VERA presentation by Ilkka Liikanen, UEF


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  • As I have participated in Finnish-Russian academic CBC, it is a great pleasure for me to speak in this important conference, and I actually feel a certain nostalgia to the early days of academic cross-border cooperation of the 90s.There is certain nostalgia also in the name VERA that refers to two Finnish words meaning Russia and Border – Venäjäja Raja – VERA. But of course VERA is also a beautiful female name in RussianIndicating our close relation to our Russian colleagues.
  • According to preliminary results of the international research assessment of the university, the VERA centre has got a very high valuation, and we hope to see it as a prime example of the new multi-disciplinary research communities the university is committed to promote.
  • High profile in Russian and border studies not always the case.And the point I want to make its growth closely related to opening of cross-border cooperation
  • (As I’ve been the director of the national doctoral school I’d like to use doctoral training as an indicator)This success is a product of Post-Cold war period and - to a high degree a result of the opening of the border and new forms of cross-border cooperation
  • I’m happy to see that we have today among us one of the founding fathers of the research coooperation of 1990s, professor, Alexander Titov, the head of the Karelian Academy of SciencesAs I’ve been the head of the Finnish research groups this has also changed my personal research orientation from the Finnish Russian border to EU policies of CBC and external relations.And to be honest I feel today certain nostalgia to the pioneer days of research cooperation of 1990s, and would like to find better a balance between these research areas.
  • VERA presentation by Ilkka Liikanen, UEF

    1. 1. Cross-border Cooperation and the Research Profile of the UEF Ilkka Liikanen Professor, Director of the VERA Centre University of Eastern Finland (UEF) Karelian Institute
    2. 2. UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN FINLAND (UEF) UEF WAS ESTABLISHED IN 2010 AS THE RESULT OF THE MERGER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF JOENSUU AND THE UNIVERSITY OF KUOPIO Three campuses: Joensuu, Kuopio, Savonlinna 15.000 students 15.000 students in Open university & continuation education 2574 staff Four faculties: Science and Forestry, Health Sciences, Philosophical, Social Sciences and Business Studies Karelian Institute
    3. 3. RUSSIAN AND BORDER STUDIES AT THE UEF Today one of the rising new areas of expertise in strategy of the UEF “Broad-based Expertise Pertaining to Russia” “In research relating to Russia and the European borders, border regions and fringe areas, the university seeks to reach the international top level… “ Karelian Institute
    4. 4. CENTRE FOR RUSSIAN AND BORDER STUDIES VERA Centre established in October 2013 Building a multi-disciplinary research community across faculty and department lines The project for establishing the VERA Centre Started in the spring 2011 Funded by the European Social Fund, Regional Council of North Karelia and the UEF Karelian Institute
    5. 5. PROFILE OF RESEARCH EXPERTISE Research themes: 1. Power, institutions and beliefs in Russia and bordering lands lead by Prof. Jeremy Smith (history) 2. European borders and neighborhood lead by Prof. James Scott (human geography) 3. Transitions in border regions lead by Prof. Laura Assmuth (social policy) 4. Cross-border cultural interaction: tendencies, ideas and concepts on the move lead by Prof. Maija Könönen (Russian language) 5. Tourism, business and Russia lead by Prof. Antti Honkanen (Tourism research) Karelian Institute
    6. 6. VERA CENTRE FOR RUSSIAN AND BORDER STUDIES •Strong international research community, 20 professors, 30 post-doc researchers •High profile in international publishing •Successful graduate training •Strong external funding 2011-2013 EU, FP 7, ESPON, ESF Finnish ministries Academy of Finland ESR, ENPI Foundations Total 885 952 1 688 279 2 171 933 931 310 949 104 6 626 579 Karelian Institute
    7. 7. Rise of Russian and Border Studies •2013 5 dissertations, as many as during the two first decades of Joensuu university (before 1991) •During the two decades following the opening of the border the number of dissertations seven times bigger than earlier •Number of dissertations during the three first years of UEF doubled and lets us expect that the growth will continue •Young scholars – the guarantee of the future of Russian and border studies Karelian Institute
    8. 8. CBC as starting point for the rise of Russian and border studies •1991 from para-diplomatic to project based research cooperation •First projects with scholars in Petrozavodsk and St Petersburg •Comparative research tradition counterbalancing the weakness in Russian studies •1995 Finnish EU membership and the deepening cooperation with the support of Interreg projects •1997 European peripheral and border areas as a focal area of Joensuu university strategy •BRIT conference as the starting point for international cooperation in the field of border studies (with sessions in Sortavala) •2003 onwards, participation with Russian scholars in ENPI projects and 4 EU FP projects •Russia and borders as focal area in the strategy of Joensuu university •Cross-border cooperation with Russian scholars as a springboard to international research cooperation Karelian Institute
    9. 9. INTERNATIONAL LEVEL EXPERTISE ON BASES OF FINNISH-RUSSIAN COOPERATION Challenge today is to strengthen the international profile through further specialization Vision: Leading research unit in Russian and Border Studies Building on position as • Number one Russia expert in the field of Border studies • Number one expert on borders and border areas in field of Russian studies Karelian Institute
    10. 10. Thank You! The VERA Centre for Russian and Border Studies University of Eastern Finland, Karelian Institute, Aurora II Building, Yliopistokatu 2, FI-80100 Joensuu, Finland • • • • Ilkka Liikanen, Director of the Centre Joni Virkkunen, Head of Research Minna Piipponen, Head of Education Tatjana Lipiäinen, International Affairs Officer Tel. +358 (0)294 45 1111 Emails: Karelian Institute