Long-term efforts bring good academic results

For the University of Helsinki, 2016 was a good year in terms of academic results, even while the Change Programme necessitated by budget cuts drained resources. The University of Helsinki placed 56th in the Shanghai ranking of world universities.

In 2016, the University of Helsinki had 31,878 degree students, who completed a total of 6,011 degrees of which 2,755 were Bachelor’s degrees, 2,685 Master’s degrees and 508 doctoral degrees. This marks a slight decrease from the corresponding figures from the previous year. However, the total number of degrees was higher than the average for the previous three years (2013–2015).

The 1,992 international degree students represented 109 different nationalities.

Just under 3,500 new degree students enrolled. Approximately 16% of applicants were admitted.

A reform of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes was carried out during 2016, and 32 broad-scoped Bachelor’s programmes and 60 Master’s programmes will be launched in autumn 2017. The 32 doctoral programmes established in 2014 will continue to operate as before.

Towards the top 50

The University of Helsinki placed as the 56th best university in the world in the Shanghai ranking. This represents the University’s best-ever result on the internationally most acclaimed ranking list, and an improvement of 11 positions from the previous year. The main factor boosting the ranking was the improvement in the HiCi indicator, which measures the number of highly cited researchers.

The University’s positions in the other internationally respected university rankings were as follows: Taiwan 71, Times Higher Education 91 and QS 91.

Number of international publications rising

The University of Helsinki is a strong research university. In 2016, University of Helsinki researchers and teachers produced 10,552 publications, of which 6,984 (66%) were peer-reviewed and 3,568 (34%) non-refereed publications with social impact. The number of peer-reviewed publications co-authored between international colleagues has grown 10% over four years.

In 2016, the University had 5,089 projects supported by external funding, of which 3,522 were research-related.

University of Helsinki researchers received 10 grants in the European Research Council funding rounds. A total of 13 grants were awarded to researchers from other Finnish universities.

The University of Helsinki is committed to promoting open science. The Ministry of Education and Culture’s Open Science and Research project evaluated the openness of the operational cultures at Finnish research organisations. The University of Helsinki was the only organisation to rank in the highest category of the evaluation.

Research results to benefit society

The results of research carried out at the University of Helsinki constitute a significant contribution to many areas of society. They can support social decision-making, people’s health and wellbeing, employment and economic growth, and ideally help solve global problems. The University of Helsinki seeks to significantly increase the impact of its research results.

The commercialisation of research has proceeded well. The number of invention disclosures and patent applications has continued to grow for three consecutive years. In 2016, 96 invention disclosures and 46 patent applications were submitted. Two new spin-out companies were established.

The extensive Think Company community, which encourages entrepreneurship, organised 498 events with a total of 15,465 participants. The events were organised by 212 companies, teams and organisations.

Think Corner, the meeting place of science and the public, hosted 153 events which focused on topical issues and the 2016 science themes Living Science and Digital Humanities.

The Board of the University of Helsinki will approve the final results of the University’s finances and operations in conjunction with the financial statement. The University will release its financial statement for 2016 on 30 March 2017.

The University of Helsinki 2016 in brief

  • 31,878 degree students
  • 1,992 international degree students
  • 6,011 degrees
  • 3,483 new degree students
  • 21,778 students at the Open University
  • 1,992 international students, 109 nationalities
  • 1,132 international staff, 88 nationalities
  • 10,522 publications: 6,984 (66%) peer-reviewed and 3,568 (34%) non-refereed publications with social impact
  • 5,089 externally funded projects, 3,522 research-related
  • 56th in the Shanghai ranking
  • 15 Academy of Finland centres of excellence coordinated by the University, 5 research groups participating in centres of excellence coordinated elsewhere and 14 academy professors
  • 9 University of Helsinki researchers on the Highly Cited Researchers list, out of a total of 16 Finns
  • 96 invention disclosures and 46 patent applications, two new spin-out companies
  • 70th  in the Global University Employability Ranking comparing the employability of 2016 graduates
  • 27,000 registered alumni
  • €40.3 million in donations to the University through the Best for the World fundraising campaign (2013–2017, goal €25 million)
  • 5.4 million visitors to the public website, 34 million page visits
  • 24,000 media hits + TV and radio mentions

International students’ countries of origin


For more information, please contact:

Keijo Hämäläinen, Vice-Rector, keijo.hamalainen@helsinki.fi, tel. 02941 22216
Ritva Dammert, Director of Development, Research Services, ritva.dammert@helsinki.fi, tel. 02941 22292
Susanna Niinistö-Sivuranta, Director of Development, Teaching and Learning Services, susanna.niinisto-sivuranta@helsinki.fi, tel. 02941 20500

See also