The University of Oulu has significantly strengthened its scientific status

The key figures of the University of Oulu are better than ever before. The research is profiled among the top three universities in Finland. Scientific publishing is at a record level, and the level of the research funding received from the EU is the second best among the Finnish universities.

We are living in an era of changes that shake the whole world. The COVID-19 pandemic showed very concretely how pathogens can spread everywhere at lightning speed and bring societies to a halt. We are witnessing a geopolitical reorientation both due to the Russian war of aggression and the reorganisation of global domination. And, not least, we are living in the midst of climate change. We are faced with irreversible man-made changes, but hopefully also the ability to mitigate at least some of them.

Universities are a thousand-year-old institution, which, according to law, enjoy freedom of research, art and teaching. However, we do not operate in an ivory tower, as the waves of transformation also roll over universities.

In Finland, we have a broad understanding that science and research are needed as a basis for competence and education and as a source of innovation.

Last year and this year, parliamentary cooperation functioned well to produce an agreement on a long-term scientific policy extending across government terms. Under the agreement, research and development funding will be increased from the current level, which, standing at less than 3% of GDP, has fallen behind the reference countries, to the level of 4% by 2030.

The RDI Funding Act, which entered into force this year, determines how the R&D funding is to be increased from 2024 until 2030 to achieve the target. It is exciting to see at what level this growing R&D funding will be set in the plans of the new Finnish government.

Increasing the R&D funding is a joint effort between the central government and companies. As far as universities are concerned, significant opportunities will be offered by the growth of funding from the Academy of Finland and Business Finland. In addition, there are plans to significantly increase the number of doctors trained to meet the needs of the strengthening RDI system. Doctoral education will be implemented faster than before and in close collaboration with different actors to meet the needs of the labour market.

When fulfilling their statutory duties, universities both cooperate with each other and compete with each other. The University of Oulu has excellently improved its scientific status in recent years, and our key figures are better than ever before.

We produce scientific publications at a record level. Based on external evaluations, in terms of research, we are profiled among the top three universities in Finland. Our competitive supplementary funding has strengthened significantly. The best example of this is that our EU research funding has increased, reaching the second highest level among the Finnish universities.

Taina Pihlajaniemi, Vice Rector for Research