The purpose of the visit was to maintain and strengthen the visibility and cooperation of the Turku Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences with relevant EU actors in Brussels. Furthermore, the goal was to ensure that the voices of the higher education institutions are being heard in the decision-making processes and that necessary support from the EU is received in the future.
During the two-day visit, the rectors, vice-rectors for research, and directors of research affairs met with heads of units for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), Climate Action (DG CLIMA), and the Internal Market (DG GROW) of the European Commission, Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen's cabinet, members of the European Parliament, as well as the heads of Finland's EU and NATO representations.
“The rectors and vice-rectors discussed the key EU funding programs, especially Horizon Europe and its future priorities, as well as the role of research and development in the EU's objectives and future initiatives in the digital green transition, strategic autonomy and security. We also heard about the impacts of the war in Ukraine and the new opportunities for research and development cooperation in Finland's NATO membership,” explains Anniina Jaako, the Head of EU Affairs.
The EU Encourages Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences to Participate in EU Initiatives
During the visit, the rectors and vice-rectors presented the excellence and multidisciplinary expertise of Turku Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences. Key EU actors were also informed on the universities’ deepening cooperation in EU activities and goals is areas such as securing EU funding. The visitors learned about the EU's immediate future-oriented development and research needs related to strengthening resilience, recycling raw materials, energy independence, new satellite data, smart buildings and promoting health and wellbeing. The representatives of the higher education institutions also visited the Commission's Joint Research Center (JRC) to hear about commission own research activities, cooperation and project opportunities.
The EU encourages Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences to participate in various EU initiatives to find new solutions and promote international cooperation. During the visit, representatives of the higher education institutions signed the Charter for the Horizon Europe Mission to Restore Our Ocean and Water to demonstrate their support for policies and initiatives related to the mission.
“Demonstrating support strengthens the cooperation, exchange of experiences and networking in marine protection, as well as access to commission certain services and tools that the mission will introduce. The mission also opens project funding opportunities which we encourage our reseachers to seize,” says Jaako.
In the discussions, the EU also sent a strong message to strengthen the EU's skills base in critical areas that support the EU's climate and energy goals and the transition to climate neutrality while improving the competitiveness of the EU's industry and creating high-quality jobs. Another concern, which also requires national efforts, is related to the low number of Finns applying for EU positions and traineeships.
Turku Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences aim to strengthen the region’s cooperation in EU matters through advocating visits also in the future.
Find out more: EU advocacy alignments