We (the University of Helsinki) take particular pride in our new Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, also known as HELSUS. HELSUS forms an international hub for researchers focusing on sustainability, and Arctic research is one of five key research themes. HELSUS provides an interdisciplinary platform and an innovative take on Arctic research in relation to natural environments as well as socio-political ones.

Another initiative is INAR, the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research, a world-class multi and interdisciplinary research unit. Led by Professor Markku Kulmala, it performs research from the molecular to the global scale and focuses on climate change, air quality, biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem processes.

Though the University of Helsinki's coordinates (60◦ 10 1.2 N, 24◦ 57 18E) fall just below the Arctic Circle, we are fully committed to Arctic research. It is thus a particular pleasure for us to have the privilege to co-host the UArctic 2018 Congress with the University of Oulu. We are planning a programme of fascinating panel sessions and keynote presentations for researchers and all others with an interest in the Arctic. Former Finnish President, Tarja Halonen (2000-2012), will share her insights on gender, alongside Professors Kirsten Hastrup (University of Copenhagen) and Atte Korhola (University of Helsinki) with a focus on sustainability and the environment. There will be exciting side events, such as an Arctic Expedition for students - stay tuned for full details! 

While delegates will be working hard during the Congress, we have not forgotten about relaxation. On Thursday evening, we welcome you all to an Arctic party held at our new Think Corner; an inspiring event and meeting place that showcases science and research. On Friday evening, we will enjoy the hospitality of the Mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori, at a City Hall reception. Finally, on Saturday, you can take time to explore our charming capital or join one of the social excursions on offer. How about a Finnish Wild Herb Sauna, followed by a dip in the pool in the very heart of Helsinki?

I warmly welcome you to Helsinki in order to experience how Arctic research, resilience and creativity come together in our beautiful city.

Jukka Kola

Rector, University of Helsinki