Research Projects at CELE
The work of the researchers of CELE is organized by the ongoing research projects.
Ongoing research projects
The CLEAR research project responds to the Horizon Europe’s Call HORIZON-CL2-2021-TRANSFORMATIONS-01-04: Addressing poor learning outcomes in basic skills and early school leaving at national, regional and local level in Europe and seeks to better understand the factors that affect the quality and the construction of learning outcomes in Europe.
CLEAR’s overall aim is to examine the combination of multiple factors shaping learning outcomes and thus affecting their quality. Based on a better understanding of the processes of constructing learning outcomes, CLEAR inquiries into the impact of policies to boost achievement and tackle underachievement, design participative activities at local level that spark innovative policy solutions and increase social upward mobility for young people.
Research group at CELE:
Tero Järvinen, Principal Investigator (PI)
The project is led by CELE´s Visiting Professor Marcelo Parreira do Amaral from the University of Münster, Germany
Read more about the project: https://clear-horizon.eu/
In her postdoctoral research project funded by the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS), Jenni Tikkanen examines how the individualisation of social inequalities, privatisation of risks, and gendered nature of individualisation materialise in ‘objective’ life courses and ‘subjective’ biographies of young people in Finland and elsewhere in Europe. The topic is approached by examining the interplay of individual reflexivity and the surrounding structural, discursive, and relational opportunity structures. The recent reforms in Finnish education policies regarding upper secondary education and the preceding and subsequent transitions are of particular interest in the project.
Jenni Tikkanen, Postdoctoral Fellow
We examine the visions presented for the future of higher education and society as well as their scientific premises from the post-World War II era to the present day. We investigate how the future research with its methods has influenced the shared understandings of the futures of higher education in Finland and other Nordic countries. We are particularly interested in the interpretations and knowledge claims about the future, their constitutive purposes and resultant decisions. Drawing from vast publications, documents and archive materials, we analyze the methods and tools of future research used for forging the visions of higher education, as well as their translation into political decision-making. We interview international and national actors to analyze the construction of higher education policy futures. The research adds critical knowledge and understanding of the intervention of the future research in policy-making and the scientific basis of these anticipatory practices.
Johanna Kallo, Academy Research Fellow, Principal Investigator (PI)
Funded by Academy of Finland (01.09.2020 - 31.08.2024)
The project investigates unintented and perverse consequences of of LLL policies. In the context of this project, individually felt pressures for learning and self development is a part of the landscape where LLL policies meet the diversity of agents in their class positions. Quantitative and qualitative data will shed light on different aspects of our main question which is: How do individuals in different social and economic positions perceive and feel the pressures for learning lifelong and life-wide, and how do they cope with the concerns and anxieties caused by the hegemonic discourses of LLL and the Learning Society? The new emotional and individualized reflectiveness is constructing a new conception of citizen, “neurotic citizen”.
Professor Heikki Silvennoinen, Principal Investigator (PI)
We study changes in academic work in the framework of restructuring of university institution. When investigating the changes, we ask, what are the terms and conditions for decent academic work in university institution, and, thus, we investigate the structural reforms and reorganisation of universities for framing the research on the changes of academic work. Our perspective for studying academic work is equality as a multidimensional phenomenon, in other words equalities. Academic work is related to academic career trajectories because some of the tasks promote advancement into higher positions. Tenure track – system has been applied for providing a systematic trajectory for the academic career, but at the same time, it has excluded part of academic personnel. We study the changes in academic work in three case universities, which have restructured. We focus on the experiences and views of leaders / mangers and academic staff in research and teaching.
The project is funded by the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities as a consortium between the Tampere University and the University of Turku, between 2021 and 2022.
Leader of the research project, Adjunct Professor, Senior Research Fellow Arja Haapakorpi firstname.lastname@example.org
In my TIAS project (2020–2022) my aim is to study the value of research in society from two perspectives. First, the study aims to unravel the dilemma of the technological and natural fields being the driving force in understanding research impact in society, by asking: What kind of alternative value basis could the social sciences and the humanities offer to impact discussions. Second, the study addresses the mismatch between how the role of research in society is discussed – in light of wider aims and values – and the nature and scale of impacts researchers are able to demonstrate impact for evaluation purposes. By demonstrating the subsidiary role of values and wider, diffuse and non-linear research uses to verifiable impacts in impact case studies the project aims critically to reflect on the question, what kind of research does the impact agenda encourage. Data consists of impact case studies (UK, NO, FI).
Collegium Researcher, Reetta Muhonen, Principal Investigator
This project aims to provide insights into school dropout processes and post-dropout school-to-work transitions (STW) in Sweden and Finland, by taking advantage of the countries’ institutional similarities but different development over time. In the project, we conceptualize these processes and transitions through “social reproduction” theory and “career decision-making” theory, as influenced by a combination of factors at the micro, meso and macro level. To capture this complexity, the project will rest on a comparative design, and apply a mixed-methods approach using high-quality register-data in Sweden and Finland and semi-structured narrative interviews.
