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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (left) and Nobel Laureate Bengt Holmström commented on the establishment of a new centre of excellence in economics in a news conference in Helsinki on 19 September, 2017.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (left) and Nobel Laureate Bengt Holmström commented on the establishment of a new centre of excellence in economics in a news conference in Helsinki on 19 September, 2017.

 

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) on Tuesday announced that a new centre of excellence in economics will be established in Helsinki, Finland.

The Helsinki Graduate School of Economics (Helsinki GSE) will have up to 15 professorships and be operated collaboratively by three higher education institutions in the capital region – Aalto University, the Hanken School of Economics and the University of Helsinki.

Sipilä acknowledged in a press conference that economic expertise is increasingly important for drafting and assessing the impacts of political measures on the national economy and society at large. Digitalisation and the widespread availability of consumer data, he added, will also generate greater demand for knowledge-based expertise in the business world.

“I’ve noticed how important knowledge-based data are,” he stated according to Helsingin Sanomat.

The Helsinki GSE will strive to establish itself as a first-rate research and teaching unit that offers doctoral programmes in all fields of economics, with a particular focus in the fields of macroeconomics, applied macroeconomics, public finances and knowledge-based decision-making.

The establishment of the centre of excellence was announced at an event commemorating the Nobel Prize in Economics received in 2016 by Bengt Holmström, a Helsinki-born professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Holmström said he is delighted with collaborative project. The Helsinki GSE, he viewed, has all the prerequisites to become a leading economics centre in Europe.

“Finnish economics is experiencing a strong upswing just as economics is increasingly needed to analyse and interpret the rapidly growing volume of information. Economics and new methods based on artificial intelligence and machine learning will complement each other,” he commented in a press release.

The Government Institute for Economic Research (VATT), Bank of Finland, and the Ministry of Education and Culture will support the establishment and commit to providing long-term resources for operations of the Helsinki GSE.

Private citizens are also encouraged to contribute towards the project funding.

The Bank of Finland is hopeful that the centre of excellence will alleviate its struggles to find experts in macroeconomics who are proficient in Finnish or Swedish, Erkki Liikanen, the Governor of the Bank of Finland, revealed to Helsingin Sanomat.

“Macroeconomic research has been withering away in Finland,” he told the newspaper. “Whenever the Bank of Finland has looked for doctors, there has only been few, if any, with Finnish skills.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva

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