The Scientific Advisory Board visited Viikki

The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry gathered in Viikki on 14–15 October. The topic of the meeting was leadership and management practices that advance research collaboration between disciplines.

This was the Board’s first face-to-face meeting in Finland. Earlier meetings had been held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The two-day meeting began with presentations by departments. In the afternoon, the campus walk gave SAB members the opportunity to visit the facilities and meet more staff members. The meeting also included presentations and discussion on how the Faculty management could implement good leadership and management practices that advance collaboration between disciplines. At the end, SAB members presented their feedback to the Faculty management.

Several factors impressed the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, Professor Tiny van Boekel.

“The Faculty is multidisciplinary and already doing a lot multidisciplinary research and education. I was impressed by your state-of-the-art infrastructure, and modern and well-organised laboratories. In addition, the Faculty should be applauded for paying attention to education. Educating bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral students is universities’ reason for existing.”

Dean Ritva Toivonen was pleased with the visit.

“Our first face-to-face SAB meeting focused on the question of how best to support our University’s and Faculty’s strategic aim of developing multidisciplinarity. The SAB demonstrated strong expertise and dedication in supporting us with their knowledge and experience. The atmosphere in our discussions was very open and constructive, and we received positive feedback on the measures already taken and suggestions for some new measures. There were also areas that were identified as needing development, such as being clearer or more concrete on what we would like to achieve in using our Faculty’s multidisciplinarity even more effectively, and developing the overall communication of the Faculty. For this, the SAB suggested using, e.g., narratives. It was also noted that both multidisciplinarity and monodisciplinarity are important – strong multidisciplinarity is based on a background of strong sciences. It also felt good to hear that many SAB members also gained new ideas from the meeting to take back to their home universities.”

The purpose of the SAB is to support the development of research at the Faculty according to the strategic plan by providing an external perspective on topical issues in research management and planning.

Its members comprise Professor Tiny van Boekel, WUR, The Netherlands (Chair), Professor Ylva Hillbur, SLU, Sweden, Professor Hans Fredrik Hoen, NMBU, Norway, Professor Jutta Roosen, TUM, Germany and Professor Elizabeth Wellington, University of Warwick, UK.