The grant was announced last week when Stiftelsen Brita Maria Renlunds minne, together with four other Finnish-Swedish funds, announced that they would donate a total of 2.1 million euros to the universities' fundraising campaigns. The fact that the Stiftelsen Brita Maria Renlunds minne's contribution is directed to the natural sciences and to pedagogy and teacher training is in accordance with the foundation's purpose: to support children and young people.
- An effective way to support children and young people is to ensure that the people who work with children and young people receive the best possible education, says the foundation's CEO Birgitta Forsström.
Stiftelsen Brita Maria Renlunds minne was founded by the businessman Karl Herman Renlund in 1918. The foundation is named after the donor's mother. The foundation supports activities and projects aimed at children and young people. The foundation especially supports children with special needs, vulnerable children and young people and supports activities that prevent vulnerability and exclusion.
- We are very happy that the Stiftelsen Brita Maria Renlunds minne has decided to direct the donation to pedagogy and teacher education, says Professor Gunilla Holm at the Faculty of Educational Sciences.
The university plans to make a decision to direct the donation to studies in special education. There is a great shortage of qualified Swedish-skilled special teachers. This is stated in the Ministry of Education and Culture's latest report.
- Our goal is to establish an education that provides special teacher qualifications, Holm continues.
The second part of the donation is directed to the natural sciences.
- This noticeable donation is highly appreciated. In the future, we plan to invest in opening up for Swedish-speaking teaching in the very current subject of artificial intelligence and its social applications, says Dean Kai Nordlund at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
The universities' fundraising is linked to the state's matched-funding of the universities 2020–2022. This means that for every donated euro from the private sector, the state adds a certain amount of money. How large that sum is has not yet been determined. However, the total state matched-funding is a maximum of EUR 67 million, and an individual university can receive a maximum of EUR 11 million. The final amount of the matched-funding will be determined after the end of the campaign period, in June 2022.