Rector Jari Niemelä of the University of Helsinki: The next government must focus on increasing expertise

Today, 29 November, the University of Helsinki is launching #siksitiede, a campaign promoting science. The campaign describes to politicians in particular and Finns in general what research and research-based teaching are needed for, in addition to highlighting the general duty of universities to promote education and learning.

“The world and, thus, the needs of people and the environment are changing at an ever-accelerating pace. At the moment, we don’t know what kind of questions will require answers fifty years from now. What we do already know for certain is that solving these future challenges requires long-term research. That’s where science comes in,” says Jari Niemelä, rector of the University of Helsinki.

Scope of Finnish expertise must be increased 

The University of Helsinki has published its vision for the science and higher education policy needed for the next government term of 2019–2023 for universities to be able to continue engendering education and wellbeing. 

There is plenty of work to do, since improvement of the level of education among young age groups has stalled. Internationally speaking, such a phenomenon is exceptional.

“Finland has no other options but to found its future on top-level expertise,  which makes the task at hand considerable: whereas the current figure is 41%, no less than half of young adults must in the future complete a higher education degree. Institutions of higher education must also be more widely accessible to all in order to increase expertise among the entire population and the amount of high-quality digital teaching. Achieving these goals requires resources, making it necessary to increase investments in education and research.”

Science benefits society in a multitude of ways:

“To begin with, scientific knowledge directly generates innovations, as well as products and services with marketing potential, while society also benefits from new information on a more general level, for example, when developing the comprehensive school system or protecting the Baltic Sea. Without science our society stagnates,” states Niemelä.

The University of Helsinki’s vision for the next government:

  • Make Finland the world leader in knowledge
  • Promote the relocation of international students and researchers to Finland
  • Increase the use of research-based knowledge in decision-making
  • Make the necessary investments in research and higher education

The Siksitiede campaign website (in Finnish only)
University of Helsinki’s vision for the next government