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Country Guide Finland

CARe country guides, developed from May to October 2020, contain systematised relevant information on the national labour markets in the 10 project countries, with the aim of supporting researchers at risk/with refugee background in finding support, job and training opportunities in their host countries. 

In the development and revision of the country guides, the CARe consortium is receiving invaluable help by the selected group of national experts coming from relevant national institutions and CARe focus groups.




Higher Education and Research in Finland

The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture ensures the overall functioning of higher education and science in Finland. The Ministry is responsible for the planning and implementation of higher education and science policy, and it prepares the related statutes, national budget proposals and government decisions. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for preparing and implementing Finland’s innovation policy. The Research and Innovation Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, coordinates the development of Finland’s innovation system.

The Finnish higher education system consists of 13 universities and 22 universities of applied sciences (UAS) that operate under the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Universities of applied sciences offer professionally oriented higher education and have strong ties with working life and regional development. Universities focus on scientific research and the education they provide is based on it. Doctoral programmes are offered by universities.

Additionally, 12 public research institutes work under the related ministries. Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is a key cooperation partner for companies, research institutes, higher education institutions and policy makers both nationally and internationally. Other public research institutes are more mission-oriented, with a broad range of research objectives. Their mandate can vary from research (both basic and applied) to additional responsibilities, such as monitoring, data collection and management, certification and inspection. 

Companies are key research partners for higher education institutions and research institutions. Increased private sector cooperation is one of the priority areas in the National Roadmap for Research, Development and Innovation, released in 2020. 



Higher Education Institutions in Finland


The mission of the universities is to promote free research and to provide academic and artistic higher education based on research. The universities interact closely with the society. There are 13 universities operating under the Ministry of Education and Culture, 11 institutions operate under public law and two are foundations pursuant to the Foundations Act. The 14th university is the Finnish National Defence University, which operates under the defence administration.

Universities provide lower (Bachelor's) and higher (Master's) degrees and scientific postgraduate degrees. Universities may also offer continuing education and open university instruction. The list of universities in Finland is available here

Universities total R&D expenditure is about 1,4 billion euros out of which one third is basic funding from the state. Most of the competitive project- and programme-based research funding comes from the Academy of Finland, Business Finland and European Union.

Universities of applied sciences (UAS) 

Finnish UASs is to provide higher education for professional expertise necessary in the working life and its further development.

UAS education draws from research, and/or artistic and cultural foundations. UAS also engage in applied research, development, innovative and artistic activities in support of their education as well as regional development. Their basic offering consists of Bachelor's degrees, but they also offer a professionally orientated Master’s degree that requires a minimum of three years of prior working experience. In addition to UAS-degrees, they provide vocational specialist training and vocational teacher education.

UASs also provide open education in all fields of vocational education and training available to anybody interested in higher education, regardless of age or previous educational level. There are 22 UASs administered by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Police University College functions under the Ministry of the Interior.

Universities of Applied Sciences’ total R&D expenditure is around 180 million euros. Of this about 40 % is basic funding from the state. Most of the competitive research funding comes from the European Union and national public sources.

More information about higher education and research in Finland can be found on Study in Finland and  

Read more about admission to higher education in Finland and specifically, to doctoral studies.


Experiences from researchers:

Finland is a small country, which means that also employment opportunities in higher education are limited and the focus group participants indicated a very high competition for research positions. There are also national language requirements (Finnish or Swedish) for teaching positions at universities especially when teaching bachelor level courses.

Full reports on the CARe Focus Groups and Employer Survey are available here.

To raise factual inaccuracies or to provide us with updated information and feedback on the guide, please do not hesitate to contact us at