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Created 25.4.2024
Updated 26.4.2024

Funding by foundations is essential to LUT University because it enables the university to grow and make new initiatives. In exchange for their donations, foundations receive the university’s support in promoting important societal issues. 

“We’re headed in the same direction but play different roles,” says Petri Ajo, chief growth officer at LUT University. 

“We maintain an active dialogue with foundations on the development directions of different fields and share ideas on future outlooks. Foundations specialising in a field are well aware of the prevailing reality in that field, and engaging with them is a way to identify opportunities we have in common. Foundations that support us have generally been interested in what we’ve been able to accomplish with that support – especially if we’ve gone about it in a slightly original way.” 


Private funding is essential for the university

  • The Association of Finnish Foundations represents all significant grant-awarding private foundations in Finland. 
  • In 2022, they financed science and research with nearly 300 million euros. 
  • A total of 51% of LUT University’s annual turnover consists of funding other than that provided by the Ministry of Education and Culture. In other words, also foundations play a significant role.
  • External funding is, in essence, necessary for new initiatives by the university, because the core government funding is scaled to existing operation.

Numerous initiatives in a range of research fields

Roughly 20 members of the association toured LUT on Thursday 25 April, learning about the university’s multidisciplinary research initiatives.

“We discussed the university’s activity at different levels from individual research questions to extensive, university-wide leaps. There are a great many foundations in Finland, each with its own profile and industry branch. Therefore, we’re bound to find ones that overlap with our schools and research fields.” 

The importance of foundations is highlighted in fields where innovation funding agencies such as Business Finland offer fewer programmes, such as fields that do not focus on export.

Sustainability focus and multidisciplinary science are strengths

The Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation has strengthened its support for technology research in recent years and is currently mapping prospects in the field of business research. Secretary General Hanna-Mari Peltomäki appreciates the concreteness of LUT’s research:

”It is clear how the research benefits society. I have received several good briefs about LUT’s strategy and activities. LUT is an agile university with a welcoming atmosphere,” says Peltomäki.

LUT’s research themes have a clear connection with foundations and funds that promote sustainability goals. Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation finances innovative projects and researchers that support sustainability transformations that protect natural systems.

”We both seek systemic solutions for an ecologically sustainable future. Our foundation awards personal working grants for doctoral thesis projects and postdoc research. I encourage researchers to familiarize themselves with the autumn 2024 call, which will be published on our website before the summer”, says Katja Bargum, Science and Executive Director at the Nessling Foundation.

LUT reacts rapidly to societal challenges

“We’re continuously developing different forms of collaboration, and our ability to react to societal challenges in new and surprising ways draws frequent collaboration inquiries,” Petri Ajo says.

LUT launched degree programmes in social and communication sciences in 2023 and is soon about to apply for educational responsibilities in civil and construction engineering from the Ministry of Education and Culture. The new educational responsibilities will complement LUT’s existing education and research fields: technology and business. LUT is in the process of introducing a large number of initiatives strongly related to its strategy and sustainable growth.

“LUT is currently a strong multidisciplinary brand growing in many directions. We need to ensure that the growth is sustainable. Our new educational responsibilities need many types of support to become strong and profitable,” Ajo sums up. 

“I’m very happy to see that foundations and funds wanted to learn more about LUT University. What’s great about working with foundations is that it enables our researchers to focus fully on research and creating something new. We’re on an important mission to save the world for our children,” says Rector Juha-Matti Saksa.

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