The Heikki Waris Institute is a joint research and development structure of municipalities in the Helsinki metropolitan area and the discipline of social work at the University of Helsinki. The Institute is a home for innovative practice teaching, research and development of the social welfare sector and social work service practices. It provides a creative, dialogical cooperation arena for students, practitioners, researchers, teachers and service users.
The Institute is dedicated to producing new information for the research-based development of the social and health care sector. Furthermore, it aims at promoting professional practices based on research data in cooperation with the municipalities in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The activities contribute to the third mission of universities – university–society interaction – and to the operational strategies of the cities.
The Institute is a part of Socca, the Centre of Expertise on Social Welfare in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. It also cooperates with various other parties, such as the Mathilda Wrede Institute, other centres of expertise on social welfare, the Kalliola Settlement and universities of applied sciences.
The Heikki Waris Institute’s operations are financed by the participating municipalities and the University of Helsinki. In addition, the Institute applies for external funding for its R&D activities.
The Institute’s employees at the University of Helsinki are Mirja Satka, Professor of Social Work Practice Research; University Lecturers Aino Kääriäinen, Maija Jäppinen and Maria Tapola-Haapala; and Development Manager of Socca Laura Yliruka and Praxis coordinator Jenika Heinonen.