Annual report

Older reports can be found under Yearbook

Annual report of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters 2020

The year 2020 was an exceptional one in the history of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters as it was affected in many ways by the COVID-19 pandemic that spread to Finland in the spring, most notably as far as working conditions in its office and the organizing of meetings and events were concerned. The office staff were immediately obliged to operate from home as far as possible, leading to adjustments in the content of their work and adoption of the necessary technology. The spring and autumn meetings, for example, mostly took place by video conferencing, and the Spring General Meeting was postponed until the autumn as provided for under the emergency legislation. Some events such as the celebration dinner in connection with the Annual General Meeting and the formal opening of the refurbished office premises had to be cancelled entirely.

In practice the Academy’s office was subject to remote working for more than half of the year, and board meetings were similarly conducted by video. Meetings scheduled to take place on the Academy’s premises during the autumn were cancelled with the exception of certain consultations between office staff, and extreme care was taken to protect the staff from infection, to the extent that no cases of the disease actually occurred.

The epidemic also had a considerable impact on the work of researchers financed by Academy grants, and an additional round of grant applications was arranged to ensure that they were able to continue working under the prevailing conditions.

In spring 2020 the Academy gathered together a group of experts to consider means of strengthening Finland’s long-term resistance in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, bearing in mind those things that had already been learned from the pandemic. The resulting statement, entitled Bending, but not breaking – From the coronavirus pandemic to strengthening Finland’s crisis resilience was published in February 2021.

The Governing Board of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters for 2020 (from the left): Jari Ojala, Tuula Linna, Pekka Ilmakunnas, Anna Mauranen, Juha Kinnunen, Hely Tuorila, Elina Ikonen and Kimmo Kaski. Absent from the picture is Johanna Mappes.

Governing board and Secretary General

The President of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and chairman of its Governing Board in 2020, the Academy’s 113th year, was Anna Mauranen and the Vice President Kimmo Kaski. Pekka Ilmakunnas continued as treasurer, Tuula Linna as secretary of the Section of the Humanities and Juha Kinnunen as secretary of the Section of Science. The ordinary members were Elina Ikonen, Johanna Mappes, Jari Ojala and Heta Pyrhönen. The Governing Board held 10 meetings and 2 consultations by email during the year. Pekka Aula continued as Secretary General.

The members of the Governing Board served during the year as trustees of the Emil Öhmann Foundation and the Hilkka and Otto Brusiin Foundation.

The compositions of the committees and working groups set up by the Governing Board were as follows:

  • Property Management Committee: Anna Mauranen (chairman), Kimmo Kaski, Pekka Ilmakunnas, Tuula Linna and Pekka Aula. Anders Ekholm and Ralf Sunell joined the committee as expert advisory members in November 2020.
  • Prizes Committee: Anna Mauranen (chairman), Juha Kinnunen, Tuula Linna, Johanna Mappes and Jari Ojala. The committee’s secretary was Leila Sarajärvi.
  • Publications Committee: Risto Nieminen (chairman), Anna Mauranen (vice chairman), Frog (editor-in-chief of the FFC series), Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila (editor-in-chief of the Humaniora series), Olli Martio (editor-in-chief of the Mathematica series), and the Secretary General Pekka Aula. The committee’s secretary was Mika Koskenoja (editorial secretary of the Mathematica series).
  • Ethics Committee: Tuula Linna and Juha Kinnunen. A set of ethical principles for the Academy was proposed and approved at the Spring General Meeting.
  • The trustees of the Emil Aaltonen Fund were Pekka Ilmakunnas, Kimmo Kaski and the Secretary General, together with Olavi Nevanlinna, representing the Emil Aaltonen Foundation.

The members of the Selection Committee for the Section of the Humanities up until the Autumn General Meeting 2020 were Henry Bacon, Heikki Halila, Marja-Liisa Helasvuo, Petri Karonen (chairman), Anne Kovalainen, Jari Lavonen, Outi Merisalo and Virpi Mäkinen. At the Autumn Meeting Martti Nissinen and Päivi Pahta were elected as new members of the committee in place of Henry Bacon and Virpi Mäkinen.

