Universities Academic Rector Tapio Määttä was chosen Researcher of the Year: “The operating culture of universities can be changed through management”

For the first time, the Association of Scientists wanted to reward an employer representative. Tapio Määttä, Academic Rector of the University of Eastern Finland, is also familiar from Twitter and the I am researching campaign.

Eastern Finland academic rector of the university Tapio Määttä has been chosen as the Scientist of the Year. He says the choice warms the mind, but came as a bit of a surprise.

And that’s a surprise, as the € 5,000 prize awarded by the Finnish Association of Scientists since 1997 has never gone to a “counterpart”, an employer representative.

According to the explanatory memorandum, open interaction is emphasized in Määkä’s management. He has promoted the well-being of scientists at work through concrete actions.

These include offering a ten percent employment to scholarship researchers and a policy on the title of doctoral researcher instead of a doctoral student.

At Määtä’s initiative, assistants have also been hired to ease the workload of teachers during distance learning.

Määttä is also familiar from Twitter and the I am researching campaign.

Scientists chairman Maija S. Peltola recalls that the goal of the Ministry of Education and universities’ joint Vision 2030 for Higher Education and Research is to make universities the best jobs in Finland.

“The time has come to highlight high-quality management and good personnel policy as key tools to improve the opportunities for researchers to do their work in a long-term and effective way,” Peltola says in a press release.

“Määttä has shown that the operating culture of universities can be changed through management,” Peltola says.

Prize himself recognizes that the university is a special place to lead.

“Every researcher and teacher does what they want, but still the university as an community is an organization that needs to be led,” says Määttä.

Määttä believes that handling unfinished business among all staff will lead to better decisions. Securing peace at work has also become an increasingly important goal.

“Freedom of teaching and research is the cornerstone of the work motivation of those who work at universities, and for many they have a reason to work at university at all,” says Määttä.

The academic rector’s fixed-term wash is the main job, but does Määttä himself still intend to do science?

“Of course, I’m still following the environmental law research, and I still have time to do it myself,” says Määttä, 56.

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