The Agora Center, established in 2002 as an independent institute, has been a national pioneer and a flagship of broad interdisciplinary collaboration and societal interaction for the university. Over the last 15 years, the Agora Center has initiated and developed new models of operations and collaboration, approaches that have been applied as well in universities internationally. The new models of interdisciplinary operations gaining increasing interest in Finland and abroad include the agile project planning, execution, and commercialization of interdisciplinary research projects; development of internal and external networks; and facilitating interdisciplinary, multicultural co-creation. The impact of the Agora Center's research is visible in significant cooperative operations with, among others, the City of Jyväskylä, the Central Finland Health Care District, and a diversity of enterprises in the region.
The Agora Center operations continue to be economically profitable and successful in regard to academic measures. During its time of operation, the institute has arranged for external funding to more than 600 persons employed in research positions, including experts from all seven faculties of the university, and supported the completion of over 70 Ph.D. dissertations as well as scores of master's theses. Additionally, the Agora Center has been active in finding new international funding opportunities and has been awarded research grants from the Academy of Finland, European Union, and Tekes.
The success of the Agora Center and the growing trend towards emphasis on an interdisciplinary perspective and the societal impact of research have raised the motivation of the university's administration toward adopting the developed practices within the mainstream faculty operations. Through the announced operations reorganization, the University Board aims to provide improved support to all faculties of the university in regard to project planning and administration, including interdisciplinary projects.
From the beginning of 2017, the operations of the independent institute Agora Center will end and all personnel will move to a faculty, other independent institute, or the university service operations. Detailed planning will be made as part of the structural development of the support services. The internal reorganization of the financing models will ensure incentives for interdisciplinary research.
Agora Center Director, Professor Pasi Tyrväinen, p. +358 40 540 8646, firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Planning and Development, Päivi Fadjukoff, p. +358 50 518 1410, email@example.com
Regarding the University Board decision: Rector Matti Manninen, p. +358 40 680 0215, firstname.lastname@example.org