Justice through education in the Nordic Countries (JustEd)

The Nordic Centre of Excellence (NCoE) Justice through education in the Nordic Countries (JustEd) is a multidisciplinary, cross-national research network of 14 partner universities in 8 countries.

The research aim is to examine the challenges facing the Nordic educational systems in the 21st century. It compares the impact of policies, such as school choice and public accountability, on teaching and learning cultures, as well as on the marginalization and engagement of learners. An overall aim is to contribute to the re-formulation of what the project of democratic, inclusive education for justice can be in the middle of current political, economic and cultural transformation. More specifically the NCoE research is focused around the question: How do systems, cultures and actors in education enable and constrain justice in the context of globalizing Nordic welfare states?

Research themes

The JustEd researchers uses multilevel, comparative, cross-cultural and cross-border research to examine educational policies and practices in a critical light, and to explore the role of governance and the agency of teachers and students in terms of equity and equality. The research is carried out in seven different teams  working under three thematic areas:

1. Governance, politics and marketization changes in the Nordic understanding of justice through education Principles related to justice – such as equality and universality – have historically played a strong role in educational policies in the Nordic countries, but is their importance decreasing in favor of more emphasis on comparison, marketization, effectiveness, and individualization?

2. Justice through educational practices? Analyzing innovative cultures of teaching and learning in Nordic contexts Policy changes impact how teaching and learning restrains and/or promotes equality and justice in Nordic education. The research focus is on how influences of politics and policies on educational institutions in terms of justice can be examined in innovative teaching and learning practices in new ways.

3. Enabling and constraining justice in education: agency, marginalization and diversity Marginalization and exclusion from active participation and success in education are detrimental both for the individual and society at large. The research studies how justice is supported and constrained in and by Nordic education from the viewpoint of the individual. The research relates agency, marginalization and the central notion of diversity in order to analyze the place of justice in education.

Cooperation and funding

JustEd started its activities in August 2013 as part of the NordForsk programme “Education for tomorrow“. The research project is coordinated at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences.

Participating institutions:
Aalborg university
Østfold University College
OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University
Sciences Po
The Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD)
Umeå university
University of Copenhagen
University of Gothenburg
University of Helsinki
University of Iceland
University of Melbourne
University of Oslo
University of Turin
University of Turku

Organisation and research team

The JustEd research team consists of more than 140 researchers in 8 different countries.

Director Gunilla Holm, University of Helsinki
Coordinator Tuija Veintie, University of Helsinki
Communications Specialist Charlotta Järf, University of Helsinki

Executive board
Kristiina Brunila, University of Helsinki (theme 1)
Kirsti Klette, University of Oslo (theme 2)
Gunilla Holm, University of Helsinki (theme 3)

Management group
Jaakko Kauko, University of Helsinki (Team 1)
Lisbeth Lundahl, Umeå University (Team 2)
Kirsti Klette, University of Oslo (Team 3)
Dennis Beach, University of Gothenburg (Team 4)
Gunilla Holm, University of Helsinki (Team 5)
Elisabet Öhrn, Univerity of Gothenburg (Team 6)
Ingólfur Ásgeir Jóhannesson, University of Iceland (Team 7)
Agnes van Zanten, Sciences Po
Åse Røthing, Östfold University College
David Clark, University of Melbourne
Francesca Gobbo, University of Turin
Joron Pihl, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University
Katariina Hakala, The Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Paola Valero, Aalborg University
Risto Rinne, University of Turku
Kristiina Brunila, University of Helsinki


During the years the Nordic Centre of Excellence (NCoE) Justice through Education in the Nordic Countries (JustEd) has granted mobility fellowships for postdoctoral and senior researchers as well as PhD students working within the research themes of the centre. The fellowships have been primarily open for JustEd members, but fellowships have also been granted for international visiting postdoctoral or senior researchers whose research is closely related to the centre’s research themes.

Fellowships cover travel and accommodation and include an allowance to cover other irregular costs incurred by the visit. The aim of the grants is to intensify collaboration and exchange of researchers between the partner institutions. Researchers with mobility fellowships are incorporated into the activities of the receiving partner unit and the visiting researchers are expected to engage in joint research, writing, advising, training or teaching.

JustEd mobility fellowships for exchange visits taking place in January-October 2018 have been granted.


On the JustEd webpage, under "Publications", you will find selected publications from researchers involved in the NCoE JustEd. The publications are listed into six different categories: monographs, edited volumes, articles in scientific journals, articles and chapters in books, conference proceedings and presentations and other publications. The list is updated continuously.

POLICY IMPLICATIONS Based on a synthesis of years of research, JustEd researchers just published a set of policy implications for the Nordic countries. The researchers are appealing to policymakers to adjust educational policies and curricula to explicitly address and counteract social segregation, marginalization, discrimination, and exclusion in the educational system in order to promote equity in education.

Contact information

Director Gunilla Holm: gunilla.holm@helsinki.fi