Are companies expected to fund the general development of a university?

As illustrated by the question in the title, both the autonomy enjoyed by universities and the direction in which the Finnish state is steering structural changes in the academic landscape deserve closer review within the industry and business communities. It goes without saying that Tampere new university needs adequate capital as it gets off the ground. The figures being quoted in the media, from 100 to 200 million euros, are certainly in the right ballpark, depending on the focal points of the new university’s activities and other objectives defined by the Board.  

Tampere Chamber of Commerce and Industry and our committees are available for consultation, when it is time for the new university to seek dialogue with industry and business concerning the content and focus areas of education. We already have a long history of excellent collaboration. The most recent examples are the establishment of the Campus Chamber and the funding of a new professorship in service and retailing at the University of Tampere. This professorship has opened up a whole new level of collaboration between a university and companies.  

The Industry Research Fund jointly established by Tampere Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Tampere University of Technology (TUT) is also going strong. In addition, the Kampusareena building at the heart of the TUT campus was specifically built to promote and facilitate university-industry collaboration. TUT has continuously received excellent ratings for industry collaboration in international rankings. Industry collaboration is also one of the strengths of Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

While Tampere Chamber of Commerce is open to new forms of collaboration, we believe that the state is predominantly responsible for providing general funding and capital to universities. As Tampere new university is consistent with the Government Programme and part of the state’s structural change programme, the state must be willing and able to ensure that sufficient capital resources are available.    

Jari Alanen
Chairman of Tampere Chamber of Commerce and Industry
District Director of Kesko

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