Rector Liisa Laakso in the opening ceremony of the new academic year: The Finnish degree structure is too rigid

Submitted on Tue, 09/06/2016 - 13:26

In her address in the opening ceremony of the new academic year at the University of Tampere, Rector Liisa Laakso talked among other things about the goals of the Tampere3 higher education cooperation and the universities’ degree structure. As the result of Tampere3 cooperation, the University of Tampere, Tampere University of Technology and Tampere University of Applied Sciences will merge in 2018.

“The main objectives of the new university are to improve the capacity to conduct high-quality scientific research, to increase research impact, and to promote smooth study paths,” Laakso said.

“The first objective means that we have to combine our joint resources and focus them on research better than before. The strength of the new university is in multidisciplinarity: in contacts between health, technological and social research, and humanities. We will combine all stages of scientific work, from basic research and conceptualisation of societal challenges to applied research, commercialisation and service design.”

In spite of the joint European Bologna process, Laakso says that the degree structure of the Finnish higher education remains rigid.

There is little mobility between institutions and programmes, study times are too long, students frequently drop out and spend gap years studying for entrance exams. The ultimate consequence is that there is less time and resources for research in Finnish higher education institutions than elsewhere in Europe.

“The biggest problem of the Finnish higher education is not the number of universities but their rigid degree structures,” Laakso continued.

The Tampere3 cooperation is a part of the solution.

“Our objective in the Tampere3 project is to overcome the rigid educational structures as much as possible. We have spent time in spring and summer on preparing the joint curricula and cross-institutional study practices. Our shared education acknowledges both joint and specific know-how. The plan is not to mix up fields of study or education that offers professional and scientific competence but to decrease educational overlapping, clarify the division of labour and make room for new combinations.”

For more information, please contact:
Rector Liisa Laakso,, tel. +358 44 318 0861

Minister Antti Tanskanen nominated alumnus of the year

The University of Tampere’s alumnus of the year is Minister Antti Tanskanen whose nomination was published in the opening ceremony of the new academic year on 6 September.

Tanskanen is a man of great influence who has promoted scientific research.

In 1969, Tanskanen graduated Bachelor of Science (Economics) from the University of Tampere where he also earned his doctorate in economics in 1975. He has worked as professor of economics and rector of the University of Jyväskylä, president of the Academy of Finland and CEO of the OP Bank Group. He has also held numerous positions of trust, such as Chair of the Board of the Finland Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the Board of the University of Helsinki. He was conferred the honorary title of Minister in 2002. Tanskanen was invited an honorary doctor of economics by the University of Tampere and an honorary doctor of military science by the National Defence University.

The title of the alumnus or alumna of the year was now conferred for the fifth time to a former student of the University of Tampere who has highlighted the interaction between the University of Tampere, society and the alumni/alumnae and worked to promote the success of Finnish society.

University of Tampere’s alumni network:

Dissertation prizes to Laura Karttunen and Alexandra Mikhailova

The City of Tampere’s Science Foundation’s prize for the best doctoral dissertation was awarded to Doctor of Philosophy Laura Karttunen. The University of Tampere Foundation’s dissertation prize was awarded to Doctor of Philosophy Alexandra Mikhailova.

Karttunen’s dissertation The Hypothetical in Literature: Emotion and Emplotment belongs to the field of comparative literature. The dissertation examines the roles of hypothetical speech and focalisation in literature: why and when does a text mention that something could have been said, seen, done or known. In her research, Karttunen shows that there is a relationship between emotions, textual structure and hypotheticals and she thus creates a basis for an efficient textual analysis method.

Mikhailova’s dissertation belongs to the field of stem cell and tissue technology and is called Tissue Engineering for Ocular Surface Reconstruction: Differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells towards corneal epithelium. Mikhailova developed a new method for treating ocular surface disorders with the help of tissue engineering.

Laura Karttunen’s dissertation:

Alexandra Mikhailova’s dissertation:

For more information, please contact:
Doctor of Philosophy Laura Karttunen,
Doctor of Philosophy Alexandra Mikhailova,

Corrected at 9:40 on 7 September: The University of Tampere Foundation’s dissertation prize was awarded to Laura Karttunen and the City of Tampere’s Science Foundation’s prize was awarded to Alexandra Mikhailova.