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Ilkka Herlin

Ilkka Heikki Herlin
Born January 25th, 1959, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1990 and PhD 1993 ( Finnish and Scandinavian History), University of Helsinki

Chairman of the board and principal owner 2005–, Cargotec
Founder and chairman of the board 2008–, Baltic Sea Action Group
Founder and chairman of the board 2015–, Soilfood

Researcher 1993–2000, University of Helsinki and the Academy of Finland
CEO 1987-200, Security Trading

Chairman of the funding and donations committee 2014–, University of Helsinki
Vice-chairman of the advisory board 2011–, Aleksanteri Institute
Chairman 2009–, Finland-China Trade Association
Chairman of the board 2005–, Wipunen varainhallinta oy
Board member 2005–, D-sijoitus Oy
Board member 2005, Mariatorp Oy
Board Member 2005–2011, Finnish Foundation for Share Promotion
Board Member 2005–2008, John Nurminen Foundation
Board Member 2005, chairman 2000–2005, WIP Asset Management
Board Member 1990–2000, Kone Corporation

Awards and honours:
Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, third class, 2010
Honorary PhD 2012, Lappeenranta University of Technology
Honorary PhD 2012, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki

Photo: Vesa Brandt
Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by Matthew Billington

Making Researchers’ Voices Heard and Highlighting Research Applications

Ilkka Herlin thinks that universities are an important element of society. The business world needs universities—the talent and the knowledge.

– It is important for the success of both Cargotec and the Baltic Sea Action Group that they work together with institutes of higher education. I believe that you should always rely on the best possible information available. That information comes from researchers.

It is not unusual for Herlin to share his expertise to aid others. He is, however, careful about which projects he signs up for.

– You should never promise something that you don’t have the time to do properly. I am particular with my time. In fact, all my social activism at the moment occurs through my work. When it comes to Cargotec, our main collaborator is Tampere University of Technology. For the Baltic Sea project I have sought as wide a range of collaborators as possible.

At the moment, Herlin is also the chairman of the fundraising committee for the 375th anniversary of the University of Helsinki. However, he firmly refused when first offered the position.

– I felt that I did not have enough time to spare on university fundraising. Chancellor Thomas Wilhelmsson, however, did not give up, and finally I relented and agreed to participate.

Herlin is glad to see that the University is investing in fundraising, which will better allow them to raise public awareness of research. He would also like sales pitches to be more research oriented.

– The spotlight should be on researchers. It should be through their voices that we learn of the benefits of their research and the different applications that research will have in society. Fundraising can be successful even in tough economic times if you stay focused on the essentials.

Herlin believes that the Faculty of Arts should remind the Finnish public of the role humanities have had in building this country.

– Those who have studied the humanities have a lot to offer, including potential solutions for the changing challenges of both the present day and the times to come. Fundraisers need to believe in their own cause and give concrete examples, and donors will in turn start to believe in and support their activities.

Ilkka Herlin speaking at the University of Helsinki Think Corner. Photo by Toni Rönni.


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