The members of the Selection Committee for the Section of Science up until the Autumn General Meeting 2020 were Juha Kere (chairman), Erkki Korpimäki, Jouko Korppi-Tommola, Juha Pekka Lunkka, Kaisa Nyberg, Vieno Piironen, Asla Pitkänen and Kristiina Wähälä. At the Autumn Meeting Kari Enqvist and Ilkka Norros were elected as new members of the committee in place of Juha Pekka Lunkka and Kaisa Nyberg.


The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters distributed just over 2 million euros in grants in 2020, the majority being for post-graduate study, for which the value of an individual grant was 25 000 euros. In all those cases in which a grant was awarded for the completion of a doctorate within Finland an additional sum was paid directly to the university concerned to compensate for the costs involved. This amounted to 1600 euros in the case of a full year’s grant. No personal grants were awarded to Academy members.

Applications for grants were reviewed by experts appointed by the Governing Board who represented the highest expertise in the fields concerned, and the final decisions were made by the Board in the light of their recommendations. Attention was paid to the possibility of vested interests at both the review and decision stages in the case of the funds and foundations administered by the Academy.

This was the 56th time that grants for scientific research had been distributed by the Vilho, Yrjö and Kalle Väisälä Fund. A total of 282 applications had been received (313 in 2019) amounting to approx. 6.4 (6.7) million euros in all, out of which 59 (71) were approved, to a total value (including compensation payments to the universities) of approx.1.4 (1.4) million euros. These awards included 49 (45) post-graduate grants of 25 000 euros for full-time academic study for a duration of one year and 10 (13) for part of a year. In addition, 3 (8) recipients of post-graduate grants were also awarded travel grants and 1 (19) short-term grant was awarded for a visit. These grants totalled just over 6 900 (30 460) euros.

The Eino Jutikkala Fund was distributing grants for study in the humanities for the 13th time. For this purpose the fields of study belonging to the Section of the Humanities are nowadays divided into two parts, and this year only applications in the fields of archaeology, history, law and social sciences were invited. This led to a total of 299 applications (328 in 2019), amounting altogether to just over 7.7 (8) million euros. This procedure means, of course, that the statistics are not comparable between two consecutive years. Eventually 16 (17) awards were made from the Jutikkala Fund, totalling 429 000 (438 000) euros, all of which were for the commencement of doctoral studies.

The Academy’s Mathematics Fund distributed more than 10 500 euros in grants in 2020 (14 000 in 2019) and the Emil Öhmann Foundation, which is also administered by the Academy, distributed 45 000 (45 000) euros. In addition the Emil Öhmann Foundation made 2 (1) awards for financing short-term studies at the Finnish Institute in Berlin, together amounting to 3 000 (3 000) euros. The Hilkka and Otto Brusiin Foundation, which distributes grants only every second year, did so to a total of 30 000 euros this year (as also in 2018).

In 2020 the Academy took part for the fifth time in the post-doctoral scholarship pool established by the Council of Finnish Foundations, the total sum concerned being 200 000 euros. Since a certain proportion of the previous year’s post-doctoral applications had later been withdrawn, the actual grants distributed amounted to 154 000 euros from the Väisälä Fund and 82 000 euros from the Jutikkala Fund.

The Corona epidemic seriously detracted from the possibilities for recipients to make use of the grants they had received, especially where travel was involved, and it was decided they could postpone the use of travel money simply by informing the Academy of the fact, without submitting any formal application. Similarly it was possible to redirect the money awarded for travel to other forms of research work if the journey had to be cancelled entirely. There was no instance of a grant for research work being declined or interrupted because of the pandemic.

In response to a questionnaire administered to the recipients of grants at the end of April 2020 to assess the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on their work and mental health, the Academy was able to make adjustments to the conditions attached to the grants and offer an opportunity to apply for additional funding to meet the extra expenses involved. This resulted in emergency payments of 5 779 euros altogether to four recipients of grants from the Vilho, Yrjö and Kalle Väisälä Fund and 3 899 euros to three recipients of grants from the Eino Jutikkala Fund.

The Maupertuis Programme run jointly by the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, the French Institute in Finland, the French Embassy in Finland and the French Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation distributed international mobility finance in the form of 24 grants for bilateral visits by researchers and experts.


The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters Award for 2020, a sum of 30 000 euros, was presented to Academician Riitta Hari in recognition of her substantial achievements in the neurosciences. She was also presented with Academy Medal No. 32.

