Rector Liisa Laakso: Universities hope for a bigger role as co-operation partners of the government

Submitted on Wed, 09/05/2018 - 13:57

In her opening speech of the academic year 2018–2019, Liisa Laakso, rector of the University of Tampere, said that universities should have a more active role as partners of public administration.

Laakso said that the Finnish government has made a commendable effort to increase co-operation across administrative sectors. The Strategic Research Council is an example of a mode of operation that serves the entire state administration.

“Also other ministries than the Ministry of Education and Culture could hold regular consultations with universities directly or via Unifi, the co-operation organisation of all Finnish universities. Universities should have a better chance of engaging in tasks that would advance achieving also their own goals,” Laakso said.

“For example, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs could use science diplomacy to support Finland’s global policies. Education and research co-operation are far-reaching and guaranteed ways to strengthen Finnish external relations and to build a better world. They are also more cost-effective than crisis management, peacekeeping or humanitarian aid in responding to e.g. disasters caused by the climate change. Science and enlightenment can help prevent crises,” Laakso pointed out.

Laakso spoke in the last opening ceremony of the current University of Tampere and reminded the audience that the University of Tampere, which was established as the Civic College in 1925, has undergone many reforms over the years. If considered from the historical perspective, the University’s merger with Tampere University of Technology and Tampere University of Applied Sciences in 2019 does not seem a huge step. The whole Tampere 3 process was expressly initiated by the University of Tampere five years ago.

“The end-result is going to be what we have consistently pursued: the second largest university in Finland, which offers the most diverse range of degrees in the country” Laakso said.

Rector Liisa Laakso’s speech in full with segments in English:

Jarmo Kekäläinen becomes alumnus of the year

Jarmo Kekäläinen, general manager of hockey operations of the Columbus Blue Jackets ice-hockey team in the United States, was invited as alumnus of the year. Kekäläinen graduated from the University of Tampere in 2000 with a Master of Science in Economics degree in which he majored in marketing. He has had a successful career in sports both internationally and in Finland.

Since 2013, Kekäläinen has worked for Columbus Blue Jackets and is the first European general manager in the National Hockey League NHL.

He played hockey as a forward wing at KalPa and Tampereen Ilves in Finland, Clarkson University team in the United States, Tappara, Ottawa Senators, and Vesterås IK in Sweden. After his active sports career, he worked among other things as director of player personnel at Ottawa Senators and as general manager of IFK Helsinki.

The University of Tampere invited the alumnus/-a of the year for the seventh time.

Best doctoral dissertations awarded

Doctor of Social Sciences Mikko Poutanen and Doctor of Social Sciences Tiina Vaittinen were awarded for the best doctoral dissertations completed in the academic year 2017–2018.

Poutanen received the award from the City of Tampere’s science foundation for his dissertation Business Meets Politics: Intertwined economic and political discursive structures in the case of Nokia in Finland

Vaittinen received the award of the University of Tampere Foundation for her dissertation The Global Biopolitical Economy of Needs: Transnational entanglements between ageing Finland and the global nurse Reserve of the Philippines