Anu Kajamaa

Research activity per year

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 also an Honorary Professor in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of Exeter, UK.

Her background is in Adult Education. She is Co-Leader of an expert group called Learning, Culture and Interventions (LECI) and the Vice Director of the Doctoral Programme of School, Education, Society and Culture (SEDUCE) in the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. She also takes active part to faculty development as a member in the Faculty Council and the Faculty Research Committee, and a Leader of the study programme for General and Adult Education. She currently serves as a board member of the The Finnish Society for Research on Adult Education and is the Co-Chair of the Cultural-Historical Research Special Interest Group (SIG) at The American Educational Research Association (AERA). She is also a Visiting Associate Professor at Aalto University, School of Business (Department of Management Studies) and in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture (Department of Media) in Finland.

Anu has received several awards for her research and teaching:

  • 2023 The Royal Society of Medicine and Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education Practitioners Award, UK
  • 2022 Early Career Award, The American Educational Research Association (AERA), Cultural-Historical SIG, San Diego, US
  • 2022 Top Cited Article, The Clinical Teacher Journal, Wiley
  • 2021 The Clinical Teacher Journal Impact Award, given by Wiley and the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME)
  • 2020 Editor's Choice Award (the most impactful and high quality paper in 2020), award given by The British Educational Research Association (BERA) and the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET), UK
  • 2019 The Best Paper Award finalist, International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM), Florence, Italy
  • 2018 Best Practice-Oriented Paper Award, 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) Annual conference
  • 2015 The Adult Educator of the Year, awarded 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 Principal Investigator at the University of Helsinki, in an EU HORIZON 2020-MSCA-RISE-Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research project, entitled "Improving collaborative working between correctional and mental health services". She is also the institutional leader in a Erasmus+ KA205 Strategic Partnerships for Youth EU project, entitled ”Enhancing young people's media literacy for civic engagement”. 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 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. Her research focuses especially on collective learning, creativity, organization and management, continuous learning, 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 sociocultural approaches, cultural historical activity theory and the Change Laboratory method. Her current research contexts are primary schools, teacher education, prisons, health and social care, and entrepreneurship hubs/fabrication laboratories and other hybrid organizations.

Her work is highly international, she is a research group member in several national and international projects and consortiums (e.g. with University College London, UK, 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 Stavanger, Norway; 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.