Noteworthy donation promotes sustainability science and Baltic Sea research at the University of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki has received a donation of one million euros, enabling new openings in both sustainability science and Baltic Sea research.

This significant donation to the University was made by alumnus Heidi Andersson.

 “I wanted to make a donation, since the tightened finances of the University, as well as their effects on teaching and research have caused me concern. I believe in the role of the University of Helsinki as a high-level educational institution. I, myself, am a student of the University, which makes me want to give back for the education I have received,” says Andersson.

Nature conservation is close to Andersson’s heart, and in that sphere she is serving as a board member of WWF Finland, among other activities. The Baltic Sea research conducted in Tvärminne was Andersson’s second donation target. Andersson has become familiar with the state of the Baltic Sea through her studies of environmental law and activities in WWF. As for the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science HELSUS, Andersson sees it as representative of a novel research approach looking for answers to environmental questions, up to the global level.

Donors interested in how their donations are used at the University of Helsinki can monitor the spending.

 “I intend to follow the activities of the units by both visiting researchers on site and reading their reports and publications,” says Andersson.

New perspectives to global problems through sustainability science

Jari Niemelä, Director of HELSUS, is happy about the donation and hopes that Andersson’s example will encourage others to support the University’s research through donations.

“This donation is an important contribution to the development and consolidation of a new discipline at our University. It will be helpful in creating new research initiatives that would otherwise be out of reach,” says Niemelä.

How will the donated funds be used? According to Niemelä, HELSUS will hire promising postdoctoral researchers with fresh perspectives on solving sustainability issues. The work of these scholars can be monitored by participating in HELSUS seminars and by following scientific publications and website updates. Niemelä welcomes Andersson and other donors to take part in HELSUS activities.

Baltic Bridge – Research for the benefit of society

According to Marko Reinikainen, Director of the Tvärminne Zoological Station, new openings would not be possible within the limits of traditional external research funding or core funding.

“This donation has a critical role in bringing the Baltic Bridge concept to fruition. Within the context of this concept, we will be able to begin unique research on the social significance of Baltic Sea research. We are extremely grateful for this opportunity to implement, in our opinion, a very topical concept benefiting the Baltic Sea and related research,” expounds Reinikainen.

At Tvärminne, the donations will be used to hire research staff to process basic research results for the use of society within the context of the Baltic Bridge collaboration, as well as to increase the visibility of the results. The project is being conducted in cooperation with the Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre.

The project’s progress is easy to follow, since the visibility of research results is the primary focus of the Baltic Bridge concept. In addition to traditional media and websites, the project utilises constantly developing social media platforms and brand-new technological solutions, such as virtual reality. Research results can also be monitored through the publication forums of the field. Results will also be presented in various events, in addition to which Reinikainen welcomes visitor groups, who will receive information on the progress and implementation of the project.


How to support research at the University of Helsinki
Tvärminne Zoological Station


Further information: