Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning and Education CELE

CELE is home to multidisciplinary and comparative research on lifelong learning and education.

      CELE is an internationally renowned research centre and the leading institution in Finland for lifelong learning, educational policy and international comparative educational research.

      The research that we conduct focuses on the following areas:

      • Sociology of Education
      • Politics of Education
      • Comparative International Education
      • University and Higher Education
      • Lifelong Learning and Adult Education
      • History of Education

      Our Research Groups

      Comparative and International Education

      Comparative and International Education Research Group (CIERG)

      The emphasis of the work of the CIERG lies on guidance and supervision of doctoral theses, creation of scientific knowledge and construction of profound understanding in the field of comparative education. The salient aim of the research group is to support doctoral and postdoctoral research. The studies conducted within this research domain cover various topics from early childhood education to higher education, spread geographically across all continents and seek to contribute to the latest scientific discourses in comparative research.The group promotes scientific thinking and acquisition of advanced research skills, and, based on the foregoing, conducts in-depth research in the field of comparative and international education.

      Research Group Members

      Johanna Kallo, Postdoctoral Researcher

      Risto Rinne, Professor

      Olli Suominen, Doctoral Candidate

      Zhou Xingguo, Doctoral Candidate

      Suvi Jokila, Doctoral Candidate

      Elizabeth Eta, Project Researcher

      Kalypso Filippou, Doctoral Candidate

      Sevcan Hakyemez-Paul, Doctoral Candidate

      Gabriel Ezechukwu, Doctoral Student

      Hannu Simola, Professor

      Fazal Rizvi, Visiting Professor

      Larimatti Teelmäki, Doctoral Student

      Adrita Ghosh, Doctoral Student


      Educational Policy, Equality and Justice

      CELE Research Group for Educational Policy, Equality and Justice

      The research group of educational policy, equality and justice at CELE promotes a wide range of research on educational policy, politics, governance, educational systems, equality and justice in education, and the educational trajectories of young people. The research group’s main focus is on internationally comparative and cross-disciplinary perspectives. The group brings together CELE researchers who are in different career stages and possess a broad range of methodological expertise.

      The members of the group are active in applying research funding that it uses to conduct its projects and promote international mobility. The group promotes the writing of doctoral theses, publishing, postdoctoral careers, and disseminates its research results both inside and outside academia. The members of the group collaborate with various national and international research projects as well as with education policy makers and other educational stakeholders.

      This research group is currently host to two international research projects that are funded by the Academy of Finland for 2017–2021:

      • Education Systems, Learning and Social Change: A Comparative Longitudinal Study on Young People’s Educational Trajectories and Learning of the 21st Century Skills in Europe, Australia, South America and North America (EduSys). PI: Associate Professor Tero Järvinen.
      • Hollowing Out of Public Education Systems? Private Actors in Compulsory Schooling in Finland, Sweden and New Zealand (HOPES). PI: Professor Piia Seppänen.

      Research Group Members

      Tero Järvinen, Associate Professor

      Piia Seppänen, Professor

      Anna-Kaisa Berisha, Doctoral Candidate

      Taina Heinonen, Doctoral Candidate

      Sonia Lempinen, Postdoctoral Researcher

      Katariina Löfblom, University Teacher

      Marja-Liisa Mäkelä, Doctoral Candidate

      Aino Nevalainen, Doctoral Candidate

      Elina Nikula, University Teacher

      Jenni Tikkanen, Project Researcher

      Piia af Ursin, Senior Researcher

      Markku Vanttaja, University Research Fellow

      Junghyun Yoon, Doctoral Candidate

      Lisbeth Lundahl, Visiting Professor

      Fazal Rizvi, Visiting Professor

      Linda Rönnberg, Senior Researcher

      University and Higher Education

      CELE Research Group for University and Higher Education

      The research group gathers together researchers who are interested in higher education in the societal, political and cultural context from national and international perspective. HE in its different forms and levels is examined in the context of global and national higher education policy and politics as well as in the context of transformations and organisational change of HE institutions. Theoretically the research relies on the policy studies, socio-historical and sociocultural research traditions as well as practice theory. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are applied versatilely. The main research fields cover 1) HE policy and governance, 2) Academic work, 3) Access and widening the participation in HE, 4) Student engagement and agency, 5) Graduate employability and labour market trajectories.

      The group promotes doctoral thesis writing, publishing, postdoctoral careers and disseminates research results.

