A society that does not recognize the importance of science and research cannot succeed


At its first meeting, held in December, the University of Helsinki Governing Board elected Niklas Bruun, LLD, as its chair. Bruun is Emeritus Professor of Commercial Law at the Hanken School of Economics. Among other positions, he was Professor of Private Law in Swedish at the University of Helsinki and President of the Finnish Government-appointed National Tribunal for Non-Discrimination and Equality.

Bruun believes that the Council, whose term begins in January 2022, has three important tasks to accomplish.

“Safeguarding the preconditions for research and teaching as well as the stability of the University’s finances is an essential task. The government is providing € 67 million of capital to Finnish universities in the form of a one-time grant from the Finnish Sitra Innovation Fund. The current government matching funding program runs until the end of June 2022. The Board of Trustees wishes to support this effort to encourage stakeholders and friends of the University to make further donations in the last. campaign straight, ”Bruun said.

As a second topical task for the council, Bruun refers to advancing the debate on science and education policy within the university community, in cooperation with the University College as well as with the Rector and Vice-Rectors.

The third main task is the management of the still ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the associated follow-up.

“The pandemic has had a great impact on education and students: new two-year academic students have been forced to find themselves in a difficult position due to the circumstances brought on by the pandemic. According to an estimate by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, a third of all students suffer from depression or anxiety. The well-being of students affects the functioning of the University globally, and it must be supported, ”said Bruun.

Scientific advice and collaboration with other universities

Bruun also underlines the role of scientific advice, noting that this will be one of the issues to be highlighted during the new term of the board. The Finnish Initiative for Scientific Advice (Sofi) serves as the basis for this initiative, carried out in collaboration by the four Finnish Academies of Science and Letters.

“Looking at the current situation in the world, you can rightly say that a society that does not recognize the importance of science and research cannot be successful. However, understanding this at university is not enough. Decision-makers and the general public must also have access to research knowledge.

According to Bruun, the University of Helsinki plays an important role in promoting the status of science and research as the largest, most diverse and internationally recognized research university in Finland. At the same time, he also mentions the importance of equal collaboration with smaller units.

“The University of Helsinki operates in Finland from Hanko to Kilpisjärvi, in addition to which it actively collaborates with other universities and partners. We want to be a fair and equal partner.

Finally, Bruun sends his greetings to the college community.

“The Council is there for the community! We strive to have a positive interaction with the community. Hopefully we can initiate visits to the campuses and faculties of the University as soon as the pandemic situation allows, ”he said.

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