The project is funded by The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies (2023–2025)
Prof. Alireza Behtoui, Södertörn University (Project leader)
Associate Prof. Olav Nygård, Linköping University
Senior Researcher Piia af Ursin, University of Turku (PI, Finnish sub-study)
Selected past research projects
Education Systems, Learning and Social Change
Funded by the Academy of Finland (01.09.2017–31.08.2021)
The project is a part of the worldwide study, International Study of City Youth (iscy.org), in which young people’s educational trajectories and learning of 21st century skills are followed up in eleven countries and twelve cities over a four-year period. The aim of the project is to analyse how different education systems generate both effectiveness and equality with regard to transition to work, further study or training, and individual capacity to participate actively in economic, social and political life. The research project will enable us to gain worldwide longitudinal knowledge about preconditions and opportunities for learning and thus enable one to rethink the functions and designs of education systems. The research project emerges from the work conducted within IRNYET research network (International Research Network on Youth Education and Training.
Research group: Tero Järvinen, Piia af Ursin, Jenni Tikkanen, Markku Vanttaja
Professor Tero Järvinen, Principal Investigator (PI)
Funded by the Academy of Finland (01.09.2017–31.08.2022)
The HOPES research project investigates growing private sector involvement in public education comparing three small countries with historically strong public education systems: Finland, Sweden and New Zealand. In Finland privatisation may be just beginning to emerge, and in Sweden and New Zealand the private sector has already become more involved. We will analyse private interests and actors from websites, policy documents, and interviews. The HOPES project will contribute to international debates about the nature and impact of the private sector involvement in education and the emergence of a so-called ‘Global Education Industry’. It will also inform policymakers, professionals and the public in Finland and beyond.
The research project involves research teams in each country and supports international mobility.
Research Group: Piia Seppänen, Sonia Lempinen, Nina Nivanaho, Iida Kiesi, Lisbeth Lundahl, Linda Rönnberg, Martin Thrupp, Darren Powell and John O’Neill
Professor Piia Seppänen, Principal Investigator (PI)
Contact person: Professor Piia Seppänen
Funder: Turun yliopistosäätiö (01.06.2021–31.08.2021)
In EqualISM-research project, we analyse international students’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in Finland. With longitudinal survey and interview data, we construct a comprehensive portray of international students’ experiences since the beginning of the pandemic. The project produces knowledge on how disruption in international mobility and changes in everyday living affected international students’ lives.
Research group: PhD Suvi Jokila, PhD Kalypso Filippou, PhD Xingguo Zhou, Anna Jolkkonen, Magdalena Czarnecka, Ella Sirva, Fanny-Sofia Tarkio, Sanaz Golbazi, Irene Pampallis, Aslihan Özgül
Contact person: PhD Suvi Jokila
Our study will explore higher education graduates’ employability as a relational and socially mediated process. It will take into account the supply and demand of graduates, and positional competition inherent in graduate labour market. We will analyse HE graduates’ social positioning in the labour market by examining the level of a degree (Bachelor’s/Master’s), institutional setting (research university/university of applied sciences), disciplinary fields, and the location of the institution (Eastern/Western Finland), as well as how gender, age and social background contribute to and intersect with graduate employability. In addition, we will follow graduates’ early labour market trajectories, transitions and mobility in the field of business studies.
The project is funded by the Academy of Finland as a consortium between the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Turku, between 2018 and 2022.
The members of the research group from CELE: Mikko Aro, Nina Haltia, Hanna Nori, Kristiina Ojala
Associate Professor Ulpukka Isopahkala-Bouret, Principal Investigator (PI)
Transitions and Educational Trajectories of Immigrant Youth
Research project follows the educational trajectories of immigrant youth using a longitudinal design. The aim of the study is to describe holistically the post-compulsory transitions, experiences and obstacles comparing those to the situation of the native counterparts. The follow-up will be performed using focus and thematic interviews and a survey repeated biannually. The researchers of this consortium are working at two schools in Metropolitan area of Helsinki and at two schools in Turku region serving at the same time as correspondents committing the young people with the study as well as analysing the local practices and school cultures. The research consortium comprises of researchers of sociology of education, educational science and special education in University of Helsinki and University of Turku.
Professor Joel Kivirauma, project leader of the sub-project
Funded by the Academy of Finland.
