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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Anu Kajamaa, PhD, is an Adjunct Professor and Principal Investigator in the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. She is Co-Leader of an expert group called Learning, Culture and Interventions (LECI). Anu has received several awards for her research and teaching:

  • 2019 The Best Paper Award finalist, International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM), Florence, Italy
  • 2018 Best Practice-Oriented Paper Award, given by the Strategizing Activities and Practices interest group at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting (AOM), Chicago, US
  • 2017 The Best Research Paper Award, given by the International Association for Medical Education (AMEE 2017) Annual conference
  • 2015 The Adult Educator of the Year, by students of the Institute of Behavioral Sciences, University of Helsinki
  • 2013 Outstanding Doctoral Research Award, given by Emerald and the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD)

Anu is the Institutional Leader in an EU HORIZON 2020-MSCA-RISE-Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research project, entitled "Improving collaborative working between correctional and mental health services". She is currently also involved in an Academy of Finland-funded research project "Learning by Making: The Educational Potential of School-Based Makerspaces for Young Learners' Digital Competencies" (iMake). She is a coordinator of the NOS-HS funded project entitled “Nordic Research Network on Digitalising Childhoods" (, and a member of the Playful Learning Center, which is an ecosystem for research, development and educational practices. Anu is also one of the founders of the European Centre of Excellence in Qualitative Study and Inquiry in Training and Education, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


She is a passionate researcher, supervisor and a pedagogically qualified teacher who loves to carry out research-based teaching. She takes active part to faculty development as a member in the Faculty Council and Faculty research committee, and in the board of the SEDUCE doctoral programme at the Faculty of Education, University of Helsinki. Her research focuses especially on collective learning, creativity, change and development via interprofessional working and formative interventions. She is an expert in sociocultural- and practice-based theories, qualitative research methods and participatory intervention techniques, drawing especially from cultural historical activity theory and the Change Laboratory method. Her current research contexts are primary schools, teacher education, health and social care, and entrepreneurship hubs/fabrication laboratories.


Her work is highly international, she is a research group member in several national and international projects and consortiums (e.g. with Centre for Medical Education and Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal, Canada; Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, USA; and University of Oulu, Business School, Finland). She has been a visiting researcher and teacher at many universities and business schools, such as the University of California, Berkeley, USA; McGill University, Canada; Columbia University, USA; ESSEC Business School, France; University of Exeter, UK; Nancy-Metz Business School, France; University of Technology Chemnitz, Germany; University of Gothenburg, Sweden; University of California San Diego, USA; and University of Otago, New Zealand.


Education information

PhD, Docent

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 2005 2020

How to … do mixed methods research

Kajamaa, A., Mattick, K. & de la Croix, A., Jan 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : The clinical teacher.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Agency in the Making: Analyzing students’ transformative agency in a school-based makerspace

Kajamaa, A. & Kumpulainen, K., 2019, In : Mind, Culture, and Activity. 26, 3, p. 266-281 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Can Innovation Management Do Better? Co-existing Organizational Arrangements in Hospital-restructuring

Kajamaa, A., Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, P. & Rantakari, A., Jun 2019, Proceedings of the XXX ISPIM Innovation Conference - Celebrating Innovation - 500 Years Since Da Vinci - 16-19 June 2019 - Florence, Italy. Bitran, I., Conn, S., Gernreich, C., Heber, M., Huizingh, K. R. E., Kokshagina, O., Torkkeli, M. & Tynnhammar, M. (eds.). Lappeenranta: International Society for Professional Innovation Management , (LUT scientific and expertise publications. Tutkimusraportit = Research reports; no. 93).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

From Material Objects to Social Objects: Researching the Material-Dialogic Spaces of Joint Attention in a School-based Makerspace

Kumpulainen, K. & Kajamaa, A., 21 Jun 2019, A Wide Lens: Combining Embodied, Enactive, Extended, and Embedded Learning In Collaborative Settings,13th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) 2019, Volume 1. Lund, K., Niccolai, G., Lavoué, E., Hmelo-Silver, C., Gweo, G. & Baker, M. (eds.). Lyon: ISLS International Society of the Learning Sciences, Vol. 1. p. 352-359 8 p. (Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

Open Access

How to … be reflexive when doing qualitative research

Barrett, A., Kajamaa, A. & Johnston, J., 12 Dec 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : The clinical teacher.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Projects 2004 2020

DigiChild: Nordic Research Network on Digitalising Childhoods funded by NOS HS/Academy of Finland

Kumpulainen, K., Kajamaa, A., Erstad, O., Mäkitalo, Å., Drotner, K. & Jakobsdottir, S.


Project: Research project


Kortejärvi, H., Laaksonen, R., Kari, H., Yliperttula, M., Kajamaa, A., Ronkainen, J., Vuollo, P., Kilpijärvi, T., Salmela, A., Rahko, V., Makkonen, N., Vähälassi, L. & Kunnamo, I.

01/09/2014 → …

Project: Other project

Activities 2005 2019

Klaus-Peter Schulz

Anu Kajamaa (Host)
20 May 201925 May 2019

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesAcademic visit at UH

Tieteen päivät 2019

Anu Kajamaa (Speaker: Presenter)
13 Jan 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

Opponent for Doctoral candidate Maria Christidis

Anu Kajamaa (Supervisor)
25 Apr 2019

Activity: Examination typesMember of doctoral thesis committee / follow-up group

Nordic Research Network on Digitalising Childhoods seminar

Kristiina Kumpulainen (Chair of organizing committee), Anu Kajamaa (Member of organizing committee)
3 Nov 20195 Nov 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars