News - Understanding humans in change

13.1.2021 News

Noteworthy recognition to Professor Anssi Paasi – the first Finn after A. E. Nordenskiöld to receive the prestigious Vega medal

Founded in 1878, the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (SSAG) has awarded the prestigious Vega medal to Professor of Geography Anssi Paasi from the University of Oulu on the basis of his scientific merit. In its explanatory memorandum, the society emphasises the importance of Paasi’s research for the critical renewal and expansion of political geography.

12.1.2021 News

Ancient DNA shows how reindeer pastoralism spread 500 years ago

Archaeologists and geneticists of the University of Oulu found out that domesticated reindeer replaced wild reindeer at the Sámi offering places in Northern Finland in the 15th to 17th centuries. The research group analyzed archaeological reindeer bone finds from four Sámi offering places. The analyzed samples dated from the late 12th century to the 17th century.

5.1.2021 News

Cultural anthropologist found by arctic studies

Arctic researchers are a little different, says university lecturer in cultural anthropology Roger Norum, a native New Yorker who ended up in Oulu.

7.10.2020 News

Gorilla bones help researchers understand the origin of osteoporosis

Ageing female gorillas do not suffer from bone loss, i.e. osteoporosis, as their close relatives, humans. Osteoporosis refers to bone loss, in other words, a reduction in bone mass, and is a common disease especially in older women. The research result may be relevant when examining age-related diseases.

25.8.2020 News

Artificial intelligence utilised in editing the digital dictionaries of Skolt Saami and North Saami

The University of Oulu Giellagas Institute publishes the Skolt Saami and Northern Saami dictionaries in a digital format. The authors utilised artificial intelligence as part of the editing work.

23.6.2020 News

Digitalisation boosts business

Digital business can be found in all sectors. Researchers at the University of Oulu analyse opportunities for digitalisation and help companies to develop a new business model. Their partners include the Port of Oulu, which is building a 5G local network with digital services.

1.6.2020 News

Minority identity lives in languages

Two new projects are promoting the revival of Nordic minority languages: translators of Meänkieli and Kven will be offered translator training for the first time, and Meänkieli will have its first corpus created. Niina Kunnas from the University of Oulu, who participates in the projects, tells us some more about the topic.

14.5.2020 News

Music is a microcosm of the Sámi world

Music researcher, musician and composer Marko Jouste has been studying the Sámi music tradition. While doing so, he has discovered songs that were thought to have been lost.

27.4.2020 News

University of Oulu collects worldwide everyday experiences of the corona crisis

The University of Oulu collects information worldwide on the effects of the coronavirus crisis on people's everyday life. Experiencing the Pandemic project material will be used in a variety of disciplines, including in dealing with potential new crises.

9.4.2020 News

Saami Culture Archive plays important role for research in the North

The University of Oulu maintains the Saami Culture Archive, which has been keeping a record of life in the Saami area for over a century. The digitalisation of the archive materials has been supported by donations made to the university, and so now it is easier than ever to make use of the archive in research and teaching. With the help of students and researchers with skills in the Saami languages, the secrets of the archive are now also being opened up for use in multidisciplinary research in the northern regions.

8.4.2020 News

The perspective of common people is important for anthropologists

Hannu I. Heikkinen finds it endlessly fascinating when research subjects’ stories draw the cultural anthropologist’s attention to a new direction.

7.4.2020 News

Bringing human perspective in digitalisation research

The multidisciplinary GenZ profiling project of the University of Oulu begins to materialise when the tenure track assistant and associate professors selected in January begin their research activities. At the same time, the project objective of bringing human orientation to digitalisation is highlighted from the perspective of the different research fields.

24.3.2020 News

Oral history describes the resources and strength provided by rural heritage

In the 1940s, Finnish children were born in a land of forests and fields. More than half of the working-age population earned their living from agriculture and forestry. Of the entire population, 75 per cent lived in areas categorised as rural. By European standards, the Finnish society was urbanised late but at a rapid pace.

