Networks and strategic partnerships

Working with partners within and beyond Finland's borders is essential to strengthening our global impact. We are engaged in a number of alliances, networks and strategic partnerships, which enables us to grow our impact and share best practices. This way we are able to build a more resilient, equitable and sustainable future.
Strategic partnerships

Strategic partnerships drive the University’s research and talent development agenda. At the heart of the concept is the belief that carefully selecting partner universities with similar or corresponding interests creates strong and novel research as well as new opportunities for collaboration in other areas.

Currently the University of Helsinki has designated five strategic partners; The University of Edinburgh in United Kingdom, Stockholm University in Sweden, Peking University in China and the University of Nairobi in Kenya.The latest strategic partnership forged in March 2022 is a trilateral partnership with KU Leuven and Aalto University.

With the partner universities a limited number of priority areas have been designated jointly.

Stockholm University

Stockholm University and the University of Helsinki are strategic partners since 2014.

The two universities want to strengthen world class research collaboration and now run two key projects: Coast Clim and Arctic Avenue.

CoastClim brings together the major marine and atmospheric units at the two universities, and this effort offers a framework that provides state-of-the-art infrastructure. CoastClim explores the potential of coastal ecosystems as natural solutions to mitigate climate change by simultaneously quantifying biodiversity and climate feedbacks. The results are crucial to improve the management of our coasts and maximize their potential positive role in climate and environmental policies.

CoastClim is based on an earlier strategic cooperation project in Baltic Sea research between the University of Helsinki and Stockholm University, entitled the Baltic Bridge.

Arctic Avenue builds on the strong multidisciplinary research on the Arctic and excellent Arctic research infrastructure at both universities. By combining strengths, an attractive hub is created which strives to reach the absolute top international level to tackle climate change.

Peking University

Peking University and the University of Helsinki became strategic partners in 2015. In their research collaboration, they focus on a range of fields from law to education and atmospheric science to medicine. Together the universities run a summer school in Life Science for doctoral students.

Priority areas:

  • Air quality
  • Comparative law
  • Teaching and learning
  • Medicine/Oncology
University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh and the University of Helsinki forged a strategic partnership in 2019. Together, they are creating joint positions for doctoral candidates in two areas where both universities have an outstanding track record of expertise and world-class research infrastructure: human genomics and forestry.

The two universities collaborate on a number of other activities, for instance in the Una Europa alliance. The universities are also building and strengthening innovation ecosystems.

Priority areas:

  • Human genomics
  • Forestry
University of Nairobi

The University of Helsinki and the University of Nairobi forged a strategic partnership on March 24, 2021.

In their collaboration, they focus on three spearheads:

  • One Health
  • Food Security
  • Teacher Education

The Universities also run the One Health Early Career Champions Mentoring Programme, supporting the cultivation of talent and career advancement of early career researchers. The programme is open for doctoral students at the University of Helsinki and University of Nairobi with a focus on One Health. To stay tuned on the calls for the programme, please visit the programme's website!

KU Leuven and Aalto University

The University of Helsinki, KU Leuven and Aalto University forged a strategic partnership in March 2022. There are two key areas for collaboration:

  • digital humanities
  • sustainability


Una Europa

Una Europa is one of 41 networks funded under the European Universities Initiative to strengthen the European university sector. It's ambitious aim is to lay the foundations for the European university of the future. Reaching beyond traditional geographical and disciplinary boundaries, Una Europa strives to create a joint European campus, boosting international opportunities for students and staff.

The eleven Una Europa partners are leading European research universities. Together we are committed to developing in-depth cooperation and long-term integration between our institutions. By focusing on excellent and innovative research and teaching, we want to ensure that our graduates and researchers are equipped to shape the future. 

League of European Research Universities (LERU)

The League of European Research Universities, better known as LERU, is a network of 23 leading research-intensive universities based in 10 countries around Europe.

University of Helsinki is one of the founding members.

LERU universities share the values of high-quality teaching within an environment of internationally competitive research.


