New Tampere University is autonomous and strong in the face of global challenges
Chair of the Board of TTY Foundation Tero Ojanperä
The new Tampere University will begin its operations on 1 January 2019 and thereby bring together TUT, the University of Tampere and Tampere University of Applied Sciences into a strategically managed university community that will have even better capabilities to respond to the challenges of research and education in our changing society.
Our society is undergoing significant changes brought on by technology and global challenges, such as demographic ageing and climate change. Tampere University will be in a strong position to provide solutions to these challenges, as our areas of priority are technology, health and society. I hope we have the ability and courage to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a good example of the opportunities opened up by the new University. I doubt whether there are any sectors of industry or society that will not undergo a major transformation through the implementation of AI. Tampere has a long history in the development of AI. This expertise combined with, for example, societal research will enable us to respond to the challenges related to the responsible use of AI.
The establishment of Tampere University will also go down in history as a milestone in the operations of foundations. The TTY Foundation, which was established in 2010, will be dissolved and merged into Tampere University Foundation. The foundation-based model for university operations has proved out to be an excellent approach for strengthening the autonomy of universities. The income generated by the capital of a foundation-based university ensures a strong balance sheet and enables long-term strategic investments. TUT's Board has actively used this opportunity to support acclaimed and promising researchers, teachers and influencers and to invest in the development of state-of-the-art learning environments in accordance with proposals issued by TUT's top management.
It is often challenging to create something new, especially when it involves a clash of organisational cultures. The Tampere3 project has been no exception. The process of creating the new Tampere University has been long and occasionally difficult. Luckily, the university community and its leaders have had the courage to look beyond established views, see all the new opportunities and make even the tough decisions.
Numerous people and countless decisions, big and small, have contributed to the creation of the new Tampere University. Personally, I remember fondly a moment back in 2014 when, after meeting with then-Chairman of UTA's Board Kai Öistämö and then-Rector Kaija Holli, I ran into TUT's then-President Markku Kivikoski on a car park on the UTA campus and we said to ourselves "never two without three", meaning that we needed to get TAMK on board, too. And so it happened, when then-Chairman of TAMK's Board Matti Höyssä and Rector Markku Lahtinen were excited about the idea and consequently Stig Gustavson was commissioned to look into the matter further. For me, this moment marked the beginning of not only the Tampere3 project but also of the renewal of the Finnish model for higher education, in which Tampere has been a pioneer.
It has been an honour to chair the Board of the TTY Foundation these past seven years. On behalf of myself and the Board, I want to extend my sincere gratitude to all students, employees and professors at TUT. I also want to thank all those who have contributed to the Tampere3 process and the Ministry of Education and Culture for their courage to support and promote this project. I especially want to thank the founders and donors of the TTY Foundation and Tampere University Foundation as well as the Transitional Board that successfully completed all the processes required for the launch of the new University's operations despite the tight schedule. I also wish the newly appointed Board of Tampere University every success in all their future endeavours.
Let's build a new university that enjoys strong international position at the forefront of research and education and has the expertise to respond to global challenges!