24.3.2020 News

AAG's John Rooney Award to Professor Jarkko Saarinen

The American Association of Geographers (AAG), the largest international scientific organisation in the field of geography, has awarded the John Rooney Prize to Jarkko Saarinen, Professor of Geography of the University of Oulu.

20.3.2020 News

The world looks different through the eyes of an archaeologist

Tiina Äikäs is a lover of history and studies Sámi offering sites, some of which are still in use today.

11.2.2020 News

Vertebral size and shape potentially linked to generalized back problems

According to a multidisciplinary study at the University of Oulu, contemporary Finns’ vertebrae have not grown in the same proportion to body size compared to people who lived 200–500 years ago. The smaller size of vertebrae may be linked to contemporary back problems.

21.1.2020 News

Professor of the Year has been awarded to Anssi Paasi, Professor of Geography

Anssi Paasi, Professor of Geography at the University of Oulu, has been named Professor of the Year by the Finnish Union of University Professors. His appointment was announced at the Communicatio Academica event in Vaasa on 17 January 2020.


9.1.2020 News

Reindeer feeding began 800 years ago

University of Oulu researchers found out together with their Nordic colleagues that reindeer supplementary feeding began in some areas already 800 years ago. Previously it has been unclear when supplementary feeding of the reindeer began.

20.11.2019 News

The number of students enrolled for the module was a pleasant surprise is a multidisciplinary study module that deals with the science of climate change and how to prevent it and adapt to it. The module is open to anyone who is interested and can be completed through extensive online resources.

3.9.2019 News

Human land use reflected as environmental changes already 3,000 years ago

Human activity has caused remarkable environmental impacts on the earth already thousands of years ago. The global history of land use was examined in a study which brought together more than 250 archaeologists from around the world. This is the first world-wide review on the long-term history of land use based on archaeological research.

19.6.2019 News

New evidence about the bone strengthening effects of different forms of exercise from archaeological perspective

Medical research has confirmed it, and now archaeologists have as well: forms of exercise that involve shaking and vibrations are the best for strengthening bones. The archaeological research carried out at the University of Oulu also found that exercise involving repeated vibrations combined with a larger muscle cross-sectional area is the most effective for strengthening bones.

4.6.2019 News

Farmers in the north of Finland practised a mixed economy in medieval times

Farmers who lived in Finland in the Middle Ages and the early Modern Age (1400–1700) made very versatile use of their environment by practising a mixed economy. Domestic animals grazed on natural pastures, and bunches of tree branches and lichen were collected for them as feed. In addition to farming and animal husbandry, residents of Northern Finland engaged in hunting and fishing.

8.5.2019 News

Obesity is increasing faster in rural areas than in urban areas

Extensive international research reveals an interesting phenomenon in the increasing obesity among world population: the geography of body-mass index (BMI) appears to have changed radically over the last few decades. In 1985, urban men and women in the majority of the countries had a higher BMI than their rural counterparts. However, in approximately 30 years, the situation has practically been reversed.

18.4.2019 News

Terrestrial products were prepared in the oldest pottery vessels of Northeastern Europe

Only products acquired from terrestrial environments were prepared in the oldest pottery vessels by the Stone Age hunter-gatherers of Finland and North-West Russia. Processing of aquatic products, like fish and seals, started only some five hundred years after the adoption of pottery technology.

25.2.2019 News

Doctors are cautiously optimistic about online therapies

Forms of digital healthcare, such as remote online therapies, are an effective response to the growing demand for healthcare services. Most doctors consider online therapies as an accepted way to provide treatment. Doctors believe they work well to complement early stage treatment but should not be the only option.

30.1.2019 News

GenZ drives the human approach into digitalisation

Smart technology can be a good servant but a bad master. GenZ, a profiling project of the University of Oulu, puts people at the centre of the development and use of technology.

