Maija Setälä profile picture
Professor, Political Science
INVESThub Platform for social experiments and interventions.


+358 29 450 2737
+358 46 923 7859
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Areas of expertise

democratic theory
deliberative democracy
democratic innovations
direct democracy
political trust


I received my PhD from The London School of Economics in 1997. Since then, I have worked at University of Turku and Åbo Akademi. In 2012, I was appointed as a Professor of Political Science at University of Turku. Previously, I have made research visits at Columbia University, Australian National University and University of Westminster. I was the Principal Investigator of the project "Participation in Long-Term Decision-Making" (PALO) funded by the Strategic Research Council of Academy of Finland (2017-2022). Currently, I lead the project "Facing Systemic Change Together" (Homepage | Deliberating on Climate Actions | FACTOR ( funded by the Research Council of Finland (2021-2024). I am also a WP leader in SCR-funded project Flaire ( and the EU Horizon project Sincrony (


I teach courses on democratic theory, democratic innovations, and issues of long-term governance. I am also supervising Master's and PhD students in political science.


In my research, I specialize in democratic theories, especially theories of deliberative democracy, political trust, as well as various types of democratic innovations such as citizens' initiatives and deliberative mini-publics. I am particularly interested in how democratic innovations can be connected with the existing policy-making practices and how they can influence policymaking and the wider public. In the ongoing research projects FACTOR, Flaire and Sincrony, I focus on the role of citizen deliberation in climate and energy transitions as well as on the issues of inclusion in deliberative forums.


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