It is a university's task to change the world

The long history of the University of Jyväskylä dates back to the first Finnish-language teacher
training college in Finland, founded in 1863. Over the years, it has developed into an internationally significant multidisciplinary university, known not only for its high-quality teacher training, but also for its particle accelerator and the only sports science faculty in the country, among other things.

To show how significant the University is, we could say that over the last 30 years, the population of Jyväskylä has grown more than eight times faster than in non-university cities. Or that the University's economic impact has been estimated to be over 1.1 billion euros per year in terms of gross value added. Or that the University has been estimated to create more than 12,000 jobs.

The significance of the University could also be measured by the number of degrees or academic articles. The true significance of the University, however, is something that cannot be measured or calculated.

– The University's most important result walks out of the University on its own two feet. The know-how passes on invisibly through the students and networks to companies and the society. The University's most important task has always been to create extensive know-how, says Keijo Hämäläinen, Rector of the University of Jyväskylä.

Jyväskylä plays an important role as a growing and strong university city. The city and University have a good reputation, and people come to Jyväskylä to study from all over the world, including the Helsinki capital region. Many students want to stay in the area after their studies, which means that the business life should be able to offer jobs to graduating students.

Entrepreneurship plays an increasingly important role in the University. The students and staff see entrepreneurship as an opportunity, and people study more and more often in multidisciplinary teams.

– Today, we are focusing on teaching students how to sell their own ideas. We also work together with various educational institutions, the city and the Central Finland Federation of Finnish Enterprises, and Tekes supports researchers that want to become entrepreneurs, says Hanna-Leena Pesonen, Dean of the Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics.

Recently, the University has been under pressure to show that it can have an impact on the society. Hämäläinen says that the University has not communicated well enough what kind of an economic and mental significance it has both locally and in the life of the individual.

​– The University also needs to be able to produce spin-offs and generate thoughts that move the society forward. The best spin-offs usually come from the University's top research. Research and corporate cooperation definitely do not close each other out, Hämäläinen says.

The internationally recognized businesses Firstbeat and Naava are two prime examples of university-based companies found in Jyväskylä. Nordic Business Forum, which has grown into a well-known event, was founded by the students from the Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics. Te?ted and Recenart are also examples of interesting companies that have their roots in the University of Jyväskylä, Pesonen lists.

– Perhaps the most significant innovation in the Finnish academic field that has changed the world is the Linux operating system, which originated from the master's thesis of one Linus Torvalds, a Millennium Award -winning student from the University of Helsinki, Hämäläinen says.

– People say that universities should change with the world. That is true, but more importantly, universities should change the world.

University of Jyväskylä
+358 14 260 1211
Established: 1934
“Internationally significant multidisciplinary university”