Kaija Holli, Rector of the University of Tampere, assessed the hardships that the deteriorating economy causes to universities.
According to Holli, universities are quite content with the renewed funding model from this past spring.
– The model is transparent and it has a clear earnings principle. Universities will no longer get funding on the basis of promises or intentions but on true and tested activities, Rector Holli said.
Holli reminded the audience that the weakening state economy and the cutbacks in teaching and research have a bigger impact on universities. In addition to freezing up the university index, the reductions in the research funding by the Academy of Finland and the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation will be sorely felt in universities.
– The university index, which was supposed to guarantee the operational ability of higher education institutions even in hard times, has already been halved for this year and it will be frozen up completely for 2013. This will inevitably lead to difficulties for universities and in many universities lay-offs cannot be avoided.
According to Holli, the University of Tampere will fare much better than many others because of its renewed strategy.
– It seems that the overhaul of the university structures and activities has been successful to the extent that we will avoid having bigger problems in the near future.
– Our open-minded and determined strategy proves to be more apt day by day.
However, Rector Holli cautioned that there is a limit to how many savings and cutbacks can be made internally in the university. She outlined a wish to the decision-makers:
– Education and research activities happen long term and securing them becomes even more important in times of recession. They should not be weakened according to fluctuating economic situations.
Kaija Holli also emphasised the importance of the alumni network for the university.
– Alumni can not only be a material resource to universities but above all they are a mental resource as well. In our own university this means that we have a network of over 30,000 spokespersons all over the world.
The prizes of the University of Tampere Foundation and the City of Tampere Science Fund for the best doctoral dissertations of the year were also given in the opening ceremony. Both prizes were 5,000 euro.
The University of Tampere Foundation prize was given to Tom Saariaho, MD, for his dissertation in Social Psychiatry: Chronic pain, depressiveness and pain disability - The role of Early Maladaptive Schemas among Finnish pain patients and a control sample.
The dissertation can be found at:
The City of Tampere Science Fund prize was given to Christian Brzinky-Fay, PhD in Social Sciences, for his dissertation in Social Policy: School-to-Work Transitions in International Comparison.
The dissertation can be found at
More information on the Opening Ceremony:
The speech by Rector Kaija Holli can be read in full in Finnish at the website of the University of Tampere http://www.uta.fi/hallinto/rehtori/puheita.html