Independent Research Promotion and Refugee Scientists' Situation Discussed in Seminar
Erkki Sutinen from the Department of Future Technologies hosted the seminar.

​In co-operation with Turku Business region, the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University organised the seminar Renaissance by Refugee Scientists which examined the situation of refugee scientists from different perspectives.

The seminar discussed how the receiving countries could better include refugee scientists in seeking solutions to communal challenges.

– Everyone knows that we have a crying need for IT employees in Finland and that we need talented people for these positions. In addition, people coming to Finnish universities with different backgrounds provide new views and renew traditional thinking in universities, said Head of Department of Future Technologies of the University of Turku Erkki Sutinen.

In his speech, Dean Tapio Salakoski from the Faculty of Science and Engineering emphasised that including refugee scientists more strongly as a part of the University is a real win-win situation.

– Most of us want to do good. With interdisciplinary co-operation, we can help scientists in difficult situations without having to give up anything and, thus, strengthen the Humboldtian model of higher education, Salakoski noted.

Senior Researcher Marja Tiilikainen from the Migration Institute of Finland outlined the seminar discussion by talking about the numbers of people coming to Finland from abroad, and focused particularly on the position of those who have arrived as refugees in Finland.

Scholars at Risk Supports Scientists in Difficult Situations

The University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University belong to the international Scholars at Risk network whose objective is to protect persecuted scientists and promote the freedom of science and research.

The network supports scientists in different kinds of difficult situations, for example, by inviting them to scientific conferences or as visiting scholars.

– At the same time, the network promotes the development of Finnish higher education, since due to their diverse backgrounds, the arriving scientists are a resource that challenges us. The versatility of the scientists supports the universities’ central mission regarding societal impact as advocates of critical thinking and open discussion. It is also important to take into account the role of different international professionals as advocates of a positive structural change not only in their homelands, but, also, in the area of the higher education institution that has provided support, for example, Southwest Finland, says Sutinen, who is Co-Chair of Scholars at Risk Finland.

More information:

The programme of the seminar can be found at


Published date 6/11/2018 9:45 AM ,  Modified date 6/11/2018 10:05 AM

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