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Int’l funding key to quality education: Kola

Published : 20 Mar 2018, 01:21

Updated : 20 Mar 2018, 12:27

  DF Report

Helsinki University Rector Jukka Kola. Photo Helsinki University by Linda Tammisto.

University of Helsinki Rector Jukka Kola said acquiring international funding is a key factor for improving the quality of Finnish research and education as well as increasing the societal wellbeing, according to a press release issued on Monday.

“The need for international funding for developing the quality of research and teaching at the Finnish universities is increasing. Today, the education and research conducted at the universities are primarily funded with national resources,” said Kola in a column run by a Finnish language daily Helsingin Sanomat.

The Vision 2030 project of the Ministry of Education and Culture identifies the need for more experts as well as higher education, research and innovation activities of a high standard to meet the future demands. According to the vision, the Finnish higher education sector must be developed into an increasingly competitive active partner in acquisition of research funding and recruitment on the international level. The project aims at raising the share of domestic public and private contributions to research and development activities to four per cent of the GDP by 2030.

However, there are limits to Finnish resources and funders, said Kola. They alone will not suffice for developing the quality and impact of research, as well as the global success of Finnish universities. Furthermore, Finnish funding is not allocated in sufficient quantities to many internationally significant research areas.

Kola also said that the funding awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) to the universities is playing a significant role in international research. The University of Helsinki has acquired ERC funding for more than 60 projects. Altogether, these projects have raised mmore than 100 million euro in funding, enabling top research in a multitude of scientific fields.

“Research cooperation between the scientific disciplines, as well as increasingly close relations between the research community, the society and politicians are necessary for solving both global and local challenges. Applying for international funding is central to this work, making it the duty of all Finnish universities and research institutions,” said the rector.