Top-Level Economics Research and Teaching Center to be Established in Finland

Professor Bengt Holmström speaking at the Government Banquet Hall in Helsinki, Finland on September 19, 2017. Picture: Laura Kotila/VNK

A new center of expertise in economics will be established in Finland. The Helsinki Graduate School of Economics (Helsinki GSE) will seek to become an internationally top-level economics research and teaching unit, aimed at safeguarding doctoral education, for example, in all the key fields of economics. The particular research areas to be strengthened are macroeconomics, public finance, applied microeconomics and knowledge-based decision-making.

The Helsinki GSE will begin as a cooperative effort of three Helsinki Metropolitan Area universities. The task of the internationally top-level research and teaching unit, which will offer up to 15 new professorships, is to safeguard doctoral education in all of the key fields of economics.

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä spoke about the project on Tuesday, September 19 at a meeting of the Economic Council held to celebrate the Nobel Prize of Professor Bengt Holmström of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

According to Prime Minister Sipilä, there is a growing demand for economics expertise in the planning and impact assessment of policy measures, for example. The growing volume of consumer data and digitalization are also increasing the need for knowledge-based decision-making expertise in the business world. “Political decision-making requires high-quality assessments of impacts on the economy and society. In making impact assessments, we must always be able to do better. The new economics unit will have a significant role in research and high-level legislative preparation. I am delighted to have the opportunity to announce the project with Professor Bengt Holmström,” Sipilä said.

The goal is to establish up to 15 new professorships in the Helsinki GSE by 2022. Including existing vacancies, the number of economics professors will rise to 35, which will constitute a center of expertise of international dimensions. Junior- and senior-level researchers will be recruited to become professors. The intention is also to increase the number of doctoral and master’s degrees in economics. The Helsinki GSE will cooperate with external stakeholders, such as universities active outside the Helsinki Metropolitan Area as well as other social sciences and business economics researchers and students.

“I am very satisfied that an economics center will be established in Helsinki. It is coming at the right time. Finnish economics is experiencing a strong upswing just as economics is increasingly needed to analyze and interpret the rapidly growing volume of information. Economics and new methods based on artificial intelligence and machine learning will complement each other. Good experiences of corresponding units have been obtained from Barcelona, Toulouse and Stockholm, for example. The Helsinki GSE has all the prerequisites to join these leading European centers,” said Professor Bengt Holmström.

The Helsinki Graduate School of Economics

The practical implementation of the unit will be the responsibility of Aalto University, the University of Helsinki and the Hanken School of Economics, who will launch the preparation of the project immediately. The Government Institute for Economic Research, the Bank of Finland and the Ministry of Education and Culture will support the establishment of the unit and commit long-term resources to the activities of the Helsinki GSE. Private funding will also be sought for the project.

Source: The Finnish Government

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