Higher education

Finland’s higher education system is made up of universities and universities of applied sciences. A total of 13 universities and 22 universities of applied sciences operate under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture

Universities essentially develop fundamental research and the teaching that comes with it.

Universities of Applied Sciences, on the other hand, offer practical training that meets the needs of professional life.

Scientific agencies and research institutes support research activities through calls for projects: the Academy of Finland , which is under the Ministry of Education and Culture, and Business Finland , which is attached to the Ministry of Economy, are the main funding agencies for research and development in Finland.


In addition to the 13 universities and 22 universities of applied sciences, attached to the Ministry of Education and Culture, research in Finland is based on the numerous research centres each attached to a specific ministry:

–  VTT, Valtion Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus, the most efficient applied research centre in Northern Europe, is attached to the Ministry of Economy;

LUKE, is attached to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry;

 – SYKE, Suomen ympäristökeskus depends on the Ministry of the Environment;

FMI, Finnish Meteorological Institute (www.fmi.fi) depends on the ministry of transport and communication.

Finland has chosen to delegate its fundamental research to Universities. It is therefore in universities and, to a lesser extent, in universities of applied sciences, that basic research is carried out, mainly funded by the Academy of Finland. Applied research is more a matter for VTT. In addition, some scientific sectors are developed by the sector’s specific public research institutes (forest, environment, sea, etc.). These institutes are very often located near university centres, or even on the same campus. This is the case, for example, of VTT which is located on the Otaniemi campus of Aalto University, or of the FMI located on the Kumpula campus of the University of Helsinki.


According to the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2018, Finland remains one of Europe’s leading innovation countries. Cooperation between academic research and the research developed by research institutes and companies, is facilitated by the implementation of technological programmes, particularly those supported by Business Finland. The Talent Boost, operated by Business Finland, implements the attractiveness policy that Finland wants to develop, mainly towards companies, but not only.