The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters Prize for the Humanities, amounting to 15 000 euros, was awarded to Ville Kivimäki, a researcher at the University of Tampere. This was 10th occasion on which the prize was awarded.

The Academy’s Väisälä Prizes for 2020 went to Professor Mikko Möttönen of the University of Tampere and Associate Professor Tuomas Orponen of the University of Jyväskylä. These prizes, each of 15 000 euros, were being awarded for the 21st time.

Meetings and events

The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters held its meetings in 2020 on the second Monday in each month except for January and the summer months, in the normal manner at first but by video conferencing from April onwards. These events gathered excellent audiences and aroused lively discussions over the video network. The January event was an Academy Open Day held in connection with the Night of Science.

Sectional meetings were held in connection with the monthly meeting in March 2020, but the statutory Spring Annual General Meeting, held eventually in September, and the Autumn Meeting in November both had to follow a “hybrid” format as permitted under the emergency legislation.

No public meetings were arranged under the auspices of the Maupertuis Programme during the year and all the planned visits of celebrated French scholars and scientists to Finland had to be cancelled on account of the epidemic.

In October, Academy members took part in a Nobel Prize discussion together with members of the other academies and representatives of the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. The event was streamed live from the Academy’s Väisälä Hall.

The Academy also took part in the planning of “Science Forum 2021”, being represented on the programme committee by Maria Lähteenmäki and on the steering committee by Pekka Aula.

A list of meetings and events is provided at the end of this page. Video recordings of these can be found on the Academy’s website.

The Sofi project

Work connected with the three-year Sofi (Science Advice Initiative of Finland) project launched jointly by Finland’s four academies of science with funding from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture continued throughout the year. The aims of the project are to develop a model for interaction between science and decision-making bodies in Finland, to strengthen dialogue between the scientific community and those responsible for decision-making within society and to generate and maintain discussions concerned with science advice and its future. The project is being coordinated by the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, so that it is taking place on the Academy’s premises and its secretarial work is being carried out by the Academy’s staff. It will also have a scientific mentor group which includes the following Academy members: Academician Eva-Mari Aro, University of Turku, Professor Marja Makarow, Biocentre Finland, Academician Ilkka Niiniluoto, University of Helsinki, and Kari Raivio, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Helsinki. For further information on the Sofi Project, see

Sofi activities during 2020 were concentrated on the constructing of international networks and the developing of models for the provision of science advice. In addition, the project supported the work of the Finnish government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, e.g. by helping to gather an advisory panel of scientists.

International activities

Contact to the international scientific organizations of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters partly took place under the auspices of the Council of Finnish Academies (CoFA), in which the Academy’s President was a member of the executive committee and the Academy’s Vice President acted as her deputy. The Secretary General was also a member of the executive committee, but without a vote. The Academy was represented on the CoFA International Affairs Committee (IAC) by its President, who also acted as chairman of that committee, and by Olavi Nevanlinna. The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters continued for a third year to be the academy chiefly responsible for CoFA affairs. The CoFA is playing an important part in the reform of the system of academies of science in Finland and will be crucial in determining the direction which this system takes in the future. The agreement reached on this matter means that the academies will participate more actively than ever in developing the scientific community and ensuring its greater internationalization.

Through the medium of CoFA, members of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters have come to occupy positions in many international academic organizations: Jukka Seppälä in EASAC, Anna Mauranen, Ahti Salo, Mari Vaattovaara and the Secretary General Pekka Aula in ISC, Mika Kajava in UAI, Jukka Kekkonen in the International Human Rights Network, Krista Varantola and Risto Kunelius in ALLEA, Jari Hämäläinen in Euro-CASE, Jukka Seppälä and Mikko Hupa in SAPEA and Olli Vapalahti in IAP.

Discussions were held with the French embassy and others regarding new forms of international cooperation, and contacts were also made with academies of science in various countries.

The Academy is also entitled to representation on various national committees. In the case of the committee for polar research (its representative in 2020 was Maria Lähteenmäki, with Juha Pekka Lunkka as his deputy, while the representative on the national committee for astronomy (IAU) was Karri Muinonen, and those on the committee for radio science (URSI) were Karri Muinonen and Esa Kallio, with Tuija Pulkkinen as their deputy. Kimmo Kahma was the representative on the national committee for marine research (SCOR), Juha Pekka Lunkka on that for Quaternary research (INQUA), Ilkka Norros on that for mechanics (IUTAM) and Juha Pekka Lunkka on that for geology.

