The History of the University of Oulu II (1993–2018)

The story of the first decades of the University of Oulu was written up in the 1990s. The book was published in 1998 and was authored by Matti Salo and Matti Lackman. The historical research dealt comprehensively with the University’s background, its foundation and its development over its first 35 years of operation (1958–1993).

Now, as the current decade draws to a close, the time has come to continue writing the university’s history up to and into the 21st century, to give the full picture of the university and its activities at the turn of the century. Doctor of Philosophy Matti Mäntylä (Department of Humanities, University of Oulu) was serving as the researcher in charge of the University of Oulu history project. The project was initiated in 2017 and the resulting book was published in December 2019, which will also mark 60 years from the opening ceremony of the university’s first academic year and the beginning of the university’s activities.

With this new historical work, the university is celebrating its 60-year journey as an educational driver in Northern Finland. The rapid growth of the university, and the changes to the whole university sector and its operating environment during the 1990s and 2000s have generated the need to examine what has been done in Oulu to adapt to the changes and play one’s part in carrying the development process forward. With competition in teaching and research continually increasing both domestically and abroad, Oulu and its residents have fared well overall. What is the foundation of Oulu’s expertise?

The second work on the history of the university, which has now reached completion, covers the years from 1993 to 2018.  The goal of the research was to answer the following questions: What development policies have featured in the university’s history between 1993 and 2018? What kind of general development was seen in the university during this period? What factors influenced the development paths that were realised?

The university’s development was examined in the study from three key perspectives: organisation, research and teaching; scientific and societal impact; and internationalisation. The study is divided into three main chapters, each of which deals with a distinctive time period in the university’s history between 1993 and 2018:

  • From the depression to the ICT fever (1993–2000)
  • Finland’s number two university and the limits of growth (2000–2009)
  • In the midst of big changes (2010–2018)


Last updated: 18.12.2019