Each year, the Finnish Centre for Pensions grants an award to a distinguished master’s thesis on a topic of interest to pension provision that was accepted at a Finnish university in the previous calendar year.

The award is 2,000 euros.

The aim of the reward is to encourage students to write a thesis on pension provision and to promote the teaching and research on pensions carried out at universities in Finland.

Applying for the Pro Gradu Award

The 2024 Pro Gradu Award is now open for application. A committee appointed by the Finnish Centre for Pensions will select the winner of the award. Nominations for the Pro Gradu Award are to be sent by e-mail to tutkimus(at)etk.fi by 15 March 2024. Please attach the thesis (pdf or link) and its evaluation to the nomination. The winner will be announced in May or June 2024.

The award can be granted to a masters’ thesis that was accepted at one of the universities in Finland in 2023. The thesis can be written within the fields of history, mathematics, law, social policy, sociology, economics, statistics, insurance, communication or demography.

Both the authors and their supervisors and examiners can nominate the work for the award.

Previous awards

The winner of the 2022 Pro Gradu Award was announced on 25 May 2023. The winner is Ozan Yanar (Master of Business Administration, Aalto University).

In his master’s thesis for Aalto University, he has examined the 2011 guarantee pension reform and which population groups the guarantee pension focused on. He also analyses how the reform was reflected in the pension income, key benefits and disposable income of guarantee pension recipients.

This year, Timo Viherkenttä (LL.D) evaluated the theses nominated for the Pro Gradu Award. Viherkenttä says that what’s particularly awarding about Yanar’s thesis is its review of the guarantee pension as a part of the total income formation of the income earner.

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The winner of the 2021 Pro Gradu Award was announced on 1 June 2022. The winner is Heidi Tuohimaa (M.Soc.Sc., University of Lapland).

Heidi Tuohimaa has examined the news coverage of earnings-related pension insurance companies and the related framework in Finland’s largest daily paper Helsingin Sanomat. The aim of her thesis was to explore if the earnings-related pension field is pronouncedly negative or sensitive to the news coverage of the pension field or whether the news are, in fact, rather neutral.

This year, Jukka Kivekäs (D.Med.Sc, docent of insurance medicine) evaluated the theses nominated for the Pro Gradu Award. According to him, Tuohimaa’s research brings new perspectives to the discussion of the earnings-related pension field and its analysis.

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The winner of the 2020 Pro Gradu Award was announced on 31 May 2021. The winner is Jonathan Strömberg (University of Oulu).

In his master’s thesis, Strömberg compares the Finnish pension system with the two top pension systems: the Danish and the Dutch. At the same time, he looked for answers relating to the financial sustainability of pension systems. These questions are traditional topics in studies and projections within the pension field. According to Jukka Rantala, who selected the winner of the 2020 Award, Strömberg’s thesis deals with a central totality of the earnings-related pension system and examines the most important factors affecting the system’s financial stability.

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The 2019 Pro Gradu Award was awarded on 2 June 2020 to Jussi Karhunen (Tampere University). In his thesis on public law, Karhunen examined how lobbying organisations that represent the young affected the 2017 pension reform.

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The 2018 Pro Gradu Award was awarded on 23 May 2019 to Natalia Edelmann (Tampere University). Edelmann used statistical methods to investigate factors that affect the success of rehabilitation within the earnings-related pension system.

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The 2017 Pro Gradu Award was awarded on 30 May 2018 to Piia Vehkoja (University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research). Vehkoja’s pro gradu thesis reviewed the European Union’s policies and measures within the field of pension policy.

Finnish Centre for Pensions – Central body of and expert on statutory earnings-related pensions