The Strategy of the University of Turku is based on the University’s basic missions in research, education, and societal interaction as well as on how we wish to impact our changing world.
The University of Turku is an internationally active and attractive research university whose strength lies in high-quality, multidisciplinary research. We promote education and free science and provide higher education based on research. We collaborate closely with Finnish society and actively participate in the development of the region.
We are a high quality, internationally recognised research university. We proactively foster both well-being and a sustainable future.
creativity, openness, ethical principles, critical thinking, strong community
Dear reader of the Strategy of the University of Turku for 2021–2030, this document is based on the University’s basic missions in research, education, and societal interaction as well as on how we wish to impact our changing world.
The Strategy is a joint effort of our entire University community and it was created in an open process during 2019. With the goals defined together, we dynamically and responsibly build social well-being and a sustainable future in the new decade.
Social changes and global megatrends, such as climate change, digitalisation, and ageing population, challenge us as we carry global responsibility. Universities are expected to have increasing scientific and societal impact, so we have to be able to renew our activities and be an international trailblazer. In a world built on connections, the significance of strategic partnerships and collaboration is increasingly important.
The University’s role in producing information and competence as well as in upholding creative and critical thinking and learning is highlighted amid changes. We want to strengthen the trust in science and increase the impact of research on society through open science, among other things. The University has to be ambitious in using research to discover solutions to the great challenges of our time. The experts we have trained to different sectors of society are in a key position to carry out the necessary changes. In order to respond to the needs of the modern professional life, we offer flexible training solutions and opportunities for lifelong learning.
In reaching our goals, our strength lies in wide-ranging multidisciplinary actions as well as in excellence and impact. Our ability to join our forces enables activities across disciplines and new initiatives both in research and education. We create an environment that promotes success together with the surrounding society and regional business life, of which the expansion of our engineering education is a great example.
All this is made possible by our active University community that values well-being as well as by strong internal collaboration and well-functioning everyday life at our campuses.
The University of Turku was founded in 1920 with donations from the Finnish people. Today, our 100-year-old University operates in a unique environment that fosters long academic traditions and active collaboration between higher education institutions. The University of Turku has a firm standing and a strong foundation on which we can build a modern, even more international research university with increasing impact. You are warmly welcome to join us on our journey.
In Turku, on 13 December 2019
Rector Jukka Kola
We inspire unique learning experiences and outstanding learning outcomes
1 The learning experience at the University of Turku is the best in Finland.
2 The University of Turku is a pioneer in lifelong learning.
We educate future experts who will solve complex scientific questions and social issues and build a sustainable world. The education we provide encourages students towards independent critical thinking and achieving comprehensive learning goals. Our graduates have excellent collaboration skills, the ability to create work for themselves and others, and expertise that can be applied to different sectors of society. We offer attractive and broad-ranging opportunities for the continuous development of expertise.
The best learning experience in Finland and our outstanding learning outcomes are the result of high-quality teaching based on research, guidance that supports learning, and an inspiring learning environment. We also engage our students in research.
Our students build individual degrees by selecting the most inspiring study modules from multidisciplinary study tracks. We continuously develop pedagogical and digital solutions in teaching and studying. By strengthening career counselling and our connections to professional life we support students’ work placement. We also support young people’s choices with upper secondary school collaboration.
Our University community is open, equal, and multicultural, and we support students with different backgrounds. Our strength lies in close collaboration between students and staff. The Study in Turku network and its six higher education institutions form a unique study environment.
The University offers flexible opportunities for lifelong learning and supplementing expertise at different points of career development. We anticipate and meet the changing needs of society by exploring new methods and collaborative models.
We cultivate an engaging and exceptional research environment
1 The University of Turku has a strong and distinct multidisciplinary research profile.
2 We have an internationally competitive research environment for top experts and early career researchers.
The research conducted at the University of Turku is ethical and scientifically excellent. Our research has significant impact and meets future global challenges. Close national and international research collaboration strengthens the University’s position among the leading research universities in the world.
The University’s strong and long-standing basic research in different fields creates the basis for the cross-disciplinary initiatives that profile our multidisciplinary research. Our exceptional research profiles enable unique projects, for example, in sustainable development, biodiversity, marine and maritime environment, health and welfare state, and in digitalisation and future technologies.
Our high-quality research environments are engaging. We offer our researchers outstanding equipment and materials, the latest technologies, and expert support services. We inspire our talented students to engage in research. At our University, early career researchers reach their potential and receive the support they need to succeed in their career. The University of Turku is an attractive work environment also for international top researchers.
We are pioneers in open science and promote citizen science. The research we produce is visible in the public debate and employed in decision-making. Our research results are innovatively applied to problem solving and development in different fields.
