HEI LIFE stands for Higher Education Institutions’ Support for International Academics and Staff – Living, Integration, Family and Employment in Finland.
The project focuses on building national models for Finnish higher education institutions to support the integration of international academics, staff and their families.
The project should produce concrete, practical and adaptable input to:
The approach should be holistic and take into consideration the diversity of both the international talent and Finnish higher education institutions.
The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, and runs from 1.9.2020 until 31.12.2022.
The project is managed by the University of Helsinki. The activities are divided between the higher education institutions in the capital, Tampere and Turku regions. Each region is in charge of a subproject, focusing on different aspects of integration.
Thank you on behalf of HEI LIFE
The project period officially ended 31.12.2022. Many of the activities started during the project period will continue as part of the HEIs everyday support for international academics, staff, and families.
In general, all HEI LIFE activities went well and gathered interest in the Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku regions. For instance, our session with Mothers In Business International and webinars with Empower Wednesday (International Working Women of Finland) were found to be interesting and useful. A summary of the Inclusion Morning organised with MiB is available online, including a recording of the event.
Our warmest thanks to all individuals and organisations involved for your continued support and collaboration for our joint cause of better inclusion and retention!
Video Greetings from the whole HEI LIFE project - Get to know Finnish Universities and the Finnish language
Are you interested in working at a higher education institution in Finland? Or have you already made the decision to move to Finland and want to get to know a bit of the Finnish language? The aim of the video is to raise interest in the universities, higher education, and research in Finland as well as the diversity of the Finnish language. The video offers an opportunity to get to know Finland's higher education centers briefly and a small taste of the Finnish language.
SUBPROJECT 1 - Tampere University
Guide for International Researchers and Their Families
As part of the results for subproject 1, Tampere University and EURAXESS Finland have published a guide for international researchers and their families. The guide offer useful information on moving to and living in Finland, as well as material to support diversity and inclusion in academia. The guide is available in English on the EURAXESS Finland website.
SUBPROJECT 2 - University of Turku
Guide for Peer Support Groups in Higher Education
As part of the results for subproject 2, the University of Turku has published a guide title 'Inclusion into Academic Life - a guide for peer support groups in higher education'. The guide gives practical examples and tools to promote a more welcoming and inclusive environment in HEIS. The guide for peer support groups is available in English online.
I-Me-Pro: Mentoring Programme for International Talents
Check out how mentoring programme was organised: I-Me-Pro: Mentoring Programme for International Talents – Building a career in an Expert Organization
Cheak out also recommendations for business cooperation through the mentoring programme and
through doctoral dissertation supervisor training (only in Finnish).
Want to know what other international talent programs are available?
Check out this summary of the programs by the University of Turku.
See also publication International talent programmes in Finland – a call for better service accessibility.
SUBPROJECT 3 - University of Helsinki
Guide for HEI's and other organisations - How to build a network for international Spouses
As a part of the result of subproject 3, the University of Helsinki has published a guide, especially for HEI's and other organsations. We are happy to offer you this publication showcasing the work that we have done to build a network for international spouses of academics and staff at higher education institutions (HEIs) in the capital region of Finland. In this publication we explain why we wanted to build the network, what the network is about, what kind of activities we have arranged, who we have collaborated with, and what our findings and recommendations are based on our experience. The publication is available in English online.
HEI LIFE Spouse Network (Helsinki region)
Are you a spouse of an international academic or staff member working in a higher education institution in the capital region of Finland? Click here to join the HEI LIFE Spouse Network, to get more info on our events for spouses! Our upcoming activities include e.g.
Check out the guide above to see various activities that have been organized for members of Spouse Network.
These main goals form the basis for the sub projects:
The main goals of the project were chosen based on the partner universities' understanding of the current challenges HEIs, academics, staff and families face when working and living in Finland.
Although HEIs already offer a range of services together with the public and private sector, the scope, availability and quality of services differ. In addition, international talents face challenges in integration and finding employment.
The partner HEIs want to develop their integration methods and services by strengthening and creating new ways cooperation as well as enhancing and promoting existing services.
Contact HEI: Tampere University, Raisa Suominen
The national welcome package will include information and material that supports individuals arriving to work for Finnish higher education institutions and their families. The material offers support for:
The material supports the information needs of the other two subprojects.
The plan includes a survey of current suitable information and material, needs assessments, development and production of further information and material, user review and feedback. Finalised information and material will available on Finland’s EURAXESS site.
Contact HEI: University of Turku, Irinja Paakkanen
The subproject focuses on strengthening company collaboration for international researchers and other staff by piloting I-Me-Pro mentoring programme and developing new collaboration models.
One goal is to create a network model for international talent, which would allow the talent to build work-life networks and share experiences and know-how regarding career building and the Finnish working life.
Information needs and creation will be coordinated together with subproject 1.
Contact HEI: University of Helsinki, Kirsi Korhonen
The subproject's goal is to build a service tray with several types of services that Finnish HEIs can create and use to support the integration of spouses and families.
The subproject focuses on creating a variety of services and support models for information, employment and networking.
The HEIs in the capital region of Finland have formed the HEI LIFE Spouse Network to support the spouses of academics and staff in higher education institutions in the capital region. Spouses can join the network by registering via this link.
The overall plans include benchmarking existing services, creation and development of information and material, workshops for e.g. job search, creating work-life connections, and active spouse involvement e.g. through network building.
Collaboration models with cities, business and third sector will be explored and tested fitting to regional and national needs.
Information needs and creation will be coordinated together with subproject 1.
