President’s overview 2021: Research activities recovered from the pandemic slump and degree programmes attracted large numbers of applicants
The year 2021 was the third year of operations for the multidisciplinary Tampere University. Although our students and staff continued to study and work primarily remotely and international collaboration was limited due to Covid-19, our research productivity recovered from the drop in new projects in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. The amount of competitive research funding that we receive from international sources increased and domestic funding returned close to pre-pandemic levels.
The number of our Centres of Excellence (CoE) funded by the Academy of Finland increased to four as we started coordinating the new Centre of Excellence in Tax Systems Research. We received continued funding for the Academy of Finland’s Finnish Flagship on Photonics Research and Innovation (PREIN), which we coordinate. We also launched two new major initiatives of our own in 2021, the multidisciplinary Tampere Institute for Advanced Study and two multidisciplinary research platforms.
A further 225 study places were made available in our degree programmes in 2021. In the second round of the national joint application scheme in the spring, Tampere University was for the first time the university with the most applicants in Finland. We also saw an increase in the number of students who graduate on time and their share of all our BSc and MSc graduates.
In the first few years since the establishment of Tampere University, our position in international university rankings has remained stable. The University was ranked 414th in the 2022 QS World University Rankings featuring more than 1,600 universities. The results of the QS Rankings were released in the summer of 2021. In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings announced in the autumn of 2021, Tampere University was placed in the 251-300 bracket among 1,600 universities, and we again received our highest score for research citations. The University ranked 34th in the 2022 Times Higher Education Young University Rankings, which included 539 universities.
The operating deficit reported by the Tampere University Foundation, which operates as Tampere University, decreased from €16 million in 2020 to €10 million in 2021. When adjusted for the allocated use of capital returns, we recorded an operating loss of a little under €6 million. As we saw a considerable increase in the value of the University’s investments, our deferred profit came in at €55.5 million. The sum was transferred to the new Development Fund, the proceeds of which will be allocated to the development of research, education and international activities in line with the University’s strategy.
An important goal for the next few years will be to balance the University’s operating budget to safeguard the continuity of our core operations and their long-term development amidst changing circumstances and economic fluctuations. To improve internal efficiency, decisions were made in 2021 on support services and facilities. Cooperation negotiations concerning our centralised support services were conducted in the autumn, and the new support services organisation was launched in early 2022. Every effort was made to carry out the difficult process transparently and provide support to our staff. We continue working on the Facilities Programme in close collaboration with our staff and students. The aim is to develop the campus facilities and reduce our square footage on the three campuses.
Thank you to all our staff, students, partners, friends and supporters for their outstanding work and dedication in 2021.