Higher education institutions, science agencies, research institutes and other public research organisations

The Finnish higher education system consists of universities and universities of applied sciences. A total of 13 universities and 22 universities of applied sciences operate in the Ministry of Education and Culture's administrative branch.

The Research Council of Finland, the National Archives of Finland, the Institute for the Languages of Finland, and the National Repository Library are the agencies and institutes that operate under the mandate of the Ministry's Department for Higher Education and Science Policy.

Universities focus on scientific research and education based on it. Universities of applied sciences, on the other hand, offer a pragmatic education that responds to working life needs. The main emphasis of research, development and innovation at universities of applied sciences is on applied research and development. The science agencies and research institutes support the preconditions for research activities.

Universities of applied sciences

A total of 22 universities of applied sciences operate as public limited companies in the Ministry of Education and Culture's administrative branch. In addition to this, there are two other universities of applied sciences in Finland: Åland University of Applied Sciences in Åland and Police University College, which operates under the Ministry of the Interior, in Tampere.

Universities of applied sciences are mainly multidisciplinary and regional higher education institutions whose activities highlight their connection to working life and regional development. They are tasked with providing education for professional expert tasks that is based on the requirements of working life and its development, as well as the premises for research and arts. In addition, they carry out applied research, development and innovation and artistic activities that serve education, support working life and regional development, as well as regenerate the industrial structure of the region.

Universities of applied sciences have extensive autonomy and freedom of education and research. Universities of applied sciences are independent legal entities and make independent decisions on matters related to their internal administration. An operating licence granted by the Government is required before any party can establish and manage a university of applied sciences.


A total of 13 universities operate within the Ministry of Education and Culture's administrative branch. Two of these are foundations pursuant to the Foundations Act and the others are corporations under public law. Higher education degrees in the military sector are completed at the Finnish National Defence University, which operates under the defence administration.

Universities are tasked with engaging in scientific research and artistic activity, and with providing the highest level of education based on them. Universities promote lifelong learning, interact with society and promote the societal impact of research results and artistic activities.

Universities have economic and administrative autonomy. The freedom of higher education, science and the arts is guaranteed by the Constitution. Universities are independent legal entities that have the right to make independent decisions on matters related to their internal administration.

University consortiums supplement the Finnish university network in regions that do not have their own universities and they coordinate academic activities in their respective areas. The universities of applied sciences, the municipalities and the regional council of the region often also take part in this cooperation.

Science agencies and research institutes

Tasks related to science in the Ministry of Education and Culture's administrative branch are performed by agencies and institutes operating under the Ministry, expert bodies appointed by the Ministry or the Government as well as scientific cooperation organisations.

The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the performance guidance of the Research Council of Finland, the National Archives of Finland, the Institute for the Languages of Finland and the National Repository Library.

The Research Council of Finland is a key source of funding for scientific research in Finland and an active stakeholder in Finnish and international science and innovation policy. The Strategic Research Council (SRC) operates as part of the Research Council of Finland.

The majority of the Research Council's funding is channelled through competitive calls for applications to research carried out at universities. It is used to finance, for example, the Finnish Flagship Programme, research projects, Research Council programmes, centres of excellence in research, research fellowships, research infrastructures and international cooperation. The Research Council’s research councils and the Finnish Research Infrastructure Committee (FIRI Committee) decide on the funding of research in their respective fields.

The Research Council also handles the administration of EU research programmes and international research organisations in cooperation with Business Finland.

The task of the National Archives of Finland is to ensure that records documenting Finland's national cultural heritage are preserved and usable, to promote research, and to develop archives and records management. The National Archives of Finland has facilities in Helsinki, Hämeenlinna, Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Mikkeli, Oulu, Turku and Vaasa. The Sami Archives functions as part of the National Archives of Finland.

The Institute for the Languages of Finland is devoted to the study and language planning of Finnish and Swedish. It also coordinates language planning of Sámi, Romani, and Sign Language. The institute is tasked with providing advice, compiling dictionaries as well as carrying out research related to language planning and the compilation of dictionaries.

The National Repository Library is a national library that offers its services to research libraries, public libraries and other libraries. It takes possession of and stores materials transferred from other Finnish libraries. The National Repository Library's clients include libraries and information services.

Organisations related to science

The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV) is an independent organisation with expertise in the practice of science, science policy and the utilisation of research data. The National Advisory Board on Research Ethics in Finland, the Committee for Public Information in Finland, the Council of Finnish Academies, and the Publication Forum all operate under the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies.

The Federation encourages cooperation between scientific communities both in Finland and internationally, promotes the communication and publication of scientific data and increases awareness of research data and its utilisation by society. The Federation, together with its advisory boards and committees, works extensively to develop an operating culture that complies with good scientific practices and research ethics.

Finnish Academic Institutes situated abroad

Finland has four Academic Institutes situated abroad. They are the Finnish Institute in Athens, the Finnish Institute in Rome, the Finnish Institute in the Middle East, and the Finnish Institute in Japan. Each institute is maintained by an independent non-profit foundation or fund. The Ministry of Education and Culture supports the activities of the institutes and the foundation with general transfers. The Academic Institutes make it possible for Finnish researchers and postgraduate students to work in the countries in which these institutes are situated and help improve knowledge of history and the different areas of culture.

CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd

CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd is a non-profit limited company owned by the State and higher education institutions. The Department of Higher Education and Science Policy at the Ministry of Education and Culture procures services from it for the needs of higher education institutions and research. The procured services may be used by all higher education institutions. An effort is made to be open and ensure interoperability in the provision of the services. Development work complies with the principles and methods of the Enterprise Architecture in the public sector.

Public research institutes

A total of 12 State research institutes operate under the auspices of the other ministries. In addition to producing research data and expertise, the State research institutes perform various expert, control, training, guidance and other official tasks as well as service activities, some of which are subject to a fee.

Research libraries

The work of research libraries serve to support higher education, studies and research. Finland's research libraries include the National Library of Finland, the libraries of universities and universities of applied sciences, and specialised libraries.

The National Library of Finland offers online library services to all library sectors. In addition to its own collections, the National Library of Finland is responsible for Finland's national publication heritage. The National Library is part of the national research infrastructure and operates in connection with the University of Helsinki.

University libraries are public research libraries. Universities receive their basic funding from the State and make independent decisions on the financing of their libraries. Universities of applied sciences have their own libraries and information services.

Specialised libraries include the Library of Parliament, the Library of Statistics, as well as the libraries at research institutes, government agencies and museums.

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