16.1.2019 News

Genetic factors partly explain risk behaviour

Researchers from the University of Oulu are involved in a large-scale international study, which shows that genetic factors partly explain risk behaviour. The effect of individual genes on risk behaviour is low, but the interaction of genes is significant.

19.10.2018 News

Education helps to ensure the wellbeing of humans and nature

Quality and equal education is one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. Professor of global education at the University of Oulu Elina Lehtomäki sheds light on the multi-level connection between education and sustainability.

17.10.2018 News

Sustainable tourism requires regulation

The sustainability of tourism is one of the central themes under tourism geography at the Geography Research Unit at the University of Oulu. This multifaceted topic encompasses both ecological and societal perspectives.

20.6.2018 News

Mummy studies contribute to knowledge of Northern Finnish disease history

The researchers in Oulu are pioneers in the tracing of Finnish disease history with the help of mummies. By studying the mummy of Nikolaus Rungius, a Vicar of the Kemi parish, Archaeologist Tiina Väre has discovered that the clergyman may have suffered from tuberculosis, obesity, and, according to the latest findings, gynecomastia.

21.5.2018 News

School essays depict civil war cruelty

School essays written in the autumn following the end of the Finnish Civil War offer a multi-dimensional insight into the battle of Tampere. However, the stories written by people with first-hand experience are overshadowed by the White winners’ interpretation, says Docent Marianne Junila, who has done long-term research on the subject.

4.5.2018 News

Researchers at the University of Oulu solve the mystery of the Käymäjärvi Stone

Archaeology and history researchers at the University of Oulu have solved the mystery of the so-called Käymäjärvi Stone, which has puzzled scholars of ancient history for over 300 years.

25.4.2018 News

Recent study pushes back the start date of Sámi offering rituals

University of Oulu researchers showed together with their Nordic colleagues that the use of Sámi offering sites began earlier than previously thought. New radiocarbon dates show that the use of these sites began more than thousand years ago.

9.3.2018 News

Forced displacement and migration are part of Finland’s recent history

It is only a few decades since many Finns became war refugees; there are still people among us whose past is marked by forced displacement and migration. What are their stories like? How did these people integrate into a new community and the society, and how long did it take?


15.2.2018 News

Sexual harassment also common among primary school-aged children

Sexual harassment between children is widespread. The information comes from a study conducted by the University of Oulu, which examined sexual harassment that took place in peer relationships between children and the possibilities of dealing with the issue with children through creative methods.

17.1.2018 News

Remote presence and cooperation via avatars

How does co-operation with others work when face-to-face interaction is moved to the virtual world and physical presence replaced with an avatar playing field that opens up through virtual reality headsets? The University of Oulu is interested in exploring virtual reality in technology and in human sciences.

18.12.2017 News

Artificial intelligence reads people like an open book

The latest trends in the research on artificial intelligence at the University of Oulu are related to human well-being and activity. Artificial intelligence identifies emotions from both human face and voice, and turns the operating environment into a ‘smart space’ Sanna Järvelä, professor in the field of learning and educational technology, envisions using artificial intelligence for stimulating learning. 

20.10.2017 News

The past is present in the present

Lapland's Dark Heritage is a project that examines the traces that wartime cooperation between Finland and Germany left in the mental landscape of Northern Finland.

21.9.2017 News

The Arctic region needs dialogue between local people and science

This year, the Associated International Conference and Rectors' Forum of the University of the Arctic (UArctic) cooperative network was held in Aberdeen, Scotland, under the theme Conversations from the North. The talks given underscored the cooperation between local people and researchers – that is the only way by which the life in the Arctic can be genuinely improved.

18.8.2017 News

Major ERC funding for reindeer domestication research

Academy Research Fellow Anna-Kaisa Salmi from the University of Oulu has received major funding from the European Research Council (ERC) for research on animal domestication. The 5-year ERC Starting Grant funding is worth 1.49 million euros.