Rector Jukka Kola in His Opening Day Speech: Trust in Science Should Not Waver


The Opening Ceremony of the academic year 2021–2022 was exceptionally filmed beforehand and streamed as a recording. The Opening Ceremony video includes Rector Jukka Kola’s opening speech and the announcements of the recipients of commemorative medals and winners of the dissertation awards of Turku Finnish University Society.

In his opening speech, Rector Jukka Kola highlighted the universities’ role in maintaining and increasing well-being.

– Knowledge based on scientific research is needed now more than ever, which has also been demonstrated by the pandemic. Universities’ role in producing information and competence as well as in upholding creative and critical thinking and learning is highlighted amid changes.  

Kola also said that the competitiveness that is crucial for Finland's well-being is based on expertise, research, and innovations.

– However, we have clearly fallen behind in research and development investments when compared with other Nordic countries, for instance. At the University, this is evident in our everyday activities.

Kola highlighted that without proper research funding, there cannot be strong RDI activities.

– It is a viscous circle that inevitably undermines the quality of research and through this its impact. In addition, top researchers, students, and research-intensive companies gravitate towards first-rate research groups, best research infrastructures, and excellent prerequisites for conducting research. This applies to both Finland as a country and us as a university. We need resources so that we can constantly develop as an internationally interesting partner and an inviting place to conduct research.

– We also need the ability to keep our best experts. In this, the regional collaboration, for example, with the City of Turku, other higher education institutions, employers, and business life is extremely important. I also wish to highlight the importance of mobility in this context. That is, we must not forget how important it is that the members of university communities and society venture abroad to create new networks and have an impact on how attractive Finland and Turku as well as the Finnish universities and the University of Turku are seen.

Kola ended his speech by reminding how the University of Turku has many great things to offer.

– Inspiration, broad-mindedness, top expertise, a strong university community, and close regional collaboration – we can be proud and happy of what we are capable of. Let’s show our strengths to the world. I wish you all an exciting and inspiring new academic year!

Read the blog post based on the opening day speech:

Recipients of Commemorative Medals and Dissertation Awards Announced in Opening Ceremony

The recipients of the commemorative medals were also announced in the opening celebration video. The medals are granted as a recognition for long-term and distinguished accomplishments in education and research:

  • Professor Hannu Aro, orthopaedics and traumatology            
  • Professor Kurt Gloos, experimental physics            
  • Professor Eija Könönen, parodontology                
  • Professor Risto Roine, neurology                
  • Professor Matti Räsänen, quaternary geology                
  • Professor Olof Solin, radio chemistry                
  • Professor Marja Vauras, education                

The Turku Finnish University Society gave awards to three distinguished dissertations approved at the University of Turku during the previous academic year. Awarded dissertations:

  • PhD Jori Merikoski: ”Approximations to Landau’s problems on prime numbers”, Faculty of Science, mathematics
  • LLD Mirka Kuisma: ”Confronting Realities with the Legal Rule: On Why and How the European Court of Justice Changes its Mind”, Faculty of Law, jurisprudence
  • PsyD Oskari Lahtinen: “The effects of mindfulness and self-compassion on the well-being of upper secondary education students”, Faculty of Social Science, psychology

Watch the Opening Ceremony video

Created 08.09.2021 | Updated 08.09.2021