The research group consists of scholars in the fields of geography, history and social studies education working at the University of Helsinki.
Principal investigator professor Sirpa Tani

Sirpa Tani is Professor of Geography and Environmental Education, and an internationally known expert on geography education. She was one of the founding members and PI of the GeoCapabilities project, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (2012–2013) and the EU Comenius programme (2013–2017). Tani has previously led the research project on young people as active urban residents funded by the Academy of Finland (2011–2015).

Tani is the co-chair of HuSoEd, the founder and long-time chair of SIRENE (Interdisciplinary Network of Environmental and Sustainability Education Research), and a deputy member of the executive committee of HELSUS (Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science). She is active in international research networks: KOSS (Knowledge and Quality across School Subjects and Teacher Education) and EBAN (Education and Bildung in the Anthropocene).

Researcher PhD Mikko Puustinen

Mikko Puustinen, PhD is a university lecturer in history and social studies education and a researcher in the HuSoEd community. His research interests cover teacher education, history didactics and social studies didactics. Methodologically, he is particularly familiar with rhetorical analysis. Puustinen has implemented a large observation study in history classrooms. Recently, he has studied disciplinarity in history and social studies education and developed powerful knowledge theory in these subjects.

Post-doctoral researcher PhD Mikko A. Niemelä

Mikko A. Niemelä defended his doctoral thesis on knowledge-based curriculum integration at the Faculty of Educational Sciences of University of Helsinki. His current research interests focus on curriculum studies, didactics and sociology of education. Mikko is an interdisciplinary scholar with a special eye on theoretical research. Mikko graduated as Master of Social Sciences from Master's degree programme in civil society in University of Jyväskylä. His master's thesis studied the integration of phenomenology with critical theory. He gained bachelor of science degree from the University of Tampere majoring in philosophy. Previously he has been working as a subject teacher of philosophy, psychology, history, social studies and religious education in secondary schools.

Post-doctoral researcher MA, MMus Amna Khawaja

Amna Khawaja, MA, MMus is currently finalising her PhD in history education. Her research interests include historical literacy and historical thinking. Khawaja was part of the HisLit project (Engaging in disciplinary thinking: Historical literacy practices in Finnish general upper secondary schools, Academy of Finland 2016–2020).


The research group is part of the Humanities and Social Sciences Education (HuSoEd) research community at the University of Helsinki. The project is contributing for the research network Knowledge and Quality across School Subjects and Teacher Education (KOSS) connecting scholars from Finland, Sweden and United Kingdom. Further, the project works in collaboration with the international research network Education and Bildung in the Anthropocene (EBAN).