thought and dialogue with a mission to seek new knowledge and enable solutions. We believe that knowledge and learning are for everyone. Our ambition is to increase our global impact and build a more sustainable world together with our African partners.

The University of Helsinki has versatile research in Africa. We build on groundbreaking basic research, open-minded curiosity and cooperation that transcends boundaries to address the key challenges of our times: mitigating climate change, preserving biodiversity, using natural resources sustainably, safeguarding health and wellbeing, enhancing quality education and maintaining social cohesion.


  • Build mutually beneficial and equal partnerships with African partners. We are committed to continuity.
  • Forge two strategic partnerships in Africa and a small number of other priority partnerships
  • Boost cooperation crossing disciplinary boundaries, embedding natural and life sciences with the humanities and social sciences. Multidisciplinarity is vital in everything we do.
  • Strengthen research infrastructure together with local partners
  • Identify key Sustainable Development Goals
  • Increase leverage through networks, e.g. UNA Europa and UniPID
  • Support Open Science, access to knowledge and knowledge co-production
  • Create improved conditions for the cultivation of talent, recruitment and inclusive university
  • Focus on young scholars and doctoral education

Kenya is among top-5 countries in our research collaboration. Since 2011, we have a research station in Taita Hills, Kenya. The University of Nairobi is our most important Kenyan university partner with strong research co-operation in several fields. A strategic partnership will be kicked off with the University of Nairobi.


  • New research collaboration with the University of Nairobi, three spearheads:
  1. One Health
  2. Food Security
  3. Teacher Education
  • Increased virtual and physical mobility
  • Mentoring
  • Capacity building
  • One Health Early Career Champions Programme

Currently, the University of Helsinki has around one hundred degree students from Africa (2019). Many more study as exchange students, at the Open University or in Helsinki Summer School. Our programs offer tuition on African languages, Global South, sustainability and tropical forestry, as examples. 

The University has capacity building projects especially in Kenya.

The University's centre for continuing and transnational education HY+ is keen to develop its actions in Africa.


  • Increase the diversity of UH’s classroom to better reflect UH’s global impact and responsibility
  • Provide educational opportunities for African students for the advancement of their personal academic and professional goals, also benefiting their countries and communities
  • Intensify student recruitment through key partnerships and by strengthening UH’s local presence
  • Raise awareness of scholarships to African students and explore opportunities for targeted scholarships 
  • Solve key stumbling blocks in recruiting students from Africa
  • Develop on-line platforms and interaction as part of resilient internationalisation together with our partners (webinars, MOOCs)
  • Encourage CBHE (Capacity Building in the Field of Higher Education) and HEI ICI (Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument) applications and increase information about available support
  • Explore potential for continuous and transnational education and integrate them into UH’s activities

THE ONE HEALTH EARLY CAREER CHAMPIONS PROGRAMME supports the cultivation of talent and career advancement of early career researchers at the University of Helsinki and University of Nairobi, with a focus on mobility, mentoring and entrepreneurial skills. The program is open for doctoral students in all disciplines and faculties with a focus on One Health.

UH provides exciting exchange opportunities for students and staff. We have exchange agreements with several African universities (2020):

  • University of Namibia
  • University of Zambia
  • University of Stellenbosch
  • University of Nairobi
  • The American University in Cairo
  • Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah (science)
  • University of Cape Town (law)
  • Strathmore University (education)
  • University of Abomey-Calavi (agriculture and forestry, biology, social sciences, medicine)


  • Intensify mobility with key partners: focus on quality and reciprocity
  • Increase awareness of mobility opportunities and solve problems regarding arrival and integration
  • Enhance virtual mobility
  • Share insight on capacity building and boost intra-Africa partnerships

UH will cultivate its global responsibility and sustainable development by active engagement with key stakeholders. It will develop education collaboration and support the improvement of skills in developing countries.


  • Define most important stakeholders and increase dialogue with them
  • Integrate Africa-related research and teaching into Finnish society, with particular emphasis on connections with the African diaspora in Finland and on increasing factual knowledge of Africa in Finnish society
  • Identify spearheads for industry collaboration
  • Engage more closely with Helsinki Think Company, particularly in supporting early-stage entrepreneurship
  • Examine potential for fundraising on the basis of close, solution-oriented research and cooperation
  • Explore launching alumni activities in Africa
  • Host an Africa Day each year
  • Intensify interaction and dialogue within the university, drawing on the expertise of both students and staff.
Focus China

The University of Helsinki has versatile and impactful collaboration with several Chinese universities in a range of fields.

Our collaboration dates back to the 1980s when the first Memorandum of Understanding with Peking University was signed. Now we are building new initiatives and strenthening our collaboration in research and education.

Our particularly strong collaboration areas include

  • atmospheric science,
  • teacher education,
  • law,
  • and medicine.

Peking University is our strategic partner since 2015. Read more about our partnership with Peking University

Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL)

The Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL) is a key network for Finland's solutions to the global learning crisis.  

GINTL supports mutual and global network cooperation between Finnish education institutions and the network's partnerships built in various African countries, China and India.


  • GINTL responds to the challenges of the global learning crisis and the UN Sustainable Development Goals on the excellence of Finnish universities and international cooperation.
  • increases cooperation and effectiveness, as well as, education and research initiatives. 
  • creates new and concrete research-based innovations and solutions for the development of learning, teaching, curricula, learning environments and education systems.
  • promotes the development and positive change of learning, teaching and learning environments.
  • increases the awareness and attractiveness of Finnish higher education institutions, especially international degree programs in education and related fields.
  • intensifies co-operation between Finnish actors in teacher education and learning and teaching.
  • boosts transnational education initiatives.


  • Solutions are sought through cooperation and the utilization of Finland's expertise in the development of quality education and in close interaction with key partners.

  • Operations and co-development of the network are guided by clear, jointly agreed goals and ethical principles formed by the participating Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences together with partners in the African countries, India and China.


GINTL is a global pilot network created within the internationalization program introduced by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture in 2020. The University of Helsinki coordinates cooperation with Africa and China and the University of Jyväskylä coordinates cooperation with India. 



Academic director: Sai Väyrynen PhD. (Education) 

Regional expert: Hanna Posti-Ahokas PhD. (Education) 

Project coordinator: Maaria Manyando

Academic director: Sai Väyrynen PhD. (Education)

Regional expert: Olli-Pekka Malinen PhD. (Education)

Project coordinator: Maaria Manyando 

Project manager: Veera Virmasalo

Project manager: Pia Krimark  

Project coordinator: Tea Kangasvieri

University teacher: Apoorwa Hooda​ 

Quality education for all. This is a big promise – is it possible? Through collaboration and innovations, drawing on the Finnish experience, we believe it is!

Coordinators: University of Helsinki and University of Jyväskylä.

Finnish university partners: Aalto University, Tampere University, University of Arts Helsinki, University of Eastern Finland, University of Lapland, University of Oulu, University of Turku, University of Vaasa, Åbo Akademi University

Finnish university of applied sciences partners: Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Häme University of Applied Sciences, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Novia University of Applied Sciences, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Turku University of Applied Sciences.