Newswise – In just over a decade, Aalto University has become the most international university in Finland and the 47th most international university in the world. Aalto’s students are based in more than 117 countries, while 48 percent of Aalto’s research and teaching staff come from abroad.

Aalto’s message to the new Finnish government is clear: the planned immigration restrictions must not become a reality.

“The plans have caused great concern in our community, among our business partners and across the Finnish university sector. “The proposed restrictions are alarming from a human perspective and would undermine the high-quality research and education on which Finland’s innovation, sustainable growth and competitiveness are based,” says Ilkka Niemelä, President of Aalto University.

The bar for universities around the world is constantly being raised. Attracting the best researchers and students helps Finland compete internationally. Without cutting-edge research, investments from international companies will not arrive – a crucial factor in Finland achieving its research, development and innovation funding targets (4 percent of GDP).

Almost half of the projects at Aalto dedicated to the commercialization of research have international teams. Interacting with people from all over the world has created a solid foundation for many of the Finnish startups born from Aalto, such as ICEYE, which builds the world’s smallest radar satellites; Ioncell, which has developed high-quality, sustainable textile fibers; and the quantum computer-controlled IQM.

“In the field of quantum research and technology, competition for well-trained experts is fierce. To ensure growth in the Finnish quantum sector, it is crucial that Finland remains an attractive location for skilled workers. Our success is made possible by the support we provide for world-class research and expertise. “The current government must ensure that Finland’s development, growth and prosperity continue into the future,” says Juha Vartiainen, co-founder and global affairs officer of IQM.

“Tightening immigration, work and residence permits would lead Finnish society in the wrong direction.” Diversity is a great opportunity and resource, and when Aalto was founded, it was mandated to pursue internationalization as a national goal. To shape a sustainable future, we need the best talent, regardless of their nationality. “Together we are stronger,” says Niemelä.

Internationalization and diversity were also the central themes of Niemelä’s speech at the opening ceremony of the academic year on September 5th. Aalto University is also actively committed to an international Finland on social media.

Internationality at Aalto:

  • Aalto University has students from 117 countries and staff from 93 countries.
  • Of Aalto’s teaching and research staff, 48 percent come from outside Finland. Of the doctoral students, 61 percent come from abroad.
  • Aalto achieved the highest score among Finnish universities in the international QS World University Ranking, which evaluates universities on sustainable development, graduate employment and the proportion of international academic staff, students and networks. Aalto placed 109thTh among the world’s universities in the QS ranking.
  • Teams with members from outside Finland account for 49 percent of Aalto’s commercialization projects, which are research projects in the preparatory phase for entering the commercial market. One way to commercialize is to create a startup company based on the research project, with Aalto members often owning an ownership stake in the new company. Business Finland’s R2B funding offers financial support.

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