Research on Finnish Society (13:2020) Mauno Koivisto lecture

The role of the university in the 2020s

Moira von Wright
Åbo Akademi University

What are the most significant aspects of a university in the 2020s? In what ways can a university contribute to the flourishing of its surroundings? This lecture discusses the importance of autonomy in research and thinking, and the culture that grows around a university, thus enabling a region to flourish. The city of Turku, with its two universities, is taken as an example. A university has an impact on society and the environment through knowledge and education, and there is a growing demand to produce science for policy and solutions to wicked problems, as well as to ensure up-to-date professional education for the job market. There needs to, however, also remain some kind of a barrier between the university and the society to ensure that unexpected trajectories and uncomfortable truths are not avoided and that novel ideas come up.

Keywords: autonomy, uncomfortable truths, culture, novelty, urban environments, Åbo Akademi University

Full Text (PDF)