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Juniversity receives Societal Impact Award

Published on 4.9.2023
Tampere University
Science education increases national science capital by offering an early opportunity for children and young people to become interested in and learn about science, scientific knowledge, and information literacy. Photo: Eino Ansio.
Tampere University has granted the Societal Impact Award 2023 to Juniversity – its university for children and young people – for significant and continued work in the field of science education. Juniversity, which reaches thousands of children and young people annually, has been able to develop equal and accessible ways to increase pupils’ knowledge about science and teachers’ expertise. The award was now granted for the fifth time.

Senior Specialist Laura Salkonen, who received the award and is responsible for Juniversity’s activities, is happy for this recognition of science education and outreach. According to Salkonen, Juniversity’s recipe for success consists of concerted operations, a bold and open vision and agile development in changing times.

“In addition to the core team, thanks are due to all the people who carry out our activities and support them. Students, teachers, researchers, other staff members, everyone who has contributed to our common goal,” Salkonen says.

Tampere University’s Societal Interaction Council chose to award Juniversity from among 26 proposals. According to Chair of the Council, Dean Antti Lönnqvist, the choice highlights Juniversity’s capacity for renewal, the development of new concepts, strong stakeholder relations and the scope of its operations.

“Juniversity contributes significantly and visibly to the appeal of higher education while striving to develop the future opportunities and well-being of children and young people. After downsizing the operations and the pandemic, Juniversity had to reinvent itself. It has developed several successful service concepts that offer different approaches to science education and teacher support,” adds Staff Scientist Kati Valtonen, member of the Council.

Multidisciplinary science education by the entire community

The purpose of Juniversity is to inspire an interest in science, scientific phenomena, different disciplines and higher education in children and young people.

The daily activities consist of coordinating group visits to the campus and experts’ and students’ visits to schools and supporting teachers in science education. Juniversity also arranges various events and communicates about its activities via several channels.

In the current period, Juniversity specially wants to highlight the work conducted at the faculties. With its seven faculties, Tampere University is one of the most multidisciplinary universities in Finland. 

“We offer support and a platform for faculty staff to carry out science education and co-operation with upper secondary education and offer the help of ready-made operating concepts and services. This is how we are building a joint Juniversity for the entire university,” Salkonen says.

Juniversity operates on all three campuses of the University, but hands-on learning mainly takes place in a science class on the Hervanta campus. Juniversity also co-operates closely with, for example, the Yrityskylä learning hub, which is located in the Finlayson area in Tampere.

Highlighting Tampere Universities’ successes and influence

Apart from research and education, societal impact is the third main tasks of universities in Finland.

With the Societal Impact Award, Tampere University highlights the significance of societal interaction and impact in the universities community and awards its members for successes. The award brings exemplary and successful societal interaction practices into public debate also outside the community.

In 2022, the Societal Impact Award was granted to Professor of Immunology Mika Rämet. In 2021, the recipient was the Aerosol Physics Laboratory preceded by professor of gerontology Marja Jylhä in 2020 and the Dwellers in Agile Cities research consortium in 2019.

The award is granted by the Societal Interaction Council which includes representatives from all Tampere University’s faculties and levels of organisation, and Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The award is funded by the University of Tampere Foundation and the Industrial Research Fund at Tampere University of Technology. The Foundations award grants and scholarships for research and teaching at Tampere University and support the University’s activities.

Further information

Laura Salkonen
+358 50 447 9335
laura.salkonen [at]

Antti Lönnqvist
+358 40 544 6288
antti.lonnqvist [at]