Scientists and students visiting at the Taita Research Station of the University of Helsinki mainly carry out their research projects in cooperation with different Kenyan and international partners, such as universities, research institutes, governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations.

The basic funding for the maintenance and management of the research station is provided by the University of Helsinki. Faculties and Departments as well as research projects coordinated from the University of Helsinki contribute to the research infrastructure of the station.

The Steering Group and the Advisory Board nominated by the Rector of the University of Helsinki support the Director of the Research Station in operational management, and in promoting and developing research, higher education and active social interaction at the research station.

Most previous and current research projects that use the services of research station are funded by the Academy of Finland. Another important donor is the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland which has supported development cooperation projects implemented in the Taita Taveta County, and utilized the research station's facilities. Also different Finnish companies have provided financial support and equipment for studies implemented in the Taita Hills.

Steering Group

The Rector of the University of Helsinki nominated the following members to the Steering Group of Taita Research Station (1 January 2023 – 31 December 2025):

Professor Sasu Tarkoma (chair), Dean, Faculty of Science

Professor Laura Alakukku, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

Dr. Marko Hyvärinen, Director, Finnish Museum of Natural History

Professor Timo Kaartinen, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences

Associate Professor Tarja Sironen, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Professor Olli Vapalahti, Faculty of Medicine

Advisory Board

The Rector of the University of Helsinki nominated the following members to the Advisory Board of Taita Research Station (1 January 2023 – 31 December 2025):

Professor Kai Nordlund (chair), Vice-Rector, University of Helsinki

University lecturer Mar Cabeza, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Associate professor Anu Kaakinen, Faculty of Science

Professor Arto Kallioniemi, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Educational Sciences

Professor Anu Kantele, Faculty of Medicine

Professor Laura Kolbe, Faculty of Arts

University researcher Essi Korhonen, Faculty of Medicine

Professor Sami Kurki, Director, Ruralia Institute

Associate professor Enrico Di Minin, Faculty of Science

Associate professor Franklin Obeng-Odoom, Faculty of Social Sciences

Professor Mari Pihlatie, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

Research professor Jouni Pulliainen, Finnish Meteorological Institute

Professor Jouko Rikkinen, Finnish Museum of Natural History

Dr. Anna-Maria Salmi, Head of Development, University Services, University of Helsinki

Professor Timo Vesala, Faculty of Science

Professor Auli Vähäkangas, Faculty of Theology

Professor Edward Webb, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry


Core funding

Six Faculties (Science; Medicine; Agriculture and Forestry; Social Sciences; Biological and Environmental Sciences; and Veterinary Medicine) and the Finnish Museum of Natural History of the University of Helsinki provide core funding to the basic management and maintenance of the Taita Research Station. This funding is administrated by the Faculty of Science.

Alumni Association of the University of Helsinki

The alumni of the University of Helsinki provided start-up funding for Taita Research Station Fund in 2012. The Fund annually awards a grant for MSc student research work at the research station. Further donations are warmly welcomed.  Online donation:

Sponsorship by private companies

Nokia Donation funded two MSc theses projects on remote sensing of the environment, and soil characteristics of Wundanyi river catchment area in 2010.

Suunto granted two wrist computers to be used in scientific field work in the Taita Hills.

Geotrim Oy provided precision differential GPS sensors to assist airborne remote sensing campaigns and field work in the Taita Hills.

Research project funding

Most research projects of the University of Helsinki that have used the facilities of the Taita Research Station in the Taita Hills, Kenya have received funding from the Academy of Finland:

REACT – Regenerative agricultural systems for climate resilience in agroecological gradient in East Africa. 2022–2026. Professor Petri Pellikka, Professor Laura Alakukku and University researcher Janne Heiskanen. 

SMARTLAND – Environmental sensing of ecosystem services for developing climate-smart landscape framework to improve food security in East Africa. 2018–2022. Professor Petri Pellikka, Professor Timo Vesala and Professor Laura Alakukku.

Preparedness for emerging zoonotic infections in Kenya. 2018–2022. Professor Olli Vapalahti

DENGMARK – Detection and burden of Dengue. 2014–2017. Professor Olli Vapalahti.

DF-TRAP – Development of cost-efficient fog and dew collectors for water management in semiarid and arid regions of developing countries. 2012–2016. Consortium led by Professor Markku Kulmala.

TAITAWATER – Integrated land cover-climate-ecosystem process study for water management in East African highlands. 2013–2016. Professor Petri Pellikka

TAITASCAPE – Forest structure, landscape fragmentation and population dynamics – a geoinformation approach. 2007–2008. Professor Petri Pellikka

TAITATOO – Geoinformatics in environmental conservation and community based natural resource management in the Taita Hills, Kenya. 2006–2009. Professor Petri Pellikka

TAITA – Development of land use change methodology in East African highlands applying geographic information systems. 2003–2005. Professor Petri Pellikka

Development cooperation funding

The European Union DeSIRA (Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture) initiative funds a research and development project on livestock management and pastoralism:

ESSA – Earth observation and environmental sensing for climate-smart sustainable agropastoral ecosystem transformation in East Africa 2020–2024.


The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has funded four development cooperation projects with a focus on research and capacity building in the Taita Hills.

TAITAGIS – Improving capacity, quality and access of Geoinformatics teaching, research and daily use in Taita Taveta, Kenya. Higher Education Institutional Cooperation Instrument. 2017–2020.

AFERIA – Adaptation for Food Security and Ecosystem Resilience in Africa – Integrating Results, Building Capacity and Implementing Adaptation Strategies. 2017–2018.

BIODEV – Building biocarbon and rural development in West Africa. University of Helsinki, Department of Geosciences and Geography. 2012–2016.

CHIESA – Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa – Increasing Knowledge, Building Capacity and Developing Adaptation Strategies. 2011–2015.

Cooperation partners