2014 was the first proper operating year for the merged Lapland University of Applied Sciences. The new university of applied sciences got off to a good start both operationally and financially. Its attractiveness and number of applicants topped those of the old universities of applied sciences put together. The financial result for the financial period was also clearly positive, giving an important boost to the Lapland University of Applied Sciences Ltd. This will make it much easier to face the decreased funding in the coming years. The good financial performance in 2014 also confirms our capability for development, maintenance of the RDI project volume and sufficient ability to invest in the educational framework to maintain our competitiveness.
Creating something new is always a challenging process, especially when it means two separate organisations fusing to form one entity. Although creating a new organisational culture will take years, the start of our new university of applied sciences has been surprisingly fast and smooth. The management, personnel and students have done a lot of great work to make this impressive progression possible. We also have made historical moves in terms of the whole field of universities of applied sciences, for which we have received recognition and support from the Ministry of Education and Culture and our other stakeholders. The courage that is characteristic to Lapland to make anticipatory, unorthodox and hard decisions to develop and safeguard the education of universities of applied sciences under heavy pressures to cut costs has already borne fruit. We can be proud of our decisions and actions.
The higher education field will probably continue to undergo changes, just like society in general. In order to fare well in terms of competition and financing, we need to run faster in order to meet our most vital performance targets. The thorough application of our Vitality through the Arctic Factor strategy throughout the university is essential in order to see good results. The successful year 2014 infused us with a lot of faith in our work and ability to continue to thrive in the future. For this, I want to express heart-felt thanks to our personnel, students, customers, owners and board members along with all our partners. We definitely have the Northern Factor!