The Rectors of the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University, Turku University of Applied Sciences and Novia University of Applied Sciences visited Brussels to Meet Key EU actors
The visit maintains and strengthens the visibility and cooperation of the Turku Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences towards Brussels actors and ensures that the voices of the universities are heard in the decision-making and we would receive the necessary support from the EU in the future.
During the two-day visit, rectors, vice-rectors for research, and directors of research affairs met with heads of units for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), Climate Action (DG CLIMA), and the Internal Market (DG GROW) of the European Commission, Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen's cabinet, members of the European Parliament, as well as the heads of Finland's EU and NATO representations.
Rectors and vice-rectors discussed about the key EU funding programs, especially Horizon Europe and its future priorities, as well as the role of research and development in the EU's strategic objectives and future initiatives in the digital green transition, strategic autonomy and security. We also heard about the impacts of the war in Ukraine and the new opportunities for research and development cooperation in Finland's NATO membership. Rectors and vice-rectors presented our excellence and multidisciplinary expertise, deepening cooperation in EU activities and goals for succeeding in EU funding. We heard about the EU's immediate future-oriented development and research needs related to strengthening resilience, recycling raw materials, energy independence, new satellite data, smart buildings and promoting health and wellbeing. We also visited the Commission's Joint Research Center (JRC) to hear about commission own research activities, cooperation and project opportunities.
The EU encourages Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences to participate in various EU initiatives to find new solutions and promote international cooperation. Universities of Turku signed the Charter for the Horizon Europe Mission to Restore Our Ocean and Water to demonstrate our support for policies and initiatives related to the mission. Demonstrating support strengthens the cooperation, exchange of experiences, networking, and visibility in marine protection, as well as access to commission services and tools that the mission will introduce. The mission also opens project funding opportunities for researchers.
In discussions, the EU also sent a strong message to strengthen the EU's skills base in critical areas that support the EU's climate and energy goals and the transition to climate neutrality while improving the competitiveness of the EU's industry and creating high-quality jobs. Another concern, which also requires national efforts, relates to the low number of Finns applying for EU positions and traineeships.
Through advocating visits, we will continue to strengthen the cooperation of our region's Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences in EU matters in the future.