More information on the FinEd preseminar at FERA 2023 conference

As previously announced, FinEd is organising another preseminar at the 2023 FERA Conference on Education (kasvatustieteen päivät), on 22 November 2023. The preseminar, entitled Focus on Open Science in the Field of Educational Sciences, will comprise keynote speeches by Professor Erika Löfström (University of Helsinki) and Dr Sami Syrjämäki (Head of Publications, Federation of Finnish Learned Societies). We are pleased to share the abstracts for the keynotes (below).

The schedule for the preseminar has also been decided. Taking into consideration the travel times and train schedules, we will be starting at 2PM with the keynote speeches, and the workshop will run from 4PM – 6PM. Register for the preseminar here by 14 November at the latest. Details will be sent to registered participants prior to the preseminar.

We look forward to seeing you there! Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact FinEd coordinator Anna Rawlings at

Our speakers:

Professor Erika Löfström (UH): Open science – open ethics?

While ethics is a cornerstone in all research, navigating the ethics of your PhD research in the age of Open Science may sometimes involve difficult considerations, even challenges. There are demands of transparency and openness, not only about one’s results, but also practices, procedures and data. International and national expectations and guidance on research ethics have increased to support researchers in maintaining high ethical standards in their research. At the same time, researchers may struggle to get a sense of how to match expectations, some of which may even seem contradictory, such as opening data and protecting the identities of the participating individuals. In this talk, I will discuss some of the recent changes in the landscape of research and relate these to the expectations of transparency and openness, and their implications for research and researchers. I also provide suggestions and tools for handling ethical questions and dilemmas in research.

Dr Sami Syrjämäki PhD (Federation of Finnish Learned Societies): Contemporary Trends in Scholarly Publishing

Do you ever wonder about Elsevier, Green/Gold/Diamond Open Access, CC licenses, and predatory journals and how they are interconnected? Is there more to scholarly publishing than simply knowing how to craft an exceptional research article? The landscape of scholarly publishing is evolving swiftly, making it challenging to stay abreast of these developments. In this presentation, I will provide a concise overview of the key trends and the broader context of rapidly changing world of scholarly publishing.

Registration for the 2023 FinEd preseminar is open!

As in previous years, FinEd is arranging a preseminar in conjunction with the FERA Conference on Education. This year’s preseminar, Focus on Open Science in the Field of Educational Sciences, will take place at the Åbo Akademi University in Vaasa, on 22 November 2023. The preseminar explores the role of research in society and the legitimacy of scientific knowledge, and is targeted at PhD researchers writing their theses in the field of educational sciences in our member universities, with the aim of stimulating early-career researchers’ thinking and supporting their professional development as scientists. 

The preseminar will be a full-day session, including two keynote speakers with expertise in aspects of open science especially related to conducting research and publishing, and a structured workshop on the topics covered in the keynotes. Our speakers:

Prof. Erika Löfström (University of Helsinki) is a member of the Diversity, Multilingualism and Social Justice (DIMISO) research group. Her research activities include, among others, the VIRT2UE project. Prof. Löfström’s talk will focus on ethics and research integrity.

Dr. Sami Syrjämäki PhD is Head of Publications at the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. Dr. Syrjämäki’s talk will focus on open-access publication within science and research.

Register for the preseminar here by 14.11.2023. More information, including the abstracts for the talks, will be published in early October, and a detailed schedule will be sent to registered participants after registration closes.

Apply now for FinEd scientific writing workshop for PhD researchers

We are pleased to announce the call for our annual scientific writing workshop for doctoral researchers!

What? A workshop focusing on the processes of academic and scientific writing, including individual and group work, mentor and peer feedback on participants’ texts, and interesting keynote speeches.

When? 15.–16.8.2023 (Tuesday – Wednesday).

Where? Hanaholmen Conference Hotel in Espoo.

For whom? Doctoral researchers from the doctoral programmes on educational sciences of FinEd member universities, representing all paradigms, and writing either article-based or monograph dissertations. NB while we welcome applicants from all stages of the PhD process, to get the most out of the workshop, you should have a textual part of your thesis (e.g., a section of an article, or chapter of your monograph/summary) to work on at the workshop. Participants will be asked to submit this for mentor comments before the workshop.

How to apply? The call is open from 1.–31.3.2023. To apply, please fill in the application form, including a motivation letter (max. 500 words) describing why you are applying to the workshop and why you think you would benefit from it in your PhD process. Based on the applications, max. 25 participants will be chosen by a committee of five FinEd steering group members, with a view to facilitating diversity (aiming for equal representation of FinEd member universities, researchers from different paradigms and stages of work), and with specific importance given to the motivation letter.

How much will it cost? FinEd will pay the expenses of successful applicants (accommodation and meals; remuneration of travel within Finland). Successful applicants will be informed about the choice in mid-April, with binding enrolment requested by 1.6.2023.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact FinEd coordinator Anna Rawlings ( We look forward to receiving your applications, see you in August!