The project brings several benefits to the Finnish higher education and research community and ecosystem. The project partners find several benefit objectives, which can be divided to general and those regarding talent attraction and retention.
The steering committee includes international, academic and HR representatives from higher education institutions in Finland.
The steering group is responsible for ensuring that the project will be able to reach its benefit objectives.
The steering committee supports, steers and monitors the progress of the project. The steering committee also authorizes changes to the project plan and oversees the project through regular reports from the project manager.
Member organisations include Aalto University, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Hanken School of Economics, Tampere University, University of the Arts Helsinki, University of Helsinki, University of Oulu and University of Turku.
The recruitment of top talent to Finnish higher education institutions (HEIs) is hindered by:
We need more good quality, widely available services, and we would also do well to promote and use the existing services more.
Also, larger-scale collaboration in these matters between HEIs and other key players such as business life and cities would be beneficial for the whole ecosystem. The project partners share a strong will to collaborate and share ideas openly with all project partners, national networks, related public and other services, as well as international researchers and their families.
The universities of Helsinki, Tampere and Turku have strong experience and versatile existing services in talent attraction, retention and integration. In addition, the capital region and Tampere and Turku regions have several HEIs that have useful experience, working practices and good networks to support the success of the project plan.
All project partners are used to collaborating with one another and also in international projects, and are active in several national and international networks such as EURAXESS, Talent Boost, LERU etc. The project partners can guarantee the wide impact of the project, direct access to benchmarking connections and easier pooling of resources, among other things.
HEI LIFE means Higher Education Institutions’ Support for International Academics and Staff – Living, Integration, Family and Employment in Finland.
The goal is to build service models for integration of international staff and families at Finnish higher education institutions and regions.
The partner HEI regions are the Capital region, Tampere and Turku.
HEI LIFE is mainly funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, University of Helsinki, and University of Turku.
The total funding is 350 000€ (340 000€ from the Ministry). The budget is divided between the three subprojects. The funding period 1.9.2020 – 31.12.2022.
The project manager HEI is the University of Helsinki.
Thank you for the HEI LIFE Seminar!
The HEI LIFE project organised a seminar to discuss the project activities, results, and international talent attraction and retention in higher education and research institutions. 65 people attended the seminar on-site and 99 people watched the stream online, with some participants joining from other countries like Germany and Latvia.
In the seminar the project teams presented and discussed the activities and results of the HEI LIFE project (Higher Education Institutions Support for International Academics and Staff - Living, Integration, Family, and Employment in Finland). HEI LIFE highlights topics and development needs that are relevant to all higher education and research institutions wanting to attract and retain international academics, staff and their families. A summary of the seminar is available on LinkedIn.
The project partners have been actively creating and testing services and content to support international academics, staff and their families in the capital, Tampere and Turku regions.
Results to date include webinars, surveys, mentoring, social events, and plenty of connections between organisations and people. Most common activities to date are workshops for international academics or supervisors, informative webinars for international academics and spouses, mentoring meetings, and social activities for spouses. Please see the separate tabs for detailed information on activities in each sub project.
Due to the restrictions related to COVID-19, the project teams, networks and steering committee met mainly online until spring 2022. As of spring 2022 many activities have also been organised face-to-face. The situation will affect the project results to a degree.
HEI LIFE has been promoted online and in several events throughout the project period, including the Talent Boost Newsroom, Talent Boost Summit, International Forum Winter Seminar, EURAXESS BHO meeting, EURAXESS Nordic Training, and EURAXESS Conference 2022.
HEI LIFE was also present at the EAIE 2022 Conference in Barcelona. Our project manager Kirsi Korhonen chaired a session on tools and best practices for talent attraction in higher education. The session speakers were Mark de Vos from the University of Copenhagen (DK) and Jessica Schueller from Miami University (USA).
Guide for Peer Support Groups in Higher Education
As part of the results for sub project 2, the University of Turku has published a guide title 'Inclusion into Academic Life - a guide for peer support groups in higher education'. The guide gives practical examples and tools to promote a more welcoming and inclusive environment in HEIS. The guide is available in English online.
The HEI LIFE final seminar took place in Helsinki on 31.8.2022. The seminar programme included overviews of the project activities and results, as well as workshops concerning the main topics. The seminar was in English, free of charge, and open to the public. A summary of the seminar is available on LinkedIn.
Sub project 1 focuses on creating a National Welcome Package. Activities and results to date include:
HEI Contact person: Tampere University, Raisa Suominen (email@example.com)
Sub project 2 focuses on the work life integration of international academics. Activities and results to date include:
HEI Contact person: Irinja Paakkanen, University of Turku (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sub project 3 focused on creating a network and support services for spouses of international academics and staff. Activities and resuls include:
International spouses of academics and staff working in HEIs in the capital region can sign up for the network via the registration form.
HEI Contact person: Jaana Nylund, University of Helsinki (email@example.com)
HEI LIFE activities in 2022 included:
If you are interested in collaborating with the HEI LIFE partners or hearing more about the project, please contact the project manager or relevant sub project coordinator.
Subproject 1 Coordinator Raisa Suominen, Tampere University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subproject 2 Coordinator Irinja Paakkanen, University of Turku (email@example.com)
Project Manager & Subproject 3 Coordinator Kirsi Korhonen, University of Helsinki (firstname.lastname@example.org)
News and activities regarding HEI LIFE will be posted on this website. If you are an international academic, staff or family member, and would like to join our activities, follow our updates. We are also keen to collaborate with the public, private and NGO sector. In social media we use #HEILIFE.
If you are particularly interested in a certain sub project, feel free to contact the HEI in charge.