Faculty of Pharmacy becomes a member of HELSUS

Concerns about the environment and sustainability have become increasingly relevant in the pharmaceutical industry. To accelerate sustainability research, the Faculty of Pharmacy became a member of the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) at the end of May 2021.

The Faculty of Pharmacy has become a member of the Helsinki Sustainability Science Institute, HELSUS. Since its establishment in 2018, HELSUS has aimed to advance interdisciplinary collaboration within the University of Helsinki and to collaborate with a broad range of actors to advance economic, environmental and social sustainability.

In the Faculty of Pharmacy, sustainability challenges have become increasingly important themes year by year.

Future pharmacists need to embrace the principles of sustainable development as a part of their professional identity. In the pharmaceutical industry, sustainable development means, for example, that the environmental impacts of drugs are considered in their development, production and distribution. In addition, it means managing the environmental impacts of drug use.  

“Reducing the environmental load of its products is far from common practice in the pharmaceutical industry. It requires academic research on finding new environmentally friendly alternatives, both in molecule and drug formulation development,” explains Jouni Hirvonen, the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy.

Central to the development and renewal at the Faculty of Pharmacy is the Generation Green project, which was launched in 2014 together with the Faculty’s stakeholders. The aim of the project is to advance the sustainable development of pharmaceutical research, teaching and decision-making both nationally and internationally. In addition, the faculty has commenced a crowdfunding campaign to establish the first sustainable pharmaceutical development professorship in the world.

Pharmacology brings new knowledge to HELSUS research

The Faculty of Pharmacy strongly believes that joining HELSUS is an important step in consolidating the principles of sustainable development as a part of the faculty’s research and education.

“Becoming a HELSUS member provides the teachers and researchers in the faculty an opportunity for broad and interdisciplinary educational cooperation within sustainability challenges and expert training. In addition, this will improve our research collaboration capabilities and facilitate networking opportunities. Pharmaceutical development and drug safety are naturally important research areas in sustainability science, particularly from the perspective of drug safety and chemical loading in waterways. Expertise on these issues is something that we want to bring to HELSUS,” Hirvonen outlines.

In HELSUS, the membership of the Faculty of Pharmacy was received with great excitement. The Faculty of Pharmacy and its staff and students will bring pharmaceutical expertise to the interdisciplinary HELSUS community, which will strengthen the wide-ranging science communication and interdisciplinary research and training in sustainability science.

Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) is a joint action unit consisting of eight faculties, which brings together over 500 sustainability science researchers and teachers from the University of Helsinki. The faculties that are members of HELSUS are the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, the Faculty of Educational Sciences, the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Pharmacy, the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Social Science.