Generation Z and beyond: Co-evolution of human capabilities and intelligent technologies in the 21st century (GenZ)

GenZ is a strategic profiling theme of the University of Oulu, funded by the Academy of Finland. GenZ aims to respond to the challenges rapidly developing new technologies will have on human lives in the 21st century. GenZ aims to strengthen human capabilities, anticipate future challenges and increase human resilience through world-class interdisciplinary research within the identified themes:

  • Co-evolution research focuses on identifying the core human skills and capabilities need to live, learn to live and learn to learn in a society where emerging technologies play an increasingly significant role. Theme leader: Prof. Sanna Järvelä
  • Co-creation investigates how human sciences can contribute to the development of the human-technology connection, for example by raising ethical issues and understanding evolving socio-technical futures. Theme leader: Prof. Netta Iivari
  • Resilience focuses on how collaborative processes and human knowledge can be strengthened when new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, transform work life and job markets. Theme leaders: Prof. Rauli Svento and Prof. Jarkko Saarinen


Project leader: Prof. Pentti Haddington, Faculty of Humanities

Faculties involved: Faculty of Humanities, Oulu Business School, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Science 

Partners: Finnish universities, Natural Resources Institute of Finland (LUKE), Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, VAT Institute for Economic Research, Oulu Innovation Alliance (OIA), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Finnish Meteorological Institute


Key personnel
8.12.2017 Researcher

Pentti Haddington

5.10.2018 Researcher

Rauli Svento

6.3.2018 Researcher

Sanna Järvelä

22.9.2017 Researcher

Jarkko Saarinen

14.12.2018 Researcher

Netta Iivari

GenZ - Strengthening human capabilities in the new digital era

As new technologies are rapidly developing and becoming more intelligent, invisible and ubiquitous, the entanglement of these technologies with human everyday life presents a 21st-century challenge and transformation that will not exclude any individuals, communities or processes. In spite of this, contemporary approaches to the technological transformation take the human-being for granted and are too narrow. They merely focus on how humans, communities or societies react to new technologies and how people use a technology after it has been developed and designed; or they predict dystopian futures emerging from the co-existence between humans and technology. This is not enough. A concerted response is needed to generate research-based knowledge about the co-evolution of humans and intelligent technologies, making possible the renewal of human capabilities and competences in all walks of life.

GenZ responds to this need with the following themes:

  • Enabling co-evolution: Capabilities and competences of individuals and interactions
  • Creating socio-technical futures: Uncertainty, ethics and new services
  • Promoting resilience from creative destruction: Emerging technology cultures

GenZ answers the following questions:

  • Co-evolution: What are the everyday human competences and capabilities needed to live, learn to live and learn to learn in the society that is driven by intelligent technologies?
  • Co-creation: How can human sciences contribute to boundary breaking that enables ambitious and interactive human-technology development in intelligent socio-technical futures.
  • Resilience: How can co-creation be used in forming value-creating resilience and economic development in ecosystems that use intelligent technologies?
  • Methodologies: How can intelligent technologies be used to develop new methodological solutions in human science research?

GenZ aims to create a world-class multidisciplinary research-based GenZ Hub offering transformative know-how to strengthen human capabilities, anticipate future challenges and increase human resilience. GenZ Hub will organize various activities, initiate a visitor programme and collaborate with local and international stakeholders.

Follow GenZ on Twitter and LinkedIn

Tenure track programme

GenZ opens an international call for tenure track positions. With the call, GenZ aims to recruit top international researchers in the project’s focus areas. The call is open and will close the 15th of February 2019. Appointed tenure-track professors will be expected to start their five-year positions in August or September 2019.

The GenZ research programme includes three broad research themes: Co-evolution, Co-creation and Resilience. Within these themes we are now inviting tenure track applications for the following focus areas:

(Click the link to open the description of the position and an application form)

Guidelines on the tenure track career path

21.2.2018 Researcher

Mirka Hintsanen

17.1.2018 Researcher

Katariina Holma

1.3.2018 Researcher

Pia Hurmelinna-Laukkanen

27.2.2018 Researcher

Maija-Leena Huotari

10.10.2017 Researcher

Sari Kunnari

14.12.2017 Researcher

Tuija Mainela

17.4.2018 Researcher

Timo Ojala

9.4.2018 Researcher

Florence Oloff

20.3.2018 Researcher

Guoying Zhao

19.3.2018 Researcher

Mirka Rauniomaa

13.9.2017 Researcher

Pauliina Ulkuniemi