      The research group is host to one research project (HighEmploy) funded by the Academy of Finland for 2018–2022 and one sub development project (TRY) funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland for 2018–2020

      • Higher Education Graduates' Employability and Social Positioning in the Labour Market (HighEmploy). PI: Associate Professor Ulpukka Isopahkala-Bouret
      • Alternative Paths to University (TRY). PI: Professor Arto Jauhiainen. Project manager: Postdoctoral Researcher Nina Haltia.

      Research Group Members

      Arto Jauhiainen, Professor

      Ulpukka Isopahkala-Bouret, Associate Professor

      Annukka Jauhiainen, Lecturer

      Hanna Laalo, Doctoral Candidate

      Raakel Plamper, Doctoral Candidate

      Hanna Nori, University Research Fellow

      Marja Peura, Doctoral Candidate

      Kristiina Ojala, Postdoctoral Researcher

      Mikko Aro, Postdoctoral Researcher

      Yoojin Kim, Doctoral Candidate

      Mervi Lahtomaa, Project Researcher


      Adult Education, Lifelong Learning and Working Life

      CELE Research Group for Adult Life

      Researchers related to CELE have been conducting adult education research since the 1980s with historical and registry data, as well as survey methods. The subject of research on Adult Education, Lifelong Learning and Working Life (Adult Life -research group) within CELE is understood broadly, with approaches derived from of historical, sociological and education policy research. The focus is not only in adult education and learning. Today, adult life – especially related to knowledge and skills, thinking and behavior of citizens’ – is subject to a wide range of expectations, demands and influence attempts. Knowledge, skills and attitudes required from the citizen as an employee, consumer and political actor, as well as a member of the family and many other communities, are constantly changing. The Adult Life research group approaches these changing and often conflicting demands and lifelong learning from various perspectives. On the one hand, learning and training opportunities and needs for citizens living in different social classes and in different socio-cultural conditions are being studied. On the other hand, lifelong learning and lifelong learning policies are analysed with tools of governmental analytics, whereby lifelong learning, with its demands, is approached as governing of the population and individual subjects, as governing of thinking and action. The Adult Life research group is actively following the policies of lifelong learning at both national and international levels.

      Research Group Members

      Heikki Silvennoinen, Professor

      Heikki Kinnari, Doctoral Candidate

      Nina Haltia, Postdoctoral Researcher

      Anne Laiho, University Lecturer

      Outi Lietzén, Doctoral Candidate

      Tiina Tuijula, University Lecturer

      Anna Eskola, Doctoral Student

      Eeva Hörkkö, Doctoral Student

      Susan Porkka, Doctoral Student

      Mari Sundström, Doctoral Student

      Heli Tirri, Doctoral Student

      Elina Uusitalo, Doctoral Student

      Inclusive and Special Education

      Inclusive and Special Education

      Inclusive and special education studies focus on individual, community and societal levels. We acknowledge the importance to see need of support in wider context but not forgetting the individual factors. The research in this group varies from disability studies to immigrant studies, from medical model to social model and from early childhood to adulthood. We have both cross-sectional, longitudinal and intervention studies. Both quantitative and qualitative paradigms are represented.

      Main research themes are as follows:

      • Special education and inclusive school reform – values, policy and implementation in school level
      • Social and emotional difficulties / challenging behavior
      • Learning and learning difficulties
      • Intervention studies

      Research Group Members

      Joel Kivirauma, Professor

      Päivi Pihlaja, University Research Fellow

      Minna Kyttälä, University Lecturer

      Lilja Aikio, University Teacher

      Marja-Liisa Mäkelä, Doctoral Candidate

      Marianna Heinonen, Project Researcher


      Board of CELE

      Board of CELE (term 1.1.2018–31.12.2019)

      Members of the board of the Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning and Education CELE (term 1.1.2018–31.12.2019)

      Professor Joel Kivirauma, chairman (Department of Education)
      Professor Veli-Matti Ritakallio, vice-chairman (Department of Social Research)
      Professor Kari Teräs (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere)
      Professor Anne Kumpula (Faculty of Law)
      Professor Piia Seppänen (Department of Education)
      Professor Risto Rinne (Director of CELE, Department of Education)

      Deputy member

      Senior Researcher Juhani Tähtinen (Department of Education)


      Planning officer Jaakko Kuha (Research development)

      Recent publications

      Human bocaviruses and paediatric infections (2019)

      The Lancet. Child & adolescent health
      Andreas Christensen, Olli Kesti, Varpu Elenius, Anna L Eskola, Henrik Døllner, Can Altunbulakli, Prof Cezmi A Akdis, Maria Söderlund-Venermo, Tuomas Jartti
      (A2 Review article in a scientific journal)