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Niklas Jensen-Eriksen

Born July 22, 1974.

MA (general history) 1998, University of Helsinki; MPSc  (political science) 2008, University of Helsinki; PhD  (economic history) 2004, London School of Economics and Political Science

Professor of Business History, University of Helsinki 2013-
Researcher 1999-2002 and  2003-04 (University of Helsinki), postdoctoral researcher in 2004-08
Special researcher 2008-09 (Finnish National Archives)
Adjunct professor of European history, University of Helsinki 2009-
Postdoctoral researcher 2009-11 (University of Helsinki)
Academy of Finland researcher 2012-13

Publications, research projects and other scientific activity
Research areas: business and economic history of the Cold War period, business/government relations, forest industries, energy industries, cartels, economic regulation, business history of media

Awards and special achievements:
The TUHAT award of the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki, for publications in 2014

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by: Niklas Jensen Eriksen and Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta (ed.)
Translated by: John Calton

My thoughts on the University

The University is a fine institution, one that should be invented if it didn't already exist. There is always need for an institution where the goal is to get to the bottom of things, not just how people think or might claim things are, or how some figure of authority dictates you should think.

Action is rooted in critical thinking, which is not a prescription for negativity and certainly not for cynicism; the objective is to find out if claims made and information provided are credible. This principle can be applied, indeed should be applied, to the output of the academic world as well.

As I see it, the University has always been a fascinating combination of critical thinking and idealism. We analyse with precision the objects of our research, often find our initial understanding to be wrong and have to toss the research findings in the bin. But we are driven by our idealistic belief in our ability to generate something of importance.

And idealism is essential, since it is one of the world’s most important resources. As Henry Kissinger said at US Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller’s memorial service, “cynics do not build cathedrals.” Nothing worthwhile will be achieved without a decent dose of idealism. Only then, as you’re putting the building blocks in place, should realism enter the picture.

​Photo: Ari Aalto​




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