The President took part in the annual meeting of the STS Forum and in a video conference of presidents of academies of science and letters held in October 2020.

In the course of the year the Academy proposed candidates for the Balzan Prize, the Gad Rausing Prize, the Holberg Prize, the Keio Medical Science Prize, the Nils Klim Prize and the Olav Thon Foundation’s International Research Award for Mathematics/Natural Sciences and Medicine.


The Autumn Meeting approved a proposal by the Governing Board, which was subsequently ratified by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office on 23rd November 2020, for an alteration to clause 4 of the Academy’s rules to allow a person of foreign nationality who is resident in Finland to be elected as a Finnish member.

The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters had 799 Finnish members and 176 external members at the end of 2020. Altogether 36 new Finnish members and 5 new external members were elected at the Spring Meeting on 4th September.

The new members elected to the Section of Science were Pekka Abrahamsson (University of Jyväskylä), Klaus Elenius (University of Turku), Liisa Holm (University of Helsinki), Markus Holopainen (University of Helsinki), Karoliina Honkala (University of Jyväskylä), Matti Hämäläinen (Harvard Medical School, USA), Kai Kaarniranta (University of Eastern Finland), Annika Kangas (Natural Resources Institute, Finland), Emilia Kilpua (University of Helsinki), Juhani Knuuti (University of Turku), Ilpo Kojola (Natural Resources Institute, Finland), Helena Korpelainen (University of Helsinki), Carita Kvarnström (University of Turku), Toni Laaksonen (University of Turku), Markus Linder (Aalto University), Petri Myllymäki (University of Helsinki), Mikko Salo (University of Jyväskylä), Samuli Siltanen (University of Helsinki), Jussi Taipale (University of Helsinki), Heikki Tanila (University of Eastern Finland), Anne Toppinen (University of Helsinki), Aleksi Vuorinen (University of Helsinki), Tapani Vuorinen (Aalto University), Markku YliHalla (University of Helsinki) and Jari YliKauhaluoma (University of Helsinki).

The new members elected to the Section of the Humanities were Jari Eloranta (University of Helsinki), Pentti Haddington (University of Oulu), Visa Immonen (University of Turku), Johanna Niemi (University of Turku), Juha Pakkala (University of Helsinki), Christina Salmivalli (University of Turku), Kirsi Salonen (University of Turku), Otto Toivanen (Aalto University), Auli Toom (University of Helsinki), Kaius Tuori (University of Helsinki) and Martti Vainio (University of Helsinki). The new external members elected were Nikolay Kuznetsov (St. Petersburg University, Russia), Louis J. Muglia (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, USA), Douglas Robinson (Lingnan University and Hong Kong Baptist University, China), Jeffrey Shallit (Waterloo University, Canada) and Jan M. Ziolkowski (Harvard University, USA).

The Academy mourned the deaths of the following members during the year: Erik Allardt, Pekka Häyry, Antero Jyränki, Alpo Kallio, Reino Kero, Erkki Koskela, Olli Lehto, Pertti Neuvonen, Arne Rousi, Hannu Soikkanen and Raimo Tuomela.

News was also received of the deaths of the external members Erik Grafarend, Walter Hayman, Jerzy Jankowski, Lud’a Klusáková, Werner Krawietz, Jorma Rissanen, Richard West and Arne Öhmann.

Young Academy Finland

2020 was the third full year of activities for the Young Academy Finland (YAF), founded with the aim of promoting science and academic studies, especially from the viewpoint of young researchers who are at an early stage in their career. The chairman of its committee was Jenni Raitoharju of the Finnish Environment Institute. The Young Academy had a total of 79 members and 16 alumni.

The Young Academy Finland project was to a great extent made possible by a donation of a million euros to the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation in 2017, enabling a separate Emil Aaltonen Fund to be set up for this specific purpose. The Young Academy functions in association with the Academy proper but issues its own annual reports.


In 2020 the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters published a total of 66 papers in the two Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae series, Mathematica and Humaniora, and in Folklore Fellows’ Communications (FFC), in addition to the FF Network magazine and Finnish and English versions of the Academy’s Yearbook.

The yearbooks and the publications in the Mathematica series are freely available.

