University of Helsinki balancing its finances, reforming its operational structure

The University of Helsinki has successfully adjusted its finances during 2016. No new staff cuts will be required. The University is also adopting a new two-tier operational structure.

The University of Helsinki’s financial results for January-August 2016 was slightly positive, but indicated a decrease of €35 million from the previous year. The result was €1 million, or including proceeds from investments, €6 million.

According to University of Helsinki Rector Jukka Kola, the result is better than expected in spring 2016. This means that the University of Helsinki's cost-cutting measures have led to the desired results.

“The University of Helsinki will not have to launch a new cooperation process, even though the concessions included in the Government’s competitiveness pact do not pertain to universities. We will be able to weather the challenges of the coming years," Rector Kola states.

The University is expected to show a small surplus for the year 2016, but a deficit is expected for the following years. However, the University will be able to use the surplus generated by its operations during the past years to cover the deficit.

A lighter operational structure

In its meeting on 19 October 2016, the Board of the University of Helsinki decided on the University’s new operational structure. The current 11 faculties and four doctoral schools will continue to operate, but discipline-specific departments will cease to function as financially independent units by the end of 2017.  As a result, the number of profit units at the University will go down from 51 to 30. The faculties decide on their internal structure. The deans will be responsible for the faculty budgets. The Swedish School of Social Science and the teacher training schools will remain as separate profit units.

 “The two–tier system will make administration lighter, but it also requires that faculty leadership engage in more active dialogue with staff and students. The entire University community must have the appropriate circumstances to create high-standard research and teaching,” says Jaana Husu-Kallio, chair of the Board of the University of Helsinki.

The overhaul of the operational structure is part of a long-term structural reform which also involves the ongoing major education reform, the administrative reorganisation and the establishment of the Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE. During 2017, the University will also decide on the establishment of the SSH Research Centre focusing on multidisciplinary research in the social sciences and humanities, the Helsinki Sustainability Science Centre involving several partners as well as the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences.

 “The financial security and leeway associated with bigger units will help faculties refocus their activities and carry out the University's strategy even when times are difficult. For example, the Faculty of Medicine recently abolished its departments, and have had good experiences. The structural reforms will be evaluated as part of the overall evaluation for the period 2017-2020," says Rector Jukka Kola.  

More information:

Marjo Berglund, Chief Financial Officer, + 358 400 812 538,

Jussi Karvinen, Director of Planning, +358 50 526 2396,