1 October 2011
Finland pioneers an international university center
The University of Eastern Finland will open its doors to international operators as it starts carrying through a plan for an international university center that has been on its drawing board.
Professor Liisa Tahvanainen, University of Eastern Finland, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, TERI, and Rector Perttu Vartiainen, University of Eastern Finland. Photo: Varpu Heiskanen/Koli Forum
The first entrant to the new university center is a branch office of an Indian energy and research center TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) that is headed by Dr Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, who is also the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The office will be established either in this year or the next one. The matter was agreed upon recently in negotiations connected with the Koli Forum in September.
In addition to TERI, it is hoped that current negotiations with the Chinese, for example, would lead to the joining of the next participant to the university center.
"Usually, to become more international, universities set out themselves abroad. We decided to do it differently and, instead, persuade international universities and research institutes to come here," explains Professor Paavo Pelkonen from the University of Eastern Finland.
"On one hand, it makes it easy and fruitful to create and work on new ideas with people originating from different parts of the world, on the other, this gives them a chance to show their own expertise in Finland."
In an environment accommodating several international bodies, new ideas and cooperation will make it easier to create new activities, as the effort required in finding funding for them is less when acting together.
"The success of universities in the future depends on their capability to internationalize and achieve results with cooperation that is as seamless as possible. Also, getting funding for good research projects is easier to achieve when the activities have a sufficiently large base," says Perttu Vartiainen, the rector of the University of Eastern Finland.
The time that elapsed from the idea to the signing of the first agreement of the international university center was two years. TERI became convinced about Finnish expert knowledge some years ago when the university visited India to give lectures there.
Finnish scientists, together with the TERI University, gained a victory in the foreign module of a tough international competition on training forestry officers. The other university selected to carry out the training was the Yale University.
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