Research at the Faculty of Law is high both in quality and societal impact

The research assessment of the University of Helsinki was carried out in 2018–2019. The Dean of the Faculty of Law is satisfied with the feedback from the international panel.

– We are pleased with the panel’s feedback: the quality of our research is high and its societal impact is excellent, says Pia Letto-Vanamo, the Dean of the Faculty of Law.  The panel’s report also takes well into account the special characteristics of legal research, among others the necessity to participate in both national and international discussion in the field. The main critique in the report is directed towards our university, among others to the radical reduction of places for doctoral students and to the small amount of administrative support for researchers.

– In the faculty we need to consider in the coming weeks how to fit together the report’s wish for a clearer research strategy and the principle of research based on the researchers’ curiosity (which the panel also highlights). At the same time we will evaluate the panel’s argument that not enough research on the position of the less organized social groups is done in the faculty. It is true that we do not have professorships for the rights of old people, children or refugees, or immigration law, but I know for certain that citizens’ rights and access to justice are at the very heart of the research in, for example, constitutional, administrative or criminal law. In October we’ll have a new associate professor Dorota Gozdecka, who is an internationally recognized expert of immigration law. Moreover, protecting the weaker party (consumer, child, employee etc.) is a central research question in many areas of private law.

The problem is, instead, that because of the reductions in our basic funding ever bigger part of the funding for our professorships and associate professorships comes from donations and other external funds. This might jeopardize the research and education in other fields, for which the report sends a clear message to the university.

More about the assessment of research in University of Helsinki
Final report: Research Assessment 2018-19 University of Helsinki (RAUH) (pdf), Faculty of Law: pages 304-311