The chairman of the Publications Committee was Risto Nieminen and the vice chairman Anna Mauranen. The other members were Frog (editor-in-chief of the FFC series), Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila (editor-in-chief of the Humaniora series), Olli Martio (editor-in-chief of the Mathematica series), and the Secretary General Pekka Aula. The secretary of the Publications Committee was Mika Koskenoja, editorial secretary of the Mathematica series. The committee met twice during the year. The reform of the Academy’s publishing activities begun in 2019 was completed in 2020, the outcome being the transfer of responsibility for the Mathematica and FFC series to the Kalevala Society and discontinuation of the Humaniora series at the end of 2020. Work continued during the year on developing a new series of publications known simply as Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae, the first editors-in-chief of which were to be Anna Mauranen and Risto Nieminen.

The Academy received 110 000 euros (111 000 euros in 2019) in government assistance for its publications in 2020, while the incomes from sales amounted to approx. 25 500 (approx. 21 000) euros. Distribution of the Academy’s publications on an exchange basis took place through the Exchange Centre for Scientific Literature run by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. The Academy had 290 (302) overseas exchange partners at the end of the year, and a total of 741 (756) copies were sent out in this way.

The joint publishing committee of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters met once in 2020.

The customary presentation of the Väisälä Prizes in December was streamed live from Hotel Kämp’s Symposion Room. The Corona restrictions were also reflected in the fact that one of the prizewinners attended by means of distance conferencing. The photo shows Professor Mikko Möttönen and Assoc. Professor Tuomas Orponen.

Strategic planning

The Governing Board continued with its strategic planning by updating the Academy’s strategy for the period 2021–2024. The nucleus of this strategy lies in the valuable nature of scientific knowledge. It is of value, both in itself and as a source for creating further value, for society, for various communities and for individuals. At the heart of this valuable knowledge lie a quest for truth, the achievement of education and equality and the creation of universal opportunities for living a good life. Scientific knowledge is open to all, belongs to everybody, is independent and knows no boundaries, and its source is to be found in forms of science and learning that are durable, have an impact on the community and are subject to constant renewal.


The main channels for the Academy’s external communications during the year consisted of its own electronic media, the use of which was expanded in response to the COVID epidemic. The main forums were its own website on the Internet together with its Twitter account, Facebook pages and Youtube channel. Greater efficiency continued to be achieved by using a press release service and adopting a more active attitude towards interest groups, and also by monitoring the media publicity achieved in these ways. Attention was also paid to the dissemination of scientific information, and particularly the impact of published research results. The Academy was able to increase its visibility relative to the situation in the previous year, especially in the social media and professional publications. One significant factor in this was the recruitment of a part-time specialist in science communication in autumn 2020. A joint communications group for the Academy itself and its CoFA, YAF and Sofi interests was also organized during the year.

At the same time experiments were carried out with the intensified use of audiovisual productions, either streamed directly or distributed as recordings. For example, members received a video recording of a Christmas greeting from the Academy’s President for the first time ever in December 2020, and the advisory group distributed video material to a wide audience on the Internet. Similarly, some of the Academy’s monthly meetings were relayed to members directly as professional productions and the resulting recordings are still available at present on its web site.

The Academy continued to develop and adopt network-based communications media and collaboration platforms for its own internal use.

Economics and the administration of assets

The Property Management Committee, which advises the Governing Board on financial matters, consisted of Anna Mauranen, Kimmo Kaski, Pekka Ilmakunnas, Pekka Aula and Tuula Linna, with Anders Ekholm and Ralf Sunell joining it as expert advisors in November 2020. The Academy’s assets were managed in accordance with the 2017 revision of the investment strategies for the Academy itself, its separate funds and the foundations that it administers.

The total value of the investments held in the name of the Academy and its various funds at the end of 2020 was approximately 197 million euros (174 million euros at the end of the previous year), with a further sum of more than 4 million euros in the hands of the foundations administered by it.

These investments, comprising portfolios of shares and bonds, shares in Vaisala Oyj and alternative investments, were managed by Nordea and Evli. All the offices at Mariankatu 5 in Helsinki are now owned directly by the Academy’s Väisälä and Jutikkala Funds, while otherwise most of the Academy’s property investments are in eQ unit trusts. The other alternative capital investments are in private assets funds, principally the Hamilton Lane Club Fund.