Spring 2023 season of FinEd Online Research Talks

Coming soon: another season of FinEd Online Research Talks (FORT), covering current topics in educational sciences and showcasing the varied research conducted in FinEd’s member universities. The FORT events are targeted particularly for PhD researchers, but other members of the scientific community, as well as all other interested parties, are also warmly welcome. Participation is free, details of the talks below!

10.2.2023 (Friday), from 10-11 o’clock:

Relationships between children’s early numeracy, physical activity and motor skills learning, Professor (Special Education) Pirjo Aunio (University of Helsinki)

My talk focuses on the latest research findings in my group about young children’s early numeracy learning and possible learning difficulties in it.  We aim to produce new scientific evidence about developmental dynamics in early numeracy, executive functions, motor skills and physical activity. The study line started with an observation that children’s physical activity, motor skills and the knowledge of mathematical skills have been decreasing during the last decade. Is it so that an inactive lifestyle causes problems for learning?   So far we have collected longitudinal data from three measurement points, approximately 300 children aged 3-6 years. We have also used the interventions to manipulate the developmental trajectories. In my FinEd talk, I will present our new results. I will also discuss about challenges to conduct longitudinal and intervention studies with preschoolers.

Link to Prof. Aunio’s talk, Meeting ID:     684 2273 6018

15.3.2023 (Wednesday), from 13-14 o’clock:

The significance of socioeconomic background for the educational dispositions and aspirations of Finnish comprehensive school leavers, Professor Tero Järvinen (University of Turku)

In the Bildung review by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture published in January 2023, the concern is raised about the increase of educational inequalities related to the socioeconomic background of children and young people. Differences between socioeconomic groups can be seen in students’ school performance and learning results as well as in their selection into different educational pathways after comprehensive school. According to research, even students from different socioeconomic backgrounds with equal school success will end up on different educational paths.  This lecture examines the significance of socioeconomic background for students’ educational dispositions and aspirations.  By drawing on a study of 15-year old lower secondary school students (N=1.058) in Turku sub-region, the lecture aims to answer the following questions: what is the effect, if any, of the socioeconomic background of Finnish comprehensive school leavers on their educational dispositions and aspirations, and how does the relationship change when controlling for the effects of individual ability and gender?  If it turns out that many gifted students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds who have positive educational dispositions ‘voluntarily’ give up achieving higher levels of education, it means that many occupational fields will lose potentially talented and skilful employees. It also means that Finnish education system is not able to encourage and support students to set themselves educational goals that differ from their family tradition. By not succeeding in this, the system functions towards the social inheritance of education and reproduction of the social divisions and hierarchies of a society.

Link to Prof. Järvinen’s talk, Meeting ID:     679 5989 6948

20.4.2023 (Thursday), from 12-13 o’clock:

Decentering the adult and problematising the production of child in education, Professor Maija Lanas (University of Oulu)

The lecture discusses critically the position of a child in education. In sociologically based childhood studies, youth studies, and also in educational philosophy, the position of a child has been critically discussed and theorised for some decades now. However, these discussions have not made their way to the majority of educational practice and empirical research about education. The lecture argues that the normalised position of a child in education is ethically problematic, and showcases why.

Link to Prof. Lanas’ talk, Meeting ID:     668 6173 9737

FinEd Newsletter 2022 – A Year in Review

In the beginning of 2022, responsibility for steering FinEd activities was handed over to the University of Helsinki from the University of Lapland, for the coming two years. The year 2022 also saw us returning to in-person seminars and meetings, as well as launching some new kinds of activities and events. In this newsletter, we take a look at the past year and its activities. We also want to take this opportunity to extend our warmest thank-yous to everyone who has taken part in our events, be it as keynote speakers, mentors, workshop participants, or in any other role, and to wish everyone Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year 2023!

FinEd Online Research Talks

In the spring, we introduced a series of online research talks, with professors from member universities taking turns in giving a keynote speech on a topic of their choice, approximately once a month during termtime. The series has provided us with a new way of reaching out to doctoral researchers as well as the academic community more broadly. Furthermore, the talks raise awareness of FinEd and showcase the broad range of research done within our network. This year’s speakers were Professors Markku Niemivirta (University of Eastern Finland), on The role of goals in motivation and well-being; Päivi Rasi-Heikkinen (University of Lapland) on Media literacies among senior citizens; Niina Rutanen (University of Jyväskylä), on Ethics in research with young children; Annalisa Sannino (Tampere University), on Challenges of transformative agency for equity and sustainability: A perspective from the learning sciences; and Kristina Ström and Mia Porko-Hudd (Åbo Akademi University), on Special Education and Sloyd Education at ÅAU. The series has garnered interest and been well attended and received, and will continue in 2023, so stay tuned!

