International collaboration is an integral and statutory element of THL’s daily expert work and activities. THL’s international activities include

  • influencing decision-making and supporting the rules-based international system (UN organisations, the EU)
  • international expert activities and cooperation
  • international development cooperation
  • international research activities
  • international official duties
  • cooperation related to international information management models and tasks.

Our goal is to promote the achievement of the globally adopted Sustainable Development Goals.
Read more about our sustainability report

Research collaboration

THL works in the international research field in collaboration with other research operators, networks, partners and decision-makers. THL’s researchers and specialists are part of extensive networks both in the scientific community and in organisations in their fields.

Many research topics related to health and welfare require or at least benefit from an international perspective. In fact, half of the scientific research at THL is carried out through international collaboration. Moreover, THL takes actively part in the development of research infrastructures.

THL also receives international funding, and the European Union is one of the most significant sources of external research funding.

Research at THL

Development cooperation

THL has extensive experience in development cooperation, and it is a globally recognised expert organisation in the development of the social welfare and health care sector.

We plan and implement development projects in Finland's neighbouring states, transition economies and developing countries as chargeable activities.

We are a key player in many projects, including the Twinning programme, which develops good public governance in countries covered by the enlargement and neighbourhood policy of the European Union, as well as in other international partner countries.

Further information

Please contact THL by e-mail international(at), if you need more information about THL’s international development activities and partnerships, or if you are looking for a cooperation partner.

International Affairs Team

International consulting for health and social sector development

Preparing for communicable diseases and environmental threats

THL monitors, assesses, and prevents environmental threats and communicable diseases in cooperation with various international actors. At the EU level, we collaborate most extensively with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Environment Agency (EEA), and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Our websites on this topic:

Cooperation on statistics

THL cooperates actively with the Nordic countries and the EU on statistics, registers and standardisation. We work closely with the statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). We collect Nordic statistics on alcohol use, perinatal deaths and abortions, and participate in the international monitoring of congenital malformations.

We provide social and health statistics to the statistical committees of the Nordic Council of Ministers, to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN.

International statistics

Strategic frameworks of THL's international activities

We comply in all our international activities with the international conventions adopted by Finland and, in particular, with the national guidelines issued by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Moreover, our activities are steered by, for example, the Sustainable Development Goals included in the 2030 Agenda, which we promote by taking actively part in the development cooperation on social welfare and health care services.

Strategic frameworks of THL's international activities


THL’s most important international partners include decision-makers, researchers, and social welfare and health care experts who work either in the public sector or in research institutions, organisations, and companies.

In addition to Nordic cooperation, our most important forums for expert cooperation include the EU and its departments and agencies, UN organisations, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and our sister institutions in different countries.

Our key international cooperation partners

WHO collaborating centres and knowledge hubs

THL is currently hosting two collaborating centres of the World Health Organization:

In addition, a WHO knowledge hub related to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is operating under THL. In total, there are eight knowledge hubs around the world.

WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub

On other websites

The Finnish Foundation for Alcohol Studies
The organisation works in close collaboration with THL.

THL is involved in a consortium of research institutes.