In spite of the uncertainty aroused by the COVID pandemic, share prices began to recover in the course of the year. Total returns on investments, including dividends, interests, rents and property values, but excluding the Vaisala Oy shares, were nevertheless about 6.5% (as compared with about 21% in 2019), while the Vaisala Oyj shares increased substantially in value, so that the overall returns for the year were approx. 16% (46% in the previous year).

The auditor of the Academy’s accounts and administrative procedures in 2020 was the chartered accountant Professor Markku Koskela, with the chartered accountant Riku Kärnä as his deputy.


The Academy’s Secretary General was Professor Pekka Aula, the Administrative Manager Leila Sarajärvi, M.A., and the Administrative Secretary Nina Rapelo, M.A. The Administrative Assistant was Suvi Salmi, B.B.A., the temporary scientific coordinator of the panel of COVID experts from June 2020 onwards was Rosa Rantanen, D.Soc.Sc., and the half-time (50%) science communicator was Klaus Elfving (M.Soc. Sc.). The part-time Secretary (70%) for the Young Academy (YAF) was Johanna Ketola, M.Soc.Sc., until 22nd September and thereafter Katja Kujanpää, D.Theol., (30%). Arto Miettinen, Ph.D., began work on 1st March as CoFA Secretary within the Academy’s administration, while the Scientific Secretary throughout the year was Veera Launis, M.A. The Secretary General acted as administrative head of the CoFA office. Dr. Jaakko Kuosmanen occupied the position of Academy Secretary within the Sofi Project, with Nanna Särkkä, M.Soc.Sc., as a science communicator.

The Administrative Manager attended training meetings connected with the employment legislation, employee welfare and the responsible organization of events, and also seminars in relevant fields. The Administrative Secretary attended training meetings on communications, publishing and the processing of grant applications. In addition, the staff attended information sessions and seminars arranged by cooperative work organizations. The Academy staff together with those working for the Sofi project, CoFA and YAF moved to the second floor of the building in Mariankatu in March 2020.

The Academy paid salaries or fees to a total of 38 persons during the year.

Other activities

The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters has representatives on the committees and working groups of many institutions and organizations both at home and abroad, and the Governing Board put a number of Academy members forward for such positions during the year 2020.

The President Anna Mauranen was the Academy’s representative in the International Affairs Forum for Higher Education and Research set up by the Ministry of Education and Culture for the years 2020– 2023.

The Academy was represented on the board of the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies by Arto Haapala, with Elina Ikonen as his deputy, and Anna Mauranen, with Kimmo Kaski as her deputy. Pekka Ilmakunnas represented the Academy at the Federation’s spring meeting in March 2020 and the autumn meeting in September, and Risto Nieminen was its representative on the steering committee of the Federation’s publishing forum.

The Academy was represented on the governing board of the Alfred Kordelin Foundation by Jukka Seppälä, with Keijo Hämäläinen as his deputy, and Hannu Riikonen, with Mari Vaattovaara as his deputy, and in the foundation’s science section by Seppo Hentilä (until 6th Novermber) and Sami Pihlström (from 7th November onwards), with Tuomas Forsberg as their deputy, and Eija Kalso, with Hilkka Soininen as her deputy. Its representative in the popular education section was Markku Löytönen, with Risto Nieminen as his deputy, the representative in the literature section was Heta Pyrhönen, with Marjatta Palander as her deputy, and that in the arts section Ville Lukkarinen, with Annika Waenerberg as his deputy.

The Academy’s representatives on the Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publications Committee were Jaana Bäck and Jukka Jernvall, while Tapio Raunio represented the Academy in the Foundation for Foreign Policy Research. The representative on the committee of the Council of Finnish Foundations’ post-doc pool was Anna Mauranen, with Kaisa Nyberg as her deputy, and the Secretary General Pekka Aula served as the Academy’s representative on the national LUMA consultative committee. Anna Mauranen was nominated by the Academy as a board member of the Foundation for Promoting the Impact of Research.

The following members were serving on Academy of Finland research councils at the end of 2020: Sami Pihlström, Petri Karonen and Petri Kuoppamäki on the Council for Culture and Society, Reko Leino and Petri Pellikka on the Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering, and Esa Korpi, Kristiina Kruus, Jussi Kukkonen, Heli Peltola and Ursula Schwab on the Council for the Biosciences, Health and the Environment. Of these, Reko Leino, Sami Pihlström and Ursula Schwab acted as chairman of their committee. In addition, Kimmo Nuotio was chairman of the Council for Strategic Research.