Quality Assurance and Evaluation has globally become one of the most powerful framing factors for learning. The cases of the study are the three nations of Brazil, China and Russia, often characterised as ‘future societies’. The main research objective is to explore how the intertwinement of the different factors constructs the local dynamics in QAE politics and thus shapes local learning environments in the case countries. The research consortium brings together three prominent Finnish research environments in the field of comparative sociology and politics of education, and two centres of excellence. The expertise of the team covers a fresh theoretical approach (CADEP) to education politics and profound experience in research in education policy and governance. The team will be vitally supported by one eminent Professor and one Doctoral Student from each case country. If successful, the project may open up avenues for reforming policies but also for education consultancy and export.
Consortium Research Project
Prof. Hannu Simola, University of Helsinki, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Responsible Head of
Consortium and Helsinki Team
Prof. Tuomas Takala, School of Education, University of Tampere, Responsible Head of Tampere Team
Prof. Risto Rinne, CELE, Department of Education, University of Turku, Responsible Head of Turku Team
Policies Supporting Young Adults in their Life Course
The international comparative research project (2016–2019) focuses on the current Lifelong Learning (LLL) policies for young adults in Europe, which aim both at creating economic growth and, at the same time, guaranteeing social inclusion. However, the orientations and objectives as well as varying temporal horizons of these policies may create or exacerbate conflicts and ambiguities thus causing fragmentation, ineffectiveness and unintended effects for young people. At the individual level, YOUNG_ADULLLT enquires into how policies’ fit and potentials account for young adults’ perceptions and expectations, their informal/non-formal competences, thus enabling them to create subjective meaning and continuity along their life courses. At the structural level, the project investigates the socio-economic and political conditions of the most effective policies and initiatives related to LLL, youth unemployment, and education and training for young people. Lastly, at the institutional level, it analyses the embedding of policies in the local and regional frameworks of education, training and the labour markets.
The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The project consortium comprises 15 partner institutions from nine European countries. maasta.
The members of the research group from CELE: Risto Rinne, Jenni Tikkanen, Tero Järvinen, Heikki Silvennoinen
Project Researcher Jenni Tikkanen
Contact person: Minna Saarinen
The GOETE project is concerned with understanding
- how education systems deal with the changing relation between education and social integration in the knowledge society
- how successful educational systems are in providing meaningful and secure life chances for young people, well-prepared work force for the economy and active citizens for society
Aim is to analyse in eight countries:
- educational experiences and pathways of children and young people
- role of different actors and institutions in supporting, governing and shaping these pathways
Researchers: Risto Rinne, Tero Järvinen, Mikko Aro, Jenni Tikkanen, Suvi Mäkinen & Andreas Walther, Karin Amos, Alenka Kobolt, Sjoerd Karsten, Ilse Julkunen, Andy Biggart, Roger Dale, Susan Robertsson, Patricia Loncie, Isabelle Danic, Morena Cucunato, Yuri Kazepov, Bodhan Jung, Barbara Sauber
Funded by European Union.
This project has examined the internal workings of universities, and how they are affected by their respective national planning and funding arrangements. It has identified steps that can be taken to improve their effectiveness as knowledge producers and transmitters in Europe today and in the future. The project has compared development in seven countries: UK, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Russia and Moldova.
Researchers: Risto Rinne & Jenni Koivula, CELE
& Gareth Williams, Mike Shattock, Jóse-Ginés Mora, Marek Kwiek, Bruce Henry Lambert, Paul Temple, Igor Kitaev, Petru Gaugash, Sergei Filonovich, Görel Strömqvist, Aljona Sandgren
Funded by the Academy of Finland.
This study analyses institutionalised operating logics of power constructed through modes of governance and management in Finnish universities. There are three main questions:
- how have these new modes been traveling and embedding?
- what kind of new discursive and non-discursive practices and symbolic power relations are they
reconstructing and reshaping
- what are their effects in reproduction of what is seen as true knowledge and correct ethos in the
We are approaching our questions in three levels:
- the supranational level (especially EU Higher Education Policy)
- the national level (the Finnish HE policy and governance)
- the university level (four case universities in Finland).
Historically point comes from the turning point of Finnish university policy since late 1980s until 2007.
Researchers: Risto Rinne, Arto Jauhiainen, Markku Vanttaja, Johanna Kallo, Annukka Jauhiainen, Anne Laiho & Reeta Lehto, CELE
& Hannu Simola, Jaakko Kauko & Mari Simola, KUPOLI, University of Helsinki
Funded by Academy of Finland, Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS), The Finnish Doctoral Programme in Education and Learning (FiDPEL), Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), Gobierno de Chile.
Chile and Finland are two clearly very different societies and cultures, but they share a common global policy trend: “parental or free school choice”. The PASC project aims to understand and explain how this transnational education policies on parental choice are mediated, transformed and transmitted, and with what effects, to the national and local levels.
