Jari Niemelä is Professor of Urban Ecology and Dean of the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki. He has a PhD degree in zoology (ecology) from the University of Helsinki. He has been working in various research teaching positions since 1980s. He also spent three years as a Postdoctoral researcher in Canada (University of Alberta, Edmonton) in the early 1990s. He has had his professorship in urban ecology since year 2000. Professionally, Niemelä is broadly interested in issues related to sustainable urban development. His own expertise is in ecology, biodiversity, and conservation biology, but his research team also addresses issues related to the integration of natural and social sciences. Niemelä is also interested and active in the science-policy interface, i.e. in transferring research results to the society to inform planners, decision-makers etc.
Jari Niemelä has been the leader of several national and EU-funded research projects dealing with urban issues. He also has experience of multidisciplinary research, in particular through research in the EU-funded projects. These projects include:
- Ecology and urban planning
- Integrating ecological and social information in urban planning
- Enhancing urban biodiversity: habitat planning and strategic management of urban green areas
- Development of Urban Greenspaces to Improve the Quality of Life in Cities and Urban Regions (URGE)
- Developing the EU Biodiversity Research Strategy (BIOSTRAT)
- Green Infrastructure and Urban Biodiversity for Sustainable Urban Development and the Green Economy (GreenSurge)
- European Biodiversity Forum - Implementing the Ecosystem Approach (BIOFORUM)
- Science-Policy Interfaces for Biodiversity: Research, Action, and Learning (SPIRAL)
Niemelä has published ca. 200 publications of which ca. are 120 refereed papers. He has served as an editor-in-chief of an urban ecological book published by Oxford University Press in 2011 (Urban ecology: patterns, processes and applications). He has supervised close to 20 PhD thesis.
In Autumn 2018, Jari Niemelä begins his position as the Rector of the Univeristy of Helsinki.