Writing workshop for doctoral researchers, 17-18 August

Seventeen doctoral researchers from seven of our eight member universities participated in a two-day writing workshop at the beautiful, inspiring environment of the Hanaholmen Conference Center in Espoo. Activities at the workshop included two keynote speeches, How to understand and optimize the process of academic writing from University Lecturer Elina Ketonen (University of Helsinki) and Summary of the PhD Thesis from Professor Auli Toom (University of Helsinki), work in small groups on participants’ abstracts and article manuscripts, as well as time set aside for networking, sharing experiences with peers, and making new friends. Participants also received comments on their article manuscripts from senior FinEd members. We received positive feedback for the workshop, as well as some suggestions for making it even better, which we will take into account when planning and organising the 2023 workshop.

“Thank all of the organizers and mentors of FinEd seminar. It was a really wonderful and enlightening workshop, encouraging many PHD researchers to share the questions what’s bothering them most during the academic writing.” – Feedback comment from a participant

FinEd preseminar at the FERA Educational Research days, 23 November, University of Oulu

The topic of the FinEd preseminar, Values matter in education and research – Exploring the philosophical foundations of Educational Sciences, was chosen based on suggestions received from a questionnaire for doctoral researchers from the autumn of 2021. The preseminar comprised two parts, with Professor Katariina Holma’s (University of Oulu) keynote speech Science, theories, and values arranged in hybrid form, to enable interested parties who could not make it to Oulu in person to participate, too. The keynote was attended by approximately 40 audience members, of whom 15 took part online via zoom. After a lunchbreak, twelve doctoral researchers from different member universities attended the in-person workshop part of the preseminar. The feedback for both the keynote and the workshop was very positive. For the record, should you come across the term Empathic-Relational-Dialogical Science – it was invented at this workshop by some participants!

“I think we need an interesting keynote who directs participants’ thoughts and reflection towards the topic. The keynote was a spot on.” – Feedback comment from a participant

“I think workshop working as a whole is something we need as doctoral students. In workshops we get to know each other properly and get to share our thoughts on doing a PhD. There could even be more of such activity.” – Feedback comment from a participant

Other activities

In June, FinEd supported the organisation of the “Oppimis- ja oppimisvaikeustutkijatapaaminen 2022” (Meeting of learning and learning-difficulties researchers) by funding the FinEd keynote speech Developmental dynamics between academic well-being and educational outcomes from an accomplished younger researcher, Dr Anna Widlund (Åbo Akademi University).

During the autumn term, the steering board has been examining differences and similarities in the criteria set for article-based doctoral theses in member universities. This work of exploring the possibility of unifying these criteria across member universities is still ongoing.

Finally, FinEd now has a Twitter account, and we warmly invite you to follow us on @FinEdVerkosto, to keep up-to-date and receive reminders of our various events.

New season of FinEd Online Research Talks coming up

We are pleased to announce the new season of FinEd Online Research Talks! This series of talks covers current topics on educational sciences from varied theoretical and paradigmatic standpoints, showcasing the research conducted in FinEd’s member universities – Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Eastern Finland, Oulu, Lapland, and Åbo Akademi. The talks are targeted for the scientific community, including PhD researchers, Master’s students, researchers, and other interested parties. Participation is free – you are warmly welcome!

This term, we will host three lunchtime talks:

12.10.2022 (Wednesday) at 12 noon – 1 PM.

Ethics in research with young children, Prof. Niina Rutanen (University of Jyväskylä).

This lecture is based on our research groups’ experiences in research with 1-8-year-old children. The Tracing children’s socio-spatial relations and lived experiences in early childhood education transitions (Trace in ECEC) project, funded by the Academy of Finland, has enabled a longitudinal data collection with the same children throughout the years. One of the central tensions we have identified during this process is the tension between the needs of the study and the needs of the child to be seen or, alternatively, remain invisible. The lecture will focus on three central aspects where these tensions are visible during the process 1) informed consents and child’s own assent to study, 2) diverse gazes and relationships with the child while being on the field, and 3) reporting the study.   

Link to Prof. Rutanen’s talk Meeting ID: 637 6838 7165 Passcode: 062897

Niina Rutanen is a Professor in Early Childhood Education at the Department of Education, University of Jyväskylä. Her main research interests have focused on relational and spatial approaches in research on early childhood institutions and young children. The most recent project Tracing children’s socio-spatial relations and lived experiences in early childhood education transitions (Trace in ECEC 2019-2023, funded by the Academy of Finland) explores children’s transitions in early childhood education ( Twitter @nrutanen @trace_in_ecec

3.11.2022 (Thursday) at 11AM – 12 noon.

