The new Board of the University of Lapland: Exerting influence through active cooperation


In its organisational meeting, the new Board of the University of Lapland nominated Professor Hannele Niemi, research director, as the Chair for another three years. MSc Olli Väyrynen, vice president, business development at Finavia, was nominated as the Vice-Chair. The term of the Board started on 1 January 2021 and ends on 31 December 2023.

Hannele Niemi has functioned as a professor of education in 1998–2016 and from 2017 onward as a professor and research director in the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. She was the Chair of the Board of the University of Lapland in the previous term as well. Niemi leads the AI in Learning (Co-Innovation) research consortium, whose members comprise the University of Helsinki, the University of Lapland, and several companies. She is also UNESCO Chair on Educational Ecosystems for Equity and Quality of Learning. Niemi is actively engaged in collaboration with China and heads the Sino-Finnish Joint Learning Innovation Institute network that consists of nine Chinese and nine Finnish universities, including the University of Lapland. She also holds an honorary doctorate at the University of Lapland.

– The University of Lapland is a strong northern actor as well as an expert institute and pioneer in Arctic issues. The aim is that through strong cooperation the members of the Board lead the university into the role of a powerful influencer both nationally and internationally. This calls for active cooperation within the university and in society at large, Niemi notes.

Niemi Hannele_200.jpg
Picture: Hannele Niemi

Olli Väyrynen, the new Vice Chair, presently works as director of business development at Finavia. He is in charge of the comprehensive development of regional airports from the viewpoints of both operations and the passenger experience. In Lapland, Väyrynen became known by the public as the leader of the Lapland Investment Programme 2018–2020 that expanded the Rovaniemi, Kittilä, and Ivalo airports. He studied at Tampere University of Technology and graduated as a Master of Science (applied mathematics) in 2008. Born in Kemijärvi, Väyrynen is a winter sports enthusiast and visits Lapland frequently with his family.

Picture: Olli Väyrynen

The other Board members from outside the university are Johanna Buchert, DTech, Executive Vice President at Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke); Liisa Holmberg, MSc (econ.), Film Commissioner in the International Sámi Film Insitute; and Professor Markku Ollikainen, DSSc, Chair of the Finnish Climate Change Panel. The members from within the university are Professor of Industrial Design Jonna Häkkilä from the Faculty of Art and Design; Professor of Sociology Jarno Valkonen from the Faculty of Social Sciences; Heikki Huilaja, Senior Researcher from the Faculty of Social Sciences; and Satu Pesola, Director of Research Services.

Students are represented in the Board by Sofia Mänty, student of political sciences and sociology from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Eemil Nuuttila, student of law from the Faculty of Law. The length of the student members’ term is one calendar year.

Further information:

Hannele Niemi
Chair of the Board of the University of Lapland
Phone: 040 555 8975