Rector of the University of Helsinki Sari Lindblom on Monday underscored the need for taking various measures including increasing the number of higher study places with fully funding support to make a crucial difference to the wellbeing and success of our country.
Speaking on the occasion of marking the 383rd founding anniversary of the university, she listed four things that must happen to enable universities and higher education institutions to make a crucial difference to the wellbeing and vitality of society, said a university press release.
In the run-up to the parliamentary election, Lindblom highlighted how Finland will face both global and domestic challenges simultaneously in the next government term.
“The bottlenecks hindering Finland’s success include the reduction of the labour force and a stagnating educational level, as well as the resulting labour shortage and the trend of modest improvements in productivity seen in recent years,” she said.
Lindblom pointed out that the solutions to and solvers of future challenges are found in universities.
“Finland’s success has been founded on top-level expertise and research, and so will it continue to be. We universities are creators of hope and drivers of societal change. We need political consensus and the will to make the necessary decisions to stabilise the resources allocated to research and science.”
She emphasised to increase student places at higher education institutions as the number one measure out of the proposed four measures.
“First, the number of student places at higher education institutions must be considerably increased, and this added intake must be fully and permanently funded. The need for increased intake, to the tune of thousands of student places, is most prominent in the Uusimaa region. As a result, we are continuously losing young people who leave to study abroad and elsewhere in Finland. For the same reason, we are unable to attract talented young people from around the world to study and work in Finland. This requires correction,” she said.
As the second area, Lindblom highlighted the funding allocated by the government to research, development and innovation.
“At least half of RDI funding should be allocated to publicly funded research, supporting, among others, universities and universities of applied sciences, the Academy of Finland and, directly, the innovation operations of universities,” she stated.
The third issue is the need to reform research legislation, particularly in the field of medical research, so that it does not unnecessarily hamper the conduct of research and RDI activities.
“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we need a much more ambitious approach to science policy. For us to succeed in continually intensifying international competition, we need help from the government and society. We need state-of-the-art competence clusters and a focus on quality,” Lindblom said.
“With these means, we can ensure that Finland will continue to be a successful and thriving country,” she added.
- 383rd anniversary
- University of Helsinki