Vice Rector for Research Taina Pihlajaniemi, who opened the announcement event, thanked the strategy's preparers for the particularly inclusive approach with which the strategy was created. Views and thoughts have been requested and received from a wide range of university members and representatives of collaborating partners. Researchers from the university´s arctic research network have been active, with some 160 at present.

The compilation and formulation of the strategy was led by the university's own experts who have a deep knowledge of the arctic subject area. Professor Arja Rautio has long investigated health and well-being issues related to arctic regions. Research Coordinator Kirsi Latola, on the other hand, has familiarized herself with cooperation in the arctic region.

Both currently also work at the University of Arctic, Rautio as its Vice-President Research and Latola as Vice-President Networks.

In connection with the announcement, Arja Rautio briefly presented the main elements of the new strategy. They can be seen in the accompanying figure. The focus is on a sustainable and well-being arctic region from the point of view of people, organisms and the environment.

Rautio emphasized that the cooperation is significant for shaping the future of the arctic regions. For example, the University of Arctic has more than 200 universities, educational institutions and organizations from the northern regions of the globe.

However, a big change has taken place after Russia attacted Ukraine. "Half of the arctic region and two-thirds of the previous population have now been lost from cooperation. The arctic region is not isolated from the rest of the world, and events there affect the rest of the world and vice versa," she said.

Janne Oula Näkkäläjärvi, a representative of one of the key stakeholders related to arctic issues, and Director of Development from the Sámi Education Institute, brought out what is expected of arctic research from the indigenous people's point of view. The wishes include respecting traditional knowledge and skills, as well as a genuine dialogue between researchers, inhabitants and operators of the arctic region. He emphasized the importance of education in maintaining the attraction of the region and thanked the University of Oulu and especially the Giellagas Institute for the successful cooperation already established.

Other speakers at the event were alumni of the University of Oulu and representatives of partners, Research Professor Katri Kärkkäinen from the Natural Resources Institute Finland, Group Manager Satu-Maaria Karjalainen from the Finnish Environmental Institute, Head of International Affairs Hanna Honkamäkilä from the Council of Oulu Region and University Researcher Mervi Heikkinen from the University of Oulu. Mirja Vehkaperä, the Chairwoman of the Oulu City Board, pointed out that the City of Oulu is involved in the development of the northern regions in several ways.

Panel Discussion at the launch of the Arctic Strategy, University of Oulu
Panel Discussion at the launch of the Arctic Strategy, University of Oulu

In her short speech, Hanna Honkamäkilä brought up the origins of the University of Oulu. She told about the grant that the first Rector, Pentti Kaitera, received from the state in 1960. The grant was intended for a travel to North America. Kaitera had been given the task of creating connections, especially with the local universities, where arctic research related to health care was carried out.

Research related to northern and arctic regions has been extensively conducted at the University of Oulu since its early stages, not only in medicine but also in the fields of biology, history and technology, among others. The Research Institute of Northern Finland operated at the university between 1973 and 1995. The current Thule Institute was founded as its successor.

"The Arctic has been and will continue to be a theme cutting across all fields," summed up Vice Rector Taina Pihlajaniemi.