Invitation: Science & solutions – can we solve wicked problems together?

We invite you to join a breakfast discussion about the possibilities of interdisciplinarity in solving societal problems and the power of education and research in transforming Europe and its future.

Breakfast event at University of Helsinki

Tue 1.10. 2019 at 9-10.30.

Think Corner (Yliopistonkatu 4, Helsinki)

The event is streamed here

Finland has a reputation of being a solution-oriented country. Throughout our history we have worked together to produce solutions to everyday challenges – be it surviving in a harsh climate, equity and equality in education or today sustainability.

In solving grand challenges, multidisciplinarity, social sciences and humanities play as a crucial role as new technologies. We try, as a society and in our universities, to integrate content and tools and to understand how societies and humans function.

We invite you to join a breakfast discussion about the possibilities of interdisciplinarity in solving societal problems and the power of education and research in transforming Europe and its future.

The University of Helsinki is a founding member of the League of European Research Universities LERU. LERU is a prominent advocate for the promotion of basic research in the European Union. LERU members strongly believe that frontier research plays an essential role in the innovation process and significantly contributes to the progress of society. At the event, the LERU paper for the EU Institutions on Universities and the future of Europe will be launched.

The discussion is led by Anu Partanen, journalist and author of The Nordic Theory of Everything.

Please register here

Science & solutions – can we solve wicked problems together?

9-9.25: Welcome: Rector Jari Niemelä, University of Helsinki

Keynote: 'Science' and 'culture' in University Settings: How to achieve the involvement of early-career researchers and students. Professor Milena Zic Fuchs, University of Zagreb, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Academia Europaea

9.25.-9.45: University cases: Multidisciplinary research, education & cooperation

– conflicting, combining, enhancing?

  • Professor Christopher Raymond, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science: Exploring the diverse values of nature and their role in solving wicked biodiversity conservation and sustainability planning challenges
  • Professor Anne Kouvonen, Helsinki Inequality Initiative INEQ: Master’s Programme in Social and Health Research and Management
  • Associate professor Teemu Roos, Machine Learning and Data Sciences: Elements of AI

9.45.-10.15: Solving society’s grand challenges with interdisciplinarity

  • Secretary General Mart Laidmets, Estonian Ministry of Education and Research
  • Managing partner Inka Mero, Voima Ventures
  • Professor Milena Zic Fuchs

10.15-10.30: Universities and the future of Europe: Secretary General, prof. Kurt Deketelaere, League of European Research Universities


Professor Milena Zic Fuchs


Professor Milena Zic Fuchs is Full Professor of Linguistics at the University of Zagreb. She is a Fellow of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences and since 2013, a member of Academia Europaea and has been serving as the Croatian Minister of Science and Technology.

Zic Fuchs is a member of the University of Helsinki International Advisory Board. She has also served as member of the High Level Group on Maximising Impact of EU Research and Innovation Programmes, set up by the European Commission, chaired by Pascal Lamy.

Milena Zic Fuchs has chaired the Standing Committee for the Humanities of the European Science Foundation and was also the Chair of the Scientific Review Group for the Humanities of the ESF. From 2008, Žic-Fuchs was member of the European Research Councils Advanced Grant Panel SH4 “The Human Mind and Its Complexity” and chaired the Panel from 2014. 

In July 2019 Zic Fuchs was appointed to the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC). The Scientific Council, the ERC's governing body, consists of 22 eminent scientists who represent the entire European scientific community.

Christopher Raymond


Dr Christopher Raymond is Professor of Sustainability Science at University of Helsinki as part of Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science. He is an interdisciplinary sustainability scientist with research interests in sense of place; the social valuation of ecosystem services; and the conservation of biodiversity. Raymond leads a Social Values for Sustainability Research Group, and is also Guest Professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Anne Kouvonen

Dr Anne Kouvonen is professor of Social Policy. She is also Honorary Lecturer in Social Epidemiology in the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland). At the University of Helsinki. Kouvonen is the Director of Master's Programme in Contemporary Societies. Her research focuses on the social determinants of health. In particular, she has been investigating employee mental health and socioeconomic inequalities of health. Her research involves the application of social epidemiological methods and administrative record linkage as well as large-scale prospective survey designs and RCTs.

Teemu Roos


Teemu Roos is Associate Professor of Computer Science (Machine Learning and Data Science). He is also leader of the AI Education program in the Finnish Center for AI. Roos’s research focuses on machine learning, in other words, how machines can be taught to reason and independently come to a desired conclusion. Roos is also the initiator and coordinator of the free Elements of AI online course developed by the University of Helsinki and the tech company Reaktor. So far, no fewer than 195 000 students from 110 countries have registered for the course. Elements of AI has been selected to be part of the voluntary continuing education for officials working for the European Union.

Mart Laidmets

Before being appointed as the Secretary General for the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, Mart Laidmets has served as Deputy Secretary General, as the Head of higher education department at the ministry and is a member of the board of the Foundation Innove. He has as well been working for the Universities Estonia and University of Tartu and been a researcher at the Uppsala University.

Inka Mero

As Founder and Managing Partner of Voima Ventures, Inka Mero has over 20 years of experience in the tech industry. In April 2019, she launched the first VC fund in the Nordics with a focus purely on startups with deep tech and science background. Mero believes that we are facing a new era, where business opportunities arise from the need to solve big global problems through science, entrepreneurship and capital. Voima Ventures’ cornerstone investors are VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and European Investment Fund (EIF), backed by Finnish private and institutional investors.

Kurt Deketelaere

League of European Research Universities (LERU) Secretary General Kurt Deketelaere is also a (part-time) professor of law at the University of Leuven. Before LERU he has also been working as Chief legal advisor (2004-2007) and the chief of staff (2007-2009) of the Flemish Minister for Public Works, Energy, Environment and Nature. Upon the invitation of the European Commission he is a member of the Open Science Policy. He was chair of the Board of Directors of the Flemish Energy Regulator (VREG) between February 2012 and February 2017.