  • is a prominent advocate for the promotion of basic research at European research universities 
  • maintains dialogue and cooperates with EU-related organisations active in the higher education and research arena on topics such as Horizon 2020, Erasmus+ and the European Research Area
  • provides a constant exchange of knowledge, best practices and interesting projects on topics such as research data, social sciences and humanities, innovative doctoral training, research impact, enterprise and innovation, gender, e-learning and many more.

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an EU body created by the European Union in 2008 to strengthen Europe’s ability to innovate.

The EIT supports the development of dynamic, long-term European partnerships among leading companies, research labs and higher education. These partnerships are called Innovation Communities and each is dedicated to finding solutions to a specific global challenge.

The University of Helsinki is part of four EIT Innovation Communities: EIT Food, EIT Digital, EIT Raw Materials and EIT Culture & Creativity.

European University Association (EUA) is the representative organisation of universities and national rectors’ conferences in 47 European countries. EUA plays a crucial role in the Bologna Process and in influencing EU policies on higher education, research and innovation.

IAU, International Association of Universities, founded in 1950, is the UNESCO-based worldwide association of higher education institutions. It brings together institutions and organisations from some 120 countries for reflection and action on common concerns and collaborates with various international, regional and national bodies active in higher education.

Universities in the Capitals of Europe (UNICA) is an institutional network of 46 universities from 35 capital cities of Europe, combining over 150,000 staff and 1,800,000 students. UNICA provides a forum for its Members to reflect on the latest developments and demands of strategic change in university research, education and administration.

University of the Arctic (UArctic) is a cooperative network of universities, colleges, research institutes and other organizations concerned with education and research in and about the North.

UArctic builds and strengthens collective resources and collaborative infrastructure that enables member institutions to better serve their constituents and their regions.

Through cooperation in education, research and outreach the network enhances human capacity in the North, promotes viable communities and sustainable economies, and forges global partnerships.

University of Helsinki participates in Arctic research collaboration through UArctic thematic networks. The University of Helsinki is an active player in the north2north student mobility scheme operating within the UArctic consortium.

Euraxess - Researchers in Motion is a unique pan-European initiative delivering information and support services to professional researchers. Backed by the European Union and its Member States, it supports researcher mobility and career development, while enhancing scientific collaboration between Europe and the world.

The University of Helsinki is the bridgehead organization of Euraxess Finland.

Climate University is a collaboration project between eleven Finnish universities funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

The project is aiming to development multidisciplinary digital learning in sustainability challenges with flexible study paths to the working life. So far many activities have been tested such as online courses in different elements of sustainability and climate change and conferences and events for universities.

Finnish University Partnership for International Development (UniPID) UniPID is a network of Finnish universities to support the interdisciplinary studies and research, as well as societal impact and partnerships of universities related to global sustainable development.

UniPID has a range of activities that are aimed both at students at all degree levels, researchers in the field, and other stakeholders looking for expertise. 

The work includes virtual courses on sustainable development and development studies, supporting researchers in the field with research calls and funding opportunities, striving to impact research policies and supporting Finnish universities in fostering their social impact and response to global challenges.  

The University of Helsinki currently hosts the UniPID co-ordination unit, and provides services for the network members, and other stakeholders

The University of Helsinki is a responsible social force. In addition to serving the Finnish society, the University sees itself very much an advocate of sustainable global development. A major aspect of this advocacy is seeking to promote academic freedom and integrity around the world.

The University is a member of the Scholars at Risk (SAR) network, which aims at protecting individual scholars and higher education communities from the repression of their research publication, teaching and learning.  This is accomplished by placing scholars in jeopardy of persecution in host universities, offering workshops and training and by inviting speakers from other universities in the network.

The network consists of more than 200 universities from well over 30 countries.

Since 2017, all Finnish SAR member universities, including the University of Helsinki, have formed the Finnish section for Scholars at Risk within the confines of  Universities Finland UNIFI.