Aim is to analyse school choice policies and their effects on
- restructuring of public schooling in different national, historical and local contexts
- segregation processes in basic education
- families' educational strategies
Finnish team: Risto Rinne, Piia Seppänen, Sari Silmäri-Salo, Virve Sairanen (CELE) and Hannu Simola, Jaana Poikolainen, Sonja Kosunen, Mira Kalalahti, Janne Varjo (KUPOLI, University of Helsinki) Chilean team: Dagmar Raczynski Von Oppen, Alejandro Carrasco, Javier Corvalán, Carolina Flores, Manuel Tironi, Alejandra Falabell
Funded by the Academy of Finland.
The subject of this study is the relationship between the educational strategies adopted by Finnish urban families in two bigger cities (Vantaa and Turku) as articulated and materialised in the schoolchoice process between the 6th and the 7th grades of the nine-year comprehensive schooling on the one hand, and the local socio-cultural and educational contexts on the other. The research group works with a versatile and large-scale research design aiming to relate family actions in pupil enrolment to pupil admission, selection mechanisms, and their segregating effects at the last stage of the nine-year comprehensive schooling in two different urban contexts: Cities of Vantaa and Turku with different kinds of school-choice policies.
Turku team: Risto Rinne, Heikki Silvennoinen, Piia Seppänen & Sari Silmäri-Salo
Helsinki team: Hannu Simola, Jaana Poikolainen, Janne Varjo, Sonja Kosunen & Mira Kalalahti
Quality assurance and evaluation (QAE) is increasingly important nationally and trans-nationally in education. It may steer policy and practice at all levels and in all sectors of education in national systems.
Aim is to develop:
- understanding of Quality assurance and evaluation (QAE) as a form of governance of basic education
- new methodological and theoretical approaches to comparative education in Europe, combining perspectives on global policy development and their mediating effects on national and local practices.
Researchers: Risto Rinne & Mirka Mäkinen-Steng, CELE,
Hannu Simola, Janne Varjo, KUPOLI, University of Helsinki
& Jenny Ozga, Martin Lawn, Sotiria Grek, Bob Lingaard, Peter Dahler-Larsen, Christina Segerholm
Funded by the Academy of Finland.
The three main objectives of the research project are, as follows:
- To research the core of the OECD education policy and the change of the emphasis during the past four decades;
- To analyze how clearly and in what respect the OECD has steered and standardized education policymaking in the nation states inside the core of the OECD (Great Britain), in the smaller states and peripheral zones (Finland) and outside the OECD (China)
- To clarify what kind of impact different levels of involvement in the OECD has had on national education policymaking during the past four decades.
Researchers: Risto Rinne, Johanna Kallo, Sanna Niukko and Piia Seppänen
Visiting Professors Phillip Brown, University of Cardiff & Hugh Lauder, University of Bath
This project has been a very exceptional new opening in research in Finland as there has been almost no or very little research in the field. That is why the CELE work in the field of economics of education has created a great deal of discussion and new thinking of the economic meaning and results of education as well as the importance of investing in education. The concept of inflation of education and the empirical evidence of the project has been taken seriously and has had an impact in planning the education.
Funded by the Norwegian Research Council.
The purpose of the study is to explore, how to best optimize the learning and competence potential of groups of adults at risk of marginalization from the labor market. The study will achieve this goal through exploring the complex relationships between 1) adult skills, characteristics and attitudes (as measured by PIAAC - The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies OECD); 2) adult participation both in (non-formal, informal, formal) learning activities and 3) in the labour market (register data). The study will seek to identify characteristics of “best practice” in adult education both within enterprises and in that offered through public sector initiatives. The potential of newer technology to enchance and make available learning experiences to adults will be in focus.
Researhers: Heikki Silvennoinen, CELE
& Tarja Tikkanen, Aslaug Grov Almås, Egil Gabrielsen, Kjersti Lundetræ, Mary Billington, Gunn Vedø, Kari Nissinen, Andreas Fejes, Stephen Billett
Funded by EAKR, Ministry of Education (Interreg IIIA –programme of Southern Finland and Estonia)
The main activities of the project are the comparative studies of the development tendencies of Finnish and Estonian education. It clarifies the effects of the supranational policy of education on the educational policy systems of Finland and Estonia. As the result of the project is a model for understanding the educational tendencies of small North-West EU countries will be created. It will as well create a co-operative network between adult education provides. The project will also survey the developmental perspectives, prerequisites and challenges of adult education on the levels of schools. The projects objectives are to increase the prerequisites of a balanced functioning of the labour market and to prevent social exclusion.
Researchers: Risto Rinne, Riina Leppänen, Markku Vanttaja, Päivi Naumanen, Marjaana Korppas, CELE
& Larissa Jõgi, Tiina Jääger and Talvi Märja, Tallinn University