Challenges of transformative agency for equity and sustainability: A perspective from the learning sciences, Prof. Annalisa Sannino (Tampere University)

Agency is a central topic in the learning sciences, which, however, too often rely on conceptualizations of agency transferred somewhat uncritically from disciplines other than education itself. The lecture starts with a brief critical discussion of the most influential conceptualizations of agency from psychology and from sociology which remain silent or vague about the processes behind the emergence and development of agency. Yet, educational scholarship, today more than ever, must be able to inform concretely lived processes of and deliberate efforts at generating agency for the making of a just and sustainable world. The lecture proposes an activity-theoretical perspective which lends its conceptual and methodological tools to the actual fostering of transformative capacities and contributes to the creation of conditions to concretely enact agency. The lecture argues that this perspective may represent a relevant contribution for the learning sciences to respond to acute challenges of our time.

Link to Prof. Sannino’s talk Meeting ID: 675 1506 4707 Passcode: 139308

Please note the time of Prof. Sannino’s talk has changed from previously announced.

Annalisa Sannino is Professor at the Faculty of Education and Culture, Tampere University, Finland. Her research focuses on collective learning and transformative agency for equity and sustainability in educational settings, workplaces and communities. Her work is increasingly recognized as a contribution to the field of the learning sciences from the perspectives of cultural-historical activity theory, formative interventions and cross-sectoral participatory analyses and design. Results of her research have appeared in numerous publications including edited books by Cambridge University Press (2009 and forthcoming) and Routledge (2013). She is currently serving as visiting professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, at University West, Sweden and at Rhodes University, South Africa.

7.12.2022 (Wednesday) at 12 noon – 1PM.

Research in Special Education and Sloyd Education at ÅAU, Prof. Kristina Ström and Prof. Mia Porko-Hudd (Åbo Akademi)

In this presentation, we will briefly present the two research areas Special Education and Sloyd Education at ÅAU. We will focus on giving an insight into current research and ongoing projects, as well as reflecting upon possibilities for joint ventures between the two disciplines.

Link to Prof. Ström’s and Prof. Porko-Hudd’s talk Meeting ID: 638 8826 4066 Passcode: 304975

Kristina Ström and Mia Porko-Hudd are Professors of Education at the Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies, Åbo Akademi University.

Register for the FinEd pre-seminar!

Registration is now open for the FinEd pre-seminar Values Matter in Education and Research – Exploring the Philosophical Foundations of Educational Sciences!

The pre-seminar, arranged ahead of the FERA 2022 Conference “Multivocality in the Changing World of Education” on 23 November 2022 at the University of Oulu, examines the philosophical foundations of educational sciences, and the values pertaining to conducting educational research. The pre-seminar is targeted for doctoral researchers who wish to deepen their understanding about the philosophical background assumptions as well as ethical practices of the field.

The first part of the pre-seminar will comprise a keynote speech by Professor Katariina Holma (University of Oulu) followed by questions from participants and discussion, and the second part will consist of workshops on the topic, run by Prof. Auli Toom (University of Helsinki) and Prof. Maija Lanas (University of Oulu).

We cordially invite you to register for the pre-seminar by 15 November at Participation is free to registered participants. Note that the first part of the pre-seminar (keynote & discussion) will be organised in hybrid format, to enable distance participation.  

Programme outline:

10:30 Opening words, Prof. Auli Toom

Keynote speech, Prof. Katariina Holma

Discussion, introduction of workshops

12-13 Lunchbreak

13-16 Workshops 

FinEd Online Research Talks

FinEd is launching the FinEd Online Research Talks, a series of talks covering current topics on educational sciences from varied theoretical and paradigmatic standpoints, aimed for the scientific community – PhD researchers, Master’s students, researchers, and other interested parties. Once a month during term-time, professors from member universities will give a talk on their special field of experience. Participation is free – you are warmly welcome!

This spring, we will host two equally interesting, yet quite different lunchtime talks. We will open the series on 31.5.2022 (Tuesday) at 12 noon – 1 PM (EEST) with opening words from the Chair of FinEd Network, Prof. Auli Toom (University of Helsinki) and a talk from Prof. Markku Niemivirta (University of Eastern Finland), on The role of goals in motivation and well-being. On 14.6.2022 (Tuesday) at 12 noon – 1 PM (EEST) Prof. Päivi Rasi-Heikkinen (University of Lapland) will give a talk on the topic Media literacies among senior citizens.

Three further talks are scheduled for Autumn 2022 (dates to be announced). The speakers and their topics include Prof. Niina Rutanen (University of Jyväskylä) on Ethics in research with young children; Prof. Mia Porko-Hudd and Prof. Kristina Ström (Åbo Akademi University) on Special Education and Sloyd Education at ÅAU; and Prof. Annalisa Sannino (Tampere University). Annalisa’s topic will be announced closer to the date.

All talks will be available at the same recurring webinar link Webinar ID: 670 9831 2560 Passcode: 9446225