Research Projects at CEAS

Ongoing projects

ReConnect China (EU Horizon, 2022-26)

The project aims to clarify in which domains the EU’s cooperation with China is desirable, possible or impossible. Ghent University in Belgium coordinates the work of 14 universities and knowledge centres in 12 European countries, of which UTU is the only Nordic University.

The five main outputs of the ReConnect China project are:

1. Providing an independent understanding of China and its overall defining social, cultural, political and economic characteristics.

2. Identifying the EU’s current strengths and urgent needs within the new global narratives on China.

3. Developing a database of online open sources enabling day-to-day insights into policies, narratives, and public discourses in China.

4. Mainstreaming knowledge on China within the EU to help offset the stagnating number of European students in Chinese studies while enhancing awareness on China among the general public and youth.

5. Contributing fact-based knowledge in four key policy fields: Science & Technology, Economy & Trade, Domestic Politics, and China in the World.


ReConnect China

Security in China (Academy of Finland, 2019-2023)

Academy of Finland Project for Early Career Researchers 2019-2023


Security in China (in English)

Turvallisuus Kiinassa (in Finnish)

Maritime Cooperation in Northeast Asia

Maritime Cooperation in Northeast Asia

Northeast Asia is the scene of exceptionally dramatic changes, as a major long-term development is gradually beginning to unfold: the Northern Sea Route is opening to shipping. The purpose of this initiative is to conduct multidisciplinary studies on the starting points, actors, dynamics, potential and challenges of this politically and economically ground-breaking regional process. It aims to contribute to research on regional maritime cooperation and theory-building in regional studies.


Current active members

Outi Luova, Docent, University lecturer, Centre for East Asian Studies. Contact person of the initiative. ( )
Topics: "City Networks in the Japan Sea Economic Rim", "Geopolitical Economy in the Japan Sea Rim"

Liisa Kauppila, Doctoral Candidate, MSocSci, Centre for East Asian Studies. Senior Researcher in the Academy of Finland funded ForAc project.
Topic: “Becoming a Primary Node: The China-Arctic Functional Economic Region in the Making"

Juha Saunavaara, Assistant Professor, Hokkaido University, Arctic Research Center; Docent at the Centre for East Asian Studies, University of Turku
Topic: "New Connections between East Asia and northern Europe: Arctic Submarine Fiber-Optic Cables and the Northern Sea Route”


Publications, conference and seminar presentations


Kauppila, L.  (forthcoming, 2021) ”A Primary Node of the Global Economy: China and the Arctic”. In: Finger, M. (Ed.): GlobalArctic: An Introduction to the Multifaceted Dynamics of the Arctic. Springer.

Kauppila, L. and Kiiski, T (2020) ”The Red Dragon in Global Waters: The Making of the Polar Silk Road”. In: Pongrácz, E, Pavlov, V. and N. Hänninen (Eds.): Arctic Marine Sustainability. Switzerland: Springer Polar Sciences.

Stepien, A,  Kauppila, L, Kopra, S, Käpylä, J, Lanteigne, M, Mikkola, H and Nojonen, M (2020): ”China’s Economic Presence in the Arctic: Realities, Expectations and Concerns”. In Koivurova, T. and S. Kopra (Eds.): Chinese Policy and Presence in the Arctic. The Netherlands: Brill.

Kopra, S, Hurri, K,  Kauppila, L,  Stephen, A,  and Yamineva, Y (2020) ”China, Climate Change and the Arctic Environment”. In Koivurova, T. and S. Kopra (Eds.): Chinese Policy and Presence in the Arctic. The Netherlands: Brill.

Kauppila, L. and S. Kopra (2018) ”Pohjoinen on punainen? Kiina ja Arktiksen uusi alueellistuminen”. Kosmopolis in 9/2018. [The High North is Red? China and New Regionalisation in the Arctic, in a Finnish IR journal]


Presentation at the conference East Asian Regional Conference in Critical Geography, "De-Peripheralization of East Sea Rim (Sea of Japan Rim): Regional Development Strategies to Counteract Spatial Injustice", Daegu, South Korea, 11-13.11.2018.

Presentation at the world conference of the Association of Borderland Studies, "Multilevel ”regionalizing actors” in enclosed sea regions", Wien and Budapest, 10-14.7.2018

Presentation at the conference Asia and the Northern Sea Route: Sustainability and the Arctic, "Hubs of the Arctic Route in the Japan Sea Rim: Old Plans with New Vigour?" Hokkaido University, Japan, 25-26.10.2016.

Luova, O. (2017) "Cooperation patterns in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) Rim", Baltic Rim Economies, May 2017.

Luova O. (2016) "Co-operation in Sea-regions: The case of the Baltic Sea Region", East Sea Rim 23/2016


Babin, J and Saunavaara, J. (2021) ”Hokkaido: From the “Road to the Northern Sea” to “Japan’s Gateway to the Arctic”, Asian Geographer, (Published online April 7, 2021).

Saunavaara, J (2020) “Connecting the Arctic while installing submarine data cables between East Asia, North America and Europe”, In M. Salminen, G. Zojer & K. Hossain (eds.), Digitalisation and Human Security – A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Cybersecurity in the European high North. Palgrave Macmillan.

Saunavaara, J and Salminen, M (2020) ”Geography of the Global Submarine Fiber-Optic Cable Network: The Case for Arctic Ocean Solutions". Geographical Review (published online 25 June 2020).

Kossa, M, Lomaeva, M and Saunavaara, J* (2020) East Asian subnational government involvement in the Arctic: A case for paradiplomacy?” The Pacific Review. (Published online 20 Feb 2020).

Saunavaara, J (2019) ”東アジア欧州北米を繋げる北極海光海底ケーブルプロジェクトの過去と未来”, ユーラシア研究, 2019-6, No. 60. (Translated by Suzuki Ōjirō).

Saunavaara, J (2018) “Arctic Subsea Communications Cables and the Regional Development of Northern Peripheries”, Arctic and North, 32, 2018. (Russian version also available: Арктические подводные коммуникационные кабели и региональное развитие северных территорий.)

Saunavaara, J (2017) “The Changing Arctic and the Development of Hokkaido”, Arctic Yearbook 2017.

National ownership and South Korea’s role in development partnerships

This research project studies South Korea’s role and position in its development partnerships. South Korea’s official donor rhetoric points towards more symmetric aid relationships: an emphasis on request-based approach, notions of self-reliance and self-help efforts imply a certain respect for independent, not predetermined development choices in partner countries. Tanzania’s experience with the SMU programme has been selected for an in-depth case study.


This research is partly supported by the Seed Program for Korean Studies through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS-2018-INC-2230006).

Past Projects


CEAS has developed projects also with funding from external sources such as the Academy of Finland and the Joel Toivola Foundation. The Academy of Finland awarded the Centre a grant for the years 2007–2009 for a research project entitled Governance in Urban China Charities and the Multilayered Relationship between the State and Society in the 20th Century Tianjin.

CEAS coordinated a joint doctoral training programme with Fudan University in 2013–2014 with support from CIMO​. The theme of the 8 ECTS programme was "Sustainable Cities".  The goal of the programme was 
to train specialists who can integrate knowledge and theories from several fields to find solutions that promote a sustainable change of cities.​

CEAS coordinated a national Doctoral Programme of Contemporary Asian Studies (DAS) in 2002–2013. The DAS was a multidisciplinary doctoral programme open to all doctoral candidates in Finland focusing on East, Southeast and South Asian topics in their research. Because national funding for doctoral programmes in Finland ceased, the DAS was closed after the last funding period. National cooperation in doctoral training continues within the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies coordinated by CEAS.