Donations boost Swedish-language economics research

The Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation has donated €200,000 to the University of Helsinki. The donated funds will be used to establish a Swedish-language professorship in economics, divided between the Swedish School of Social Science and the Helsinki Graduate School of Economics.

“The general aim of the Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation is to support scholarly research benefiting the whole of Finnish society. This donation will be used to establish a professorship involving Swedish-language instruction and Nordic networks that will strengthen Swedish-language economics expertise in Finland,” says Henrik Meinander, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation

The professorship will be based at the University of Helsinki’s Swedish School of Social Science (Soc&kom). Half of the appointee’s workload will be allocated to the Helsinki Graduate School of Economics (Helsinki GSE), a unit jointly operated by the University of Helsinki, Aalto University and the Hanken School of Economics and focusing on teaching and research in economics.

“The teaching and supervision associated with the professorship will be provided to undergraduate and postgraduate students specialising in the social sciences at both the Helsinki GSE and other higher education institutions in Helsinki. An important reason for allocating the donation to Soc&kom is that the University has systematically reinforced its Swedish-language operations and Nordic contacts in recent years,” Meinander says.

Swedish-language economics research is important because the Nordic countries remain one of Finland’s most significant markets.

“An increasing share of our economy is tied in with the Nordic countries through investment and ownership. We need experts capable of communicating in Swedish to investigate this situation and provide related teaching,” Meinander adds.

Rector Johan Bärlund of the Swedish School of Social Science is delighted that the unit can gradually restore economics to its teaching programme.

“Economics teaching should be available not only to all Soc&kom students, but also to the students of other faculties at the City Centre Campus. Students of social sciences and humanities should also gain an insight into economics,” he says.

One of the important responsibilities of the new professorship is connected with the Swedish-language doctoral education in social sciences offered by the Helsinki GSE, which will supplement the education at Hanken.

“Although English is usually the language of research cooperation and publications, it’s important that the University has experts in economics, particularly public finances, who are proficient in Swedish,” Bärlund points out.

With the Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation’s donation of €200,000, a total of €1.2 million has now been raised for the new professorship.

This year, the foundation has also donated €150,000 to the biological and environmental sciences for the long-term monitoring of the network of meadows in the Åland Islands, as well as €5,000 for the Nordic seminar on property law. The former research is of a unique duration and empirical scale and aims to predict the reactions of species and communities to the combined effects of climate change and an increasingly fragmented habitat.

Find out more about donations and their use