Greetings from the CEO
During the new strategy period that began in 2016, our goal is to integrate university campuses even more closely into their surrounding economic areas.
University Properties of Finland Ltd had a busy year in 2016. Our customer base grew and became even more diverse. When we began our operations in 2010 we had ten customers. Today, we serve about 100 different customers, including not only universities but also businesses.
We began our company’s second strategy period following the Board of Directors’ approval of our new strategy for the period 2016–2019. In the new strategy period, we will place even greater focus on closely integrating university campuses into their surrounding economic areas.
Achieving this goal requires, among other things, structures and services that enable lifelong learning. Learning facilities must be utilised more efficiently and ecologically than they are now. This would support the utilisation of educational resources on a broad basis and through changes in the operating environment.
Through the renewal of our organisation, we will respond to the challenges presented by universities seeking to increase spatial efficiency as well as restructuring measures that are specific to certain fields of education. Space will be freed up on campuses for new tenants, and the diversification of our customer base drives the renewal of our operating methods and processes.
Our activities under the new strategy began right from the start of the year and included, among other things, the planning of our new organisational model. Rental operations will be split off in 2017 into a separate function responsible for the occupancy rate of premises as well as business development on campuses.
Our customer base grew and became even more diverse in 2016.
Vibrant campuses attract new users
One of our most significant achievements in 2016 was bringing universities of applied sciences and knowledge-intensive businesses to university campuses. More and more of our campuses are now vibrant and attractive multi-user campuses.
Our success has been noticed in Finland as well as abroad.
Kampusareena, which brings together the university community and the business sector at the Tampere University of Technology campus in Hervanta, was recognised as the year’s best property project at the Property 600 Minutes event. The newly constructed Ruusupuisto building at the University of Jyväskylä has been recognised as a world-class university building and it has risen to the top of the Leesman index.
One of our most significant achievements in 2016 was bringing universities of applied sciences and knowledge-intensive businesses to university campuses.
More structural reforms to come
In future, our operating environment will be strongly influenced by the economic climate. The coming years will bring structural reforms that will significantly change society. The university reform that took effect in 2010 was one of the first of these large-scale reforms.
I believe that we will see similar developments in the reform of the Finnish health and social service system. For now, at least, it appears to be following the university reform model with respect to property assets.
On campuses, we expect that universities and universities of applied sciences will engage in even closer cooperation and also increase their collaboration with governmental sector research institutes.
While the emphasis of our research and development activities has been on learning environments in recent years, our focus going forward will be particularly on research environments and the development of cooperation with the business sector. An excellent example of business-driven research, development and innovation is our Kampusareena building, which brings the university and businesses under one roof.
The year 2017 promises to be interesting and busy. We have major investments underway in Turku and Lappeenranta. Plans concerning the Oulu University of Applied Sciences moving to the university campus will also primarily be made during 2017.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers and partners for their trust and successful cooperation over the past year. I also want to recognise our personnel for their commitment to developing our operations and delivering excellent customer service.