Rector Kola: Finland must bravely open up to the world

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Rector Jukka Kola hopes to see more international mobility in Finland. He believes it would boost Finnish competence and ultimately the nation’s competitiveness.

“Not only the universities’ but also Finland’s success hinges on our ability to open ourselves to the world and to function as a multicultural society,” Jukka Kola said at the University of Helsinki opening ceremony.

“Internationality is critical to the success of the University of Helsinki, because we want to contribute to the solutions to global challenges. For this, we need more researchers from other countries. International students and researchers can make a lasting impression on Finland’s future success if we can offer them employment here. We absolutely must focus on the integration of experts,” added Kola.

He pointed out that recruiting top international experts is not an end in itself, nor does foreign citizenship guarantee quality or offer a shortcut to appointments.

“We always aim to locate the greatest talent for each post, whatever the nationality. International recruitment is essential to the University of Helsinki simply because we have too few world-class experts available in Finland. It is important to bear in mind that top research is a key attraction when recruiting leading researchers. That, in turn, calls for money,” Kola reminded politicians.

Kola emphasised the importance of giving our own students and researchers more versatile opportunities to study and work abroad.

Complex tax and social security regulations are one hindrance to researchers’ mobility. Kola expects the Finnish Government to actively promote joint mobility legislation to bring clarity into the social security and taxation of researchers in the EU.

One out of five of the University of Helsinki teaching and research staff, one-third of postdoctoral researchers and seven percent of professors come from outside Finland.

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