The targeted growth in the volume and ambition of RDI activities requires a significant increase in the national level of competence and education. At the same time, as R&D funding increases there will also be a need for many more highly educated experts and other RDI professionals. This will challenge the current education and RDI system.
Finland must become a more attractive RDI operating environment in the international competition for domestic and foreign researchers and other experts. There is a need to build high-quality research environments, improve the attractiveness of research careers and expand the recruitment of foreign professionals.
A high level of research and science is a prerequisite for receiving international research funding. Knowledge and technology created abroad must also be utilised more intensively. The mobility of researchers between companies, administration and research organisations needs to be strengthened.
The needs of working life will be taken into account in competence development projects. In addition to education leading to a degree, diverse opportunities for continuous learning are required throughout the entire duration of working life. Civics, science education and investments in LUMA competence (mathematics, science and technology) will deepen and increase the human resources available in the RDI environment.
Wide-ranging raising of competence levels
1. At least 50% of all young adults in Finland will have completed a higher education degree by 2030. To achieve this goal, higher education intake will be increased until 2030. The Ministry of Education and Culture will agree on the necessary measures with higher education institutions.
2. Through broad-based cooperation, more foreign students and researchers will be recruited into Finnish higher education institutions. To meet competence needs, the goal is for the number of new foreign degree students to gradually triple (15,000) from at present by 2030.
3. Higher education institutions, research institutes and regional actors will integrate international experts into higher education institutions, Finnish society and working life in cooperation with the business community and public sector employers. The goal is for 75% of foreign students who have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree to be employed in the Finnish labour market by 2030.
4. The Ministry of Education and Culture will implement a process to reform the education responsibility system. The aim is to give higher education institutions better opportunities to meet the competence needs of society and working life. The process will specify quality criteria for the allocation of educational responsibilities, taking into account the links between education and research, development and innovation.
5. The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment as well as higher education institutions and other educational institutions will ensure that the parliamentary reform of continuous learning takes into account the RDI competence needs of industries, including high productivity sectors. Utilising foresight information, education will be targeted multisectorally at the needs of the business community and other societal needs.
6. The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Academy of Finland will continue to support the profiling of universities and universities of applied sciences in their strong areas of competence.
7. Together with the Academy of Finland, the Ministry of Education and Culture will prepare and implement further measures on the international assessment of the Academy of Finland, which will be completed in 2022.
Research careers, international experts and mobility
8. The measures of the 2021 report by the Ministry of Education and Culture’s working group on research careers will promote the utilisation of doctoral expertise in society more widely than at present. The measures will diversify the career paths of doctors and promote mobility and placement in different sectors of society. The aim is also to raise the education level of companies’ personnel. A report on the implementation of the measures will be made in 2024.
9. The Ministry of Education and Culture will examine the current arrangements for researcher education. At the same time, a study will be conducted as to whether the current regulation of the degree system also meets practical needs in researcher education.
10. In 2021–2022, the Academy of Finland will explore reforming the forms of funding for young researchers to support research work and careers.
11. The arrival in Finland of foreign students and experts will be streamlined.
i. Business Finland and the Finnish National Agency for Education will use Work in Finland and Study and Work in Finland services to support the recruitment of international students and the hiring of international experts for higher education institutions, research institutes and companies.
ii. Led by the Ministry of the Interior, a preliminary study will be made on a comprehensive reform of legislation on aliens (and permit procedures). The potential comprehensive reform would be implemented in the next government term. In cooperation with ministries, permit practices and the customer path (including Virtual Finland) will be digitalised in order to streamline work- and education-based immigration.
iii. Business and employment services will support the recruitment of international experts into Finnish innovation and growth ecosystems.
Broad-based utilisation of competence in RDI activities
12. The Ministry of Education and Culture, the Academy of Finland and higher education institutions will utilise, where applicable, in their activities the content and recommendations of a study to be completed in spring 2022 on the promotion of the equality, non-discrimination and diversity of teaching and research staff.
13. The Ministry of Education and Culture will support actors in science education and promoters of science competence in, among other places, science centres and teacher education. The objective is to deepen and expand citizens’ problem-solving abilities and understanding of the development of science, with the aim of promoting learning and Finland’s competence-based growth.
14. According to the vision of the National Strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology (LUMA), both the individual and society will benefit from the growth of LUMA skills and competence in terms of increased wellbeing and sustainable development. Led by the Ministry of Education and Culture, an action plan for the strategy will be prepared in broad-based cooperation with stakeholders in 2022.
15. The Ministry of Education and Culture will commission an evaluation of the operating model of the Year of Research-Based Knowledge 2021 and the implementation of its objectives during 2022.