Pekka Ilmakunnas represented the Academy at the Annual Meeting of the Mariankatu 5-7 property company in March. Pekka Aula sits on the board of that company.

Pekka Aula was the Academy’s representative at the annual meeting of the Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publications Committee in March, and at the spring and autumn meetings of the Committee for Funds and Foundations, Pekka Ilmakunnas was its representative at the shareholders’ meeting of Vaisala Oyj in April, and Kimmo Kontula was a patron of the Finnish LUMA Centre’s StarT Project.

The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters had been intimately involved in the mentoring programme for researchers arranged jointly by the Academy of Finland and the Council of Finnish Academies in 2017–2019, for which Olavi Nevanlinna was chairman of the steering committee and Pekka Aula a member of that committee. A feedback questionnaire administered at the beginning of 2020 indicated that most people had been satisfied with the programme and felt that it had been useful.

During the year the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters took part in a project to determine the state and developmental needs of science diplomacy in Finland. The project was carried out in conjunction with the Frisky & Anjoy organization and financed by the government as part of its analysis, assessment and research activities. A report on the project is due to be published in spring 2021.


Meetings and event 2020

16th January: Open day at the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters as part of the Night of Science 2020 programme

  • Science Unplugged: Kimmo Kaski and Anna Mauranen
  • Historical tours of the Academy’s premises

10th February: Thematic Meeting: Science diplomacy

  • Johanna Sumuvuori, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: A perspective on science diplomacy
  • Prof. Martti Koskenniemi, University of Helsinki: Diplomacy and the social sciences in the age of populism
  • Academician Markku Kulmala, University of Helsinki: Science diplomacy as a tool for responding to global challenges

9th March: Thematic Meeting: Infectious diseases

  • Prof. Heikki Peltola, University of Helsinki: Can infectious diseases lead to the destruction of mankind?
  • Dr. Tuuli Koivu, D.Sc. (Econ. & Bus. Adm.), chief economist, Nordea Bank: The COVID virus has spread to the economy

4th September: Spring General Meeting

  • Presentation of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters Award and Medal No. 32 to Academician Riitta Hari, Aalto University
  • The presentation lecture was postponed until the Spring Meeting 2021
  • Spring Meeting: discussions and decisions on statutory matters, Governing
  • Board proposal for a change in the rules (1st hearing), ethical principles for the Academy

14th September: Thematic Meeting: Covid-19, science and crisis management

  • Panel discussion: Prof. Anna Mauranen, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters; Academician Eva-Mari Aro, University of Turku; Academician Ilkka Niiniluoto, University of Helsinki; Academician Risto Nieminen, Aalto University
  • The discussion was streamed live. A recording is available for the present on the Academy’s website

20th October: Thematic Meeting: An Evening with the Humanities

  • Presentation of the Prize for the Humanities to Ville Kivimäki, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Tampere
  • Panel discussion chaired by Klaus Elfving: Prof. Anna Mauranen, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters; Ville Kivimäki, Senior Research Fellow, University of Tampere; Prof. Kaius Tuori, University of Helsinki
  • The discussion was streamed live. A recording is available for the present on the Academy’s website

28th October: Nobel prize discussion

  • Arranged jointly with the other academies and Helsingin Sanomat and streamed live from the Väisälä Room at the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters
  • Expert introductions to the work leading to Nobel Prizes in 2020, the recipients, their achievements and the significance of their work
  • The discussion was streamed live. A recording is available for the present on the Academy’s website

9th November: Autumn General Meeting

  • Autumn Meeting: discussions and decisions on statutory matters, approval of the Governing Board’s proposal for a change in the rules (2nd hearing)

14th December: An Evening with the Mathematical and Physical sciences

  • Presentation of Väisälä Prizes to Prof. Mikko Möttönen, Aalto University and VTT, and Assoc. Prof. Tuomas Orponen, University of Jyväskylä
  • Panel discussion: Prof. Anna Mauranen, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters; Prof. Marja Makarow (Biocentre Finland and the recipients of the Väisälä Prizes
  • The discussion was streamed live. A recording is available for the present on the Academy’s website: