University Board of the University of Turku Decided on Savings and Acquisition of Additional Income
In its meeting on 14 February, the University Board of the University of Turku decided on the University’s savings targets and on acquiring at least 7 million in additional income by 2028. The City of Rauma and the University of Turku are preparing a co-operation agreement regarding the Rauma campus. The Independent Unit Brahea Centre that produces development and educational services will be discontinued. Further assessments regarding the research station at Seili will continue. A facility programme will be initiated at the University and it aims at the reduction of facilities and their more effective use.
In its meeting on 28 October 2022, the University Board of the University of Turku decided on launching a long-term Financial Balancing Programme. The Board authorised Rector Jukka Kola to launch preparations for finding ways to correct the funding deficit of around €1.5–2 million during 2023 and, by 2028, a deficit of around €15 million in the basic missions. The deficit can be covered by both increasing the income and decreasing expenses.
The change negotiations started at the University between the employer representatives and Chief Union Representatives on 17 November 2022. The last change negotiation meeting was held on 10 February 2023.
In its meeting on 14 February 2023, the University Board decided on measures that will advance the University’s Financial Balancing Programme.
The Board highlighted that at least €7 million of the funding deficit will be covered with additional income by 2028. The additional income will be acquired, for example, by improving performance in the core funding model of the Ministry of Education and Culture as well as in competitive international research funding. The University Board requires that the University management and units take proactive measures for acquiring additional income.
“For its part, the Board assessed that the decided measures are appropriate at this point. Now, the University moves forward and continues its operations – hopefully, with a stronger financial base. The Board assessed that the made decisions will balance the University’s finances by €12–13 million. It’s important to reinstate a peaceful work environment at the University. For the research station at Seili, we are looking for a solution that secures the continuation of the operations at Seili. The University Board is pleased with the agreement that is being prepared with the City of Rauma and has authorised the Rector to proceed with the plan,” says Chair of the Board Ritva Viljanen.
“We have found a balanced solution for covering the extensive funding deficit and it consists of acquiring additional income, a facility programme, and other savings. The extent of the required savings is such that all units have to take proactive measures. Unfortunately, we could not completely avoid redundancies at this stage. The University offers versatile support services for change situations and will provide retirement packages and transition security solutions for the personnel who are laid off,” says Rector Jukka Kola.
The University Board decided that at this point, personnel will be reduced mostly without redundancies using only retirements and terminating fixed-term employment relationships. Due to the discontinuation of the Brahea Centre and guest house Villa Hortus, the possible redundancies concern approximately 45 people. The final decision on the redundancies will be verified after relocations have been reviewed. In addition, approximately 70 positions will possibly be reduced through retirement and termination of fixed-term relationships by the end of 2030. The possible reduction of personnel is based on the savings measures suggested by the faculties and units and handled in the change negotiations. In addition, changes in work duties or in the unit of employment can be carried out.
The University Board decided to initiate a facility programme that aims at reducing the square metres of the University’s facilities by at least 10 percent. The purpose of the facility programme is to control the increase of rental costs and to reduce facility costs by €4 million in 2028 at the latest. The facility programme also reviews the effective and energy efficient use of the facilities.
City of Rauma and University of Turku Prepare a Co-operation Agreement Regarding Rauma Campus
The University Board approved the principles of the co-operation agreement with the City of Rauma regarding the Rauma campus and authorised the Rector to negotiate and sign the agreement with the City of Rauma. The agreement aims to strengthen mutual collaboration and partnership in education and research. According to the agreement draft, the City of Rauma will support the operation and development of the Rauma campus with €1.25 million in annual funding.
The final decision on the involvement of the City of Rauma is made by the City Council of Rauma.
If the agreement comes into force, there is no need to carry out the planned actions on discontinuing the degree programme in Technology Education and transferring Class Teacher Education to Turku. The operation of the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) centre Rauman pikkunorssi can also be transferred to the City of Rauma with a separate agreement.
Brahea Centre Will Be Discontinued
The University Board decided to discontinue the operations of the Brahea Centre. The Brahea Centre is an independent unit that produces development and training services and the University’s obligations in its ongoing projects will be ensured. After the Brahea Centre is discontinued, the project funding will be realised through the faculties when necessary.
The self-financed share and other costs of Brahea’s project funding amount to approximately €1.2 million of the University’s annual core funding. The supplementary funding acquired by the Brahea Centre is not taken into consideration in the Ministry’s core funding model as it mostly concerns educational or development projects.
Board Decided on Subjects
The Board decided that the Degree Programme in Italian and the Degree Programme in Classical Languages and Culture shall continue. The number of graduates from the degree programmes has been small over the last few years and the departments do not have supplementary funding. The Board requires that the degree programmes develop their operations, increase the number of graduates, and expand their supplementary funding and publications.
The minor subject in Russian will be discontinued. Student intake in the Departments of French and German will be reduced. The grounds for discontinuing the minor subject and reducing student intake include weak demand and a small number of graduates. The Board decided that the minor subject in Hungarian shall continue.
In addition, the University Board decided to merge the Departments of European Ethnology and Folkloristics.
Facility Requirements of Research Stations Will Be Reviewed
The facilities required for conducting research at the University’s research stations at Seili and Kevo will be reviewed critically to discontinue the use of unnecessary facilities. The operations on the research stations will be centred on research and the units are required to actively seek collaboration opportunities with other operators and research stations.
For the facilities at Seili, the University has a valid lease until the end of 2027. The Board views that closer assessments have to be made on the use of the Seili island and the research station as well as on the collaboration opportunities and external funding possibilities by the end of 2024. The view of University Board and the University has been from the start that the longitudinal studies and maritime research continue without interruption.
In addition, the Board decided to discontinue the operations of the Namibian campus on 1 October 2024 at the latest. The operation of the guest house Villa Hortus on the Turku campus will be discontinued and the lease will be terminated. The operations of the administrative and support services will be enhanced. The University initiates negotiations with Certia Oy on outsourcing or transfer of business concerning invoices and travel costs.
The units continue the planning and implementation of the savings targets in the Financial Balancing Programme. The University Board requires regular quarterly reports on the implementation of the decided and planned measures and the units’ financial situation in relation to these plans.
Updated on 14 Feb 2023 at 21.41: Removed the date of the City Council meeting.