New vice-deans and department directors appointed at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

Ritva Toivonen, who will continue serving as the dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, has appointed the vice-deans and department directors for the term 1 January 2022–31 December 2025.

According to Dean Toivonen, the Faculty is embarking on a new four-year administrative term in good spirits and on a solid financial foundation – in spite of the pandemic. The attractiveness of Faculty degree programmes has increased, and there are fresh faces among the staff. At the same time, the Faculty is a much larger scientific community than it was four years ago.

“The good mood is evident in concrete indicators, such as publication numbers and success in the acquisition of national and international research funding, including FIRI, ERC and Centre of Excellence funding. New kinds of innovation activities have contributed to raising the Faculty’s profile, even though we are only taking the first steps in this,” Toivonen says.

“The Faculty has gained excellent vice-deans and department directors. Our scientific community will be guided by an energetic, responsible and cooperative group of people,” a pleased Toivonen adds.

“Based on their fields of science, work experience and networks, they represent great variety, which is good. In addition, the new directors and steering groups of doctoral programmes are beginning new terms. I wish to welcome our new leadership – we are well equipped to carry on from here in a positive spirit of growth and development. Heartfelt thanks are in order to those distinguished individuals who have completed their term in a range of leadership positions at the Faculty.”

After the selection process, the dean decided to appoint as vice-deans the following persons:

  • Professor Laura Alakukku will continue as the vice-dean for infrastructures and open data.
  • University Lecturer Janna Pietikäinen will continue as the vice-dean for education and sustainability.
  • Professor Mari Sandell is the new vice-dean for public engagement and innovation.
  • Professor Anne Toppinen is the new vice-dean for research and doctoral education.

New department directors:

  • Department of Food and Nutrition: Professor Marina Heinonen
  • Department of Agricultural Sciences: Professor Pekka Uimari
  • Department of Forest Sciences: Professor Markus Holopainen
  • Department of Microbiology: Professor Per Saris
  • Department of Economics and Management: University Lecturer, Docent Marko Lindroos


An open call for the positions, including a procedure for notification of interest, was held on 30 September–17 October 2021. Public hearings for applicants to department directorships were held in November and December separately for individual departments. A public hearing of applicants to the positions of vice-dean and a hearing of the Faculty Council were held on 14 December 2021.