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President Keijo Hämäläinen in the opening of new academic year: “The university needs to be an active part of society”

Published on 4.9.2023
Tampere University
Rehtori Hämäläinen etualalla, taustalla näkyy akateemista juhlakulkuetta.
Photograph: Jonne Renvall/Tampere University
Tampere University celebrated the opening of the new academic year on the city centre campus on 4 September. In his speech, President Keijo Hämäläinen emphasised the larger than ever expectations that are placed on the university institution. Hämäläinen thinks the new RDI Act and the related funding are significant.

“Never before in my 40-year career have so many expectations been placed on the university institution,” Keijo Hämäläinen said in his opening speech.

According to Hämäläinen, the expectations include raising the educational level of the population and that universities support the renewal of society based on research.   

“We are now in a crucial role, and we cannot afford to fail. From us as a community, this requires that we have the courage to look at our ways of working with new eyes and to engage more actively with society.  Not only as a producer of information, but as a more active player,” he said.   

Hämäläinen considers the RDI Act and its financial investments decreed in a parliamentary understanding as exceptional achievements in the political decision-making culture. 

“We have solid scientific expertise at universities, and funding now enables us to transfer it into the knowledge and well-being of society. In many fields, our research spearheads excellently meet competence needs. Properly targeted RDI funding can enable close-knit knowledge hubs that support both top-level research and knowledge transfer to meet society’s needs,” Hämäläinen said. 

President Hämäläinen calls for vigilance from both university staff and business and public sector stakeholders to seize the opportunities open-mindedly. 

“We in the Tampere region have excellent starting points for this,” Hämäläinen noted.   

Chair of the Board of TREY Student Union, Anniina Honkasaari, emphasised the burning debate on racism and equality.

“We must not give racism a place at Tampere University, and we must actively develop our anti-racism measures” she said.

The opening address was given by Minister of Local and Regional Government Anna-Kaisa Ikonen.

At the ceremony, Tampere University’s Alumna of 2023 nomination was announced. She is Salla Eckhardt, an architect and an influencer in the construction field.

On the opening day, several awards are presented to members of the university community. The University unveiled the recipient of the Social Impact Award and the Student Union TREY rewarded good teachers. The best doctoral dissertations and impactful publishers were also honoured.

Watch the opening ceremony and awards ceremony

Programme of the awards ceremony

Rehtori johtaa kulkuetta avajaisiin.
An academic procession led by President Keijo Hämäläinen walks to the Opening Ceremony. (Photograph: Jonne Renvall/Tampere University).