We are a proactive and dynamic partner
1 We are a respected and responsible social contributor.
2 Strong regional partnerships make the University’s operational environment unique and internationally attractive.
The University of Turku carries global responsibility and is a proactive partner in development. Excellent research and education create the basis for our increasing impact. We train experts with a capacity for change, who build a sustainable future in different sectors of society.
The University of Turku is an open and proactive social contributor. Our research is employed in decision-making. Our researchers highlight scientific information and its significance, introduce perspectives to the public debate, and emphasise matters requiring research. We are a responsible advocate of science and a pioneer in research advisory activities.
We value close collaboration in regional, national and international networks. We engage in long-term and goal-oriented partnerships. Strategic collaboration strengthens our societal impact. As an Entrepreneurial University, we collaborate with business life to create opportunities for new innovations and their commercialisation as well as business development. We increase regional well-being and development through our three campuses on the western coast of Finland.
The University of Turku has an excellent international reputation and standing as a global education provider. We realise transnational education in a responsible manner and produce additional value.
We are an active expert community
1 Our inclusive and equal community is committed to common values and goals.
2 We are a forerunner in the staff and students’ digital competence and expertise.
Our staff and students are proud to work and study at the University of Turku and of the goals we achieve together. We are an equal and diverse University community with a strong set of values. We follow the principles of sustainable development.
The well-being of our University community is the basis of our success. Well-being is reflected in motivation, seamless collaboration, and good results.
Well-being is our mutual concern and everyone’s role in a supportive and active community is equally important. We ensure the well-functioning of everyday life for our international University community and the well-being of individuals and work communities with extensive and accessible services.
At the University of Turku, leadership and management are based on knowledge and open interaction. We regard leadership as a service: high-quality management encourages the community and individuals to give their best performance.
The University is a learning organisation where everyone can keep up their skills and develop as experts. Work at the University is meaningful, and we offer interesting career paths.
Our services and campuses are developed sustainably and with foresight. The digital working environment and culture at the University of Turku are modern and user-oriented.
Strategic research and education profiles
The strategic profiles implement and advance multidisciplinary research and education between faculties. The profiles strengthen internal collaboration and create platforms for networks, business collaboration, innovations and strategic partnerships. The work conducted within the profiles advances sustainable development, decision-making based on researched information, application of expertise, and other societal impact of research. In several of the strategic profiles, we collaborate closely with our important higher education partners – Åbo Akademi University and Turku University of Applied Sciences.
Biodiversity and sustainability
Stopping climate change and biodiversity crisis as well as securing sustainable food production are humanity’s greatest challenges and crucial for not exceeding the boundaries of the Earth system. With research and research-based education on bioenergy, biodiversity, climate change, food, and circular economy, we can create prerequisites for a sustainable future and innovations.
Future technologies and digital society
Digitalisation and new technologies and materials change our world every day, challenging the way we think and act. The profile’s scope extends all the way from small components to astronomical phenomena. Artificial intelligence makes it possible to use different amounts of data more extensively and efficiently. Our new initiatives in engineering education complete the multidisciplinary profile. We also need wider ethical, moral and societal discussions amidst change.
Cultural memory and social change
Ageing population and human migration challenge the foundations of society. Communities, groups, and minorities have their own cultural memories, and understanding them forms the starting point for cultural sustainability and well-being. We conduct critical, multidisciplinary research on memory and its social connections. Cultural memory refers to the collective practices that societies use to build and uphold their relationship to the past, living in the present, and preparing for the future. As society changes, the objects and practices of remembering change; on the other hand, new practices of memory create conditions for social change and political debate.
Children, young people and learning
Our research on the well-being and learning of children and young people, and on preventing marginalisation is internationally recognised. The flagship programme INVEST and other multidisciplinary research ecosystems produce scientific knowledge on promoting children and young people’s well-being, reducing social inequality, reforming the welfare state, and ensuring expertise needed in the future. The extensive datasets on the physical and mental health of children and young people provide a strong basis for multidisciplinary research.
Health, diagnostics and drug development
There is a strong expertise cluster in health research in the Turku region where scientific research, public healthcare, and versatile business life meet. Drug development and diagnostics are at the heart of the collaboration. In many areas of biomedical imaging, Turku is the leading centre in Europe. The cohort studies of the University of Turku form an international spearhead in population health studies spanning several generations. The top-level strategic research profile creates medical and technological breakthroughs that advance population health.
Sea and maritime studies
The sea and maritime studies profile involves research and education on marine, coastal and river environments as well as on the culture, communities, and livelihood in these areas. The close collaboration between the higher education institutions in the region is also connected to more extensive national and international networks. In seafaring, economic efficiency, the climate change and the requirements of sustainable development have an impact on ships, harbours, and international relations and legislation in the Baltic Sea and Arctic regions. The knowledge produced in the basic research concerning the dynamics and changes in the environment, economy, and human societies is applied to the faculties’ teaching and sustainable development goals.