PhD Mari Walls appointed as President of the new Tampere University

Submitted on Mon, 04/23/2018 - 14:59

Mari Walls/ Kuva: Emilia Kangasluoma

PhD Mari Walls, currently President and CEO of LUKE Natural Resources Institute Finland, has been appointed as the President of the new Tampere University, to be launched on 1 January 2019.

The establishment of the new higher education community in Tampere is currently the most significant undertaking to reshape the higher education landscape in Finland. The President leads the process of building a novel and internationally competitive higher education community, promotes cross-disciplinary collaboration between the priority areas for research, supports the development of flexible study paths between the university and the university of applied sciences, and creates a diverse network to support education, research, societal impact and fund-raising.

Professor, PhD Mari Walls is the first President and CEO of LUKE Natural Resources Institute Finland, the second-largest research institute in the country. Established on 1 January 2015, LUKE was formed through a merger of three research institutes (MTT Agrifood Research Finland, the Finnish Forest Research Institute Metla, the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute RKTL) and the statistical services of the Information Centre (Tike) administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

After receiving her PhD from the University of Turku in 1989 (dissertation on ecological interactions), Walls went on to pursue post-doctoral research at the University of Cornell in the USA. Before joining LUKE, Walls worked as the Director of the Marine Research Centre of the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, as Professor of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences in the University of Turku, and as Programme Director in the Academy of Finland. She occupies several positions of trust and sits, among others, on the Board of the University of Oulu and on the Supervisory Board of the Finnish Cultural Foundation. She has previously served, among others, on the Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences and Environment and the Steering Group of the 2016 review of the state of scientific research in Finland.

Last year, Mari Walls served on the four-member Panel for Helsinki University Change Review headed by Professor Emerita Sue Scott. She has participated in reviewing the public research system in Portugal, forest research in Canada, and the activities of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Swedish Research Council for sustainable development FORMAS. She has also served on the Advisory Group of the EU Framework Programme for Research.  

Walls takes up her new appointment on 13 August 2018. Up until the launch of the new university, she will serve as the CEO of Tampere University Foundation.

“Tampere is the scene of an important reform that will resonate across Finland and Europe. For me, this is a fascinating opportunity to contribute to the development of the new multidisciplinary and internationally competitive higher education community. My goal is to build a culture of collaborative development,” says Walls and adds that she is delighted to return to the city where she spent her childhood and youth.    

“Professor Walls has had significant impact on the development of multidisciplinary research and researcher training as well as national and international collaboration that cuts across disciplinary boundaries. Her previous experience of the successful merger between three research institutes to create LUKE is extremely valuable to the success of the new Tampere University and our higher education community,” says Chair of Tampere University’s Transitional Board, Professor Marja Makarow.   


Chair of the Transitional Board of the new Tampere University Marja Makarow, tel. +358 40 849 0505 (Head of Development Katja Ayres)

President and CEO of LUKE Natural Resources Institute Finland Mari Walls,, tel. +358 29 532 6010