Approximately 2,500 professors are currently employed by the universities in Finland. In accordance with the Universities Act (Yliopistolaki 558/2009), professors shall promote and supervise scientific research and artistic work, provide higher education based thereon, monitor scientific and artistic developments, and participate in social interaction within their field and contribute to international co-operation.  

The post of professorship shall be publicly advertised as being vacant when the post is to be filled on the terms of an employment relationship that is valid until further notice. The professorship may also be filled by invite when a distinguished individual can be called to fill the post or the post is being filled for a fixed term. The post may only be filled by invite if the individual in question undeniably fulfils the qualification requirements. The specific qualification requirements are determined by the guiding principles of each university.

In the view of the Finnish Union of University Professors, expert advice on the selection of a professor can only be provided by a professor. It is the opinion of the Finnish Union of University Professors that a student representative may take part in the evaluation of candidates’ teaching skills as part of the process of selecting professors. The participation of a student representative in other aspects of the selection process should be considered with moderation. In particular, a student representative shall not participate in the evaluation of a professor candidate's scientific/artistic merit.

A university can grant an individual employed in its service the right to use the title of Professor (Universities Act 558/2009). The President of the Republic can grant the honorary title of Professor to one who is not officially employed in such a post (Presidential Decree on Titles 381/20 April 2000).

The duties of professors and military professors in the National Defence University and the procedure for filling of the post of professor, military professor, associate professor, and associate military professor at the National Defence University are stipulated in the Act on the Defence Forces.

Issues concerning professors who are employed at research facilities are regulated in accordance with the rules and regulations of the research institute in question.

All research posts within the Academy of Finland (Academy professors and researchers) will cease once the new Act regarding the Academy of Finland (Akatemialaki 922/2009) enters into force, but both types of posts will remain as special forms of financing for the Academy. Academy professors and researchers will then be employed by those organisations in which their research posts are positioned.  

The Union’s understanding is that only those holding the title of ‘professor’ are considered as professors intended by the law.

In addition, academy professors and research professors are professors as intended by the law.

In the tenure track systems, an individual is a professor as intended by the law when they have reached the stage and title of a professor (‘full professor’). 

In all cases, it is required that the professor’s competence has been assessed through peer evaluations.