In her opening speech, President of Aalto University Tuula Teeri examined the significance of universities as a source for competence and innovations and as an accelerator of the economy.
– Universities live and change with the times. However, research and education also require long-term strategic vision. Right now, choices are being made that will either keep Finland in the running with regard to international competition or leave us sitting on the sidelines. This is why we have to choose wisely, Teeri emphasises at the opening ceremony held at the Otaniemi campus of Aalto University on 1 September.
Teeri reminds us of our responsibility to look to the future.
– We are responsible for educating the experts that will be building Finland for decades to come. What kind of skills and expertise do they need to create a better society, more effective treatments, new design, technology that makes life easier, or new industrial innovations?
The Otaniemi campus of Aalto University is already an internationally important regional centre of expertise.
– We will continue to work hard to increase the international appeal of our innovation ecosystem and attract new investments to the area.
– Internationality and multiculturalism are integral elements of Aalto University and openness is one of our core values. Finland must be able to provide young people with enough opportunities to ensure that they choose to stay in Finland, or return here to help secure our future. The creativity and richness inherent in different cultures, fields, people and ideas is at the core of this university.
In her speech, President Teeri welcomed the bachelor students of the School of Business to Otaniemi. The students will transfer from Töölö to the newly renovated Undergraduate Centre building at the core of Otaniemi during this autumn.
Prime Minister Sipilä: Work conducted in universities plays a key role for Finland's success
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä also emphasised the role of universities in building Finland's success. He particularly highlighted the significance of digitalisation.
– In the long term, our standard of living will be determined by how valuable the work conducted in this country is and how efficiently we act. In these endeavours, universities and Aalto University in particular have a key role. The development work conducted in universities and research institutions as well as in businesses plays a key role for Finland's success.
– The Government Programme emphasises digitalisation. Digitalisation and its different applications form an extensive research entity in Aalto University. I consider it of utmost importance that the expertise on this field in Aalto University can be utilised by societal decision makers without limitations as the Government furthers its plans on digitalisation, the Prime Minister continued.
Niko Ferm, the President of the Board of the Aalto University Student Union, commented on the funding cuts planned by the Finnish Government.
– The government's actions are forcing universities to consider their core operations and to make tough choices. Universities are being forced to focus instead of continuing with the expansion of past years. Hopefully, these actions will allow us to improve the quality of education programmes across Finland. Aalto has gone through a massive undertaking to take us in the right direction.
President Tuula Teeri appointed Matti Keloharju, a professor of finance at Aalto University School of Business, as Aalto distinguished professor in recognition of his significant scientific merits. At the event, Professor Keloharju gave an Aalto talk on the utilisation of extensive data sets in research. Awards of recognition were also granted to members of university staff and students as a part of the ceremony.
President Tuula Teeri, opening speech (pdf)
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, speech (Prime Minister's Office website)
President of AYY, Niko Ferm, speech (pdf)
Communications Manager Anu Salmi-Savilampi
Aalto University, tel. +358 50 464 4585