The Tre Smeder foundation donates one million euros to the University of Helsinki
The Stiftelsen Tre Smeder foundation has donated one million euros for the promotion of teaching and research in the social sciences at the University of Helsinki. The University has decided to allocate the funds primarily to Swedish-language teaching and research in the social sciences and to establish a Swedish-language professorship in economics.

“This is a happy day for Stiftelsen Tre Smeder. With our donation of one million euros, we can promote expertise in the social sciences at the University of Helsinki. A Swedish-language professorship in economics to be established with the funds at the Faculty of Social Sciences will also benefit, in particular, the Swedish School of Social Science,” says Marcus Rantala, who chairs the foundation.

There is a considerable shortage in Finland of top-level economics experts proficient in Swedish, particularly doctoral graduates. The professorship to be established at the Faculty of Social Sciences will also provide excellent opportunities to offer Swedish-language teaching in economics to students of social sciences and law.

“Knowledge and insight relating to economics will be increasingly important for all professions and society at large. This is why we wish to enhance expertise in economics within all Swedish-language fields of teaching at the University. The professorship will also enable the University to develop a new and exciting profile in Swedish, promoting its bilingual dimension,” notes Rantala.

Hannu Vartiainen, professor of economics at the Faculty of Social Sciences, highlights the societal significance of the new professorship.

“We are now re-establishing a Swedish-language professorship in economics, which used to play a central role in discussion on economics in Finland. The Swedish-language professorship will also enhance the important Nordic cooperation in the field.

“In addition, the professorship will provide excellent support for the cooperation between the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Swedish School of Social Science as well as the cooperation between the higher education institutions coordinating the Helsinki Graduate School of Economics,” states Vartiainen.

Established by the University of Helsinki, Aalto University and Hanken School of Economics, the Helsinki Graduate School of Economics is a unit focusing on teaching and research in economics.

The idea is that 50% of the new professor’s teaching duties will be allocated to the Swedish School of Social Science, with the other half devoted to the University’s other Swedish-language degree programmes.

“As of this autumn, the Swedish School of Social Science has offered studies qualifying students to work as social studies teachers in basic education, which has increased the need for Swedish-language courses in economics. The qualification studies must include three courses in economics, and we will now be able to offer these courses in Swedish thanks to the Swedish-language professorship in economics at the Faculty of Social Sciences,” says Johan Bärlund, rector of the Swedish School of Social Science.

The Stiftelsen Tre Smeders donation is included in the government matched funding scheme for 2020–2022. Under this scheme, the Finnish government agrees to provide a certain amount of funds for each euro contributed by private donors to universities in the period from 15 June 2020 to 30 June 2022. Underlying this commitment is a decision made by the Supervisory Board of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra on 19 December 2019 to allocate a one-off contribution of €100 million for the capitalisation of universities.

Within the framework of the government matched funding scheme, donations of €10,000 or more can be allocated to a specific field of education. The University of Helsinki decides on the use of the donated funds.

Contact details:

Marcus Rantala, chair, Stiftelsen Tre Smeder
Phone +358 50 354 7159, marcus.rantala@gmail.com

Marjaana Seppänen, dean, Faculty of Social Sciences
Phone +358 50 448 9118, marjaana.seppanen@helsinki.fi

Johan Bärlund, rector, Swedish School of Social Science
Phone +358 50 448 2735, johan.barlund@helsinki.fi

Martta Lindström, liaison manager, Fundraising & Partnerships, University of Helsinki
Phone +358 50 318 5220, martta.lindstrom@helsinki.fi