Research group

Research group members and international collaborators
Kirsi Pyhältö

Kirsi Pyhältö is professor of higher education at the Center for University Teaching and Learning at University of Helsinki. She is also an extraordinary professor at the University of Stellenbosch, South-Africa. She is leader of PhD. Education and Careers -research group. Her research interests include doctoral education, doctoral supervision, research community interaction, wellbeing among PhD. candidates, and supervisors and researcher careers within and beyond the academia. She is a co-founder of EARLI special interest group (SIG24): Researcher Education and Careers. She has published over 200 articles and book chapters. See list of publications:ältö/publications/

Erika Löfström

Erika Löfström, PhD, is Professor of Education at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences. Her research interests include research ethics and integrity and related learning and supervision processes, as well as academic writing and plagiarism. She teaches research ethics/integrity to undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students as well as faculty and experts in these areas. She is coordinator of EARLI Special Interest Group 24: Researcher Education and Careers.

Viivi Virtanen

Viivi Virtanen, PhD, is principal research scientist in the EDU-research unit at the Häme University of Applied Sciences in Finland. She also has docentship/adjunct professor at the University of Helsinki. Her research interest includes broadly teaching and learning in higher education with specific interests in well-being, and researcher education and careers especially in STEM fields.

Jouni Peltonen

Jouni Peltonen, PhD, works as a university lecturer in the Faculty of Education, University of Oulu. His research interests are in the doctoral education, theory and philosophy of education, and both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Tel. +358453299735, e-mail:

Solveig Cornér

Solveig Cornér, PhD, is University Lecturer at the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. Her area of expertice involves the development of social support practices from a systemic perspective in higher education. Her special interest lies within research on wellbeing in both teacher and doctoral education.

Henrika Anttila

Henrika Anttila, PhD., is a senior lecturer in university pedagogy in the Centre for University Teaching and Learning at the University of Helsinki. Her research interest include doctoral candidates’ and supervisors’ academic emotions and wellbeing.

Lotta Tikkanen

Lotta Tikkanen, PhD., is a university lecturer in the Centre for University Teaching and Learning at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests include doctoral candidates’ and supervisors’ wellbeing.

Yusuke Sakurai

Yusuke Sakurai, PhD., is Associate Professor at Hiroshima University, Japan. He received a PhD from the University of Helsinki, Finland. His main subjects are pedagogy in higher education, university students' learning in international settings, and support for early career researchers. He has worked in several countries, including Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, Egypt, Finland, and Japan.

Sara Rönkkönen

Sara Rönkkönen, M.A., M.Ed., is a part-time doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Doctoral Programme in Cognition, Learning, Instruction and Communication (CLIC). Her research interests include wellbeing (and lack of it) in the context of higher education students and among early career researchers. Currently, Sara works as pedagogical specialist at Aalto University School of Engineering.

Laura Sundström

Laura Sundström, M.A., M.Ed, is a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Doctoral Programme in Cognition, Learning, Instruction and Communication (CLIC). Her doctoral dissertation focuses mapping PhD. careers outside academia in Finland and beyond. Laura's research interests include career trajectories, hybrid careers, job crafting and work environment fit.

International collaborators
Lynn McAlpine

Lynn McAlpine, PhD., is Emerita Professor at University of Oxford, UK, and at McGill University, Canada. Her present research interest is PhD career decision-making, particularly focusing on those who work beyond the academy. This has evolved from early longitudinal research on scientists and social scientists as they navigated their careers and personal lives during and after finishing the PhD. Seeing how many moved beyond the academy has led to studying post-PhD careers in private, public and non-profit labour sectors. Broadly, this could be characterized as how highly skilled workers navigate their life-career hopes and intentions amidst global trends, national policy regimes and institutional affordances and constraints.

Montserrat Castelló

Montserrat Castelló, PhD., is full professor in educational psychology at Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona, Spain, where she has been vice-dean of research and doctoral studies at the Graduate School of Psychology and Educational Sciences. Since 2015, she is also Director of the Research Institute on Psychology, Learning and Development (Re-Psy) at Universitat Ramon Llull and the head of the interuniversity doctoral program Educational Psychology, awarded with the Quality Mention by the Spanish minister of education. She has been elected member of the executive committee of the European Association of Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) (2013-2015), and of the executive committee of the European Federation of Psychology Teachers Associations (EFPTA) (2003 - Act.). Since 2013 she is the co-convenor of the EARLI Special Interest Group on Researcher Education and Careers (SIG-REaC) and organised the first conference held in Barcelona in 2014. Her research activity and publications focus on early career researcher writing and identity development and she had published more than 200 scientific contributions on these topics

Liezel Frick

Liezel Frick, PhD., is a professor in the Department of Curriculum Studies and the director of the Centre for Higher and Adult Education (CHAE) at Stellenbosch University (South Africa). She is also a research associate at the DSI/NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy. Her research interests are broadly within the areas of higher and adult education, although her work on doctoral education constitutes her main research focus. She is a member of the International Doctoral Education Research Network (IDERN), the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) Special Interest Group on Researcher Education and Careers, and an invited member of the expert group on doctoral education for the 2019 Herrenhausen Initiative on Forces and Forms of Doctoral Education. She is part of a consortium that hosts the International Biennial Conference on Postgraduate Supervision. Her research and collaborative work at Stellenbosch University (SU) enables her to contribute to early career researcher development initiatives across the African continent as part of the CHAE short course offering, SU’s Emerging Scholars programme, and the African Doctoral Supervisor online short course hosted by the Centre for Research and Evaluation in Science and Technology (Crest). Her current responsibilities include leading a joint doctoral programme (in collaboration with Coventry and Walter Sisulu universities) and co-ordinating a MPhil programme in Higher Education Studies. Liezel’s vision is to continue supporting early career researcher development at SU and beyond.

Juha Nieminen

Juha Nieminen, Psychologist, PhD, is a specialist psychologist and educational developer with more than 20 years of experience of working in the areas of educational development, psychology of teaching and learning and higher education research. He currently works at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, leading a team of educational developers, teaching and consulting on higher education pedagogy, and researching a broad range of topics within medical and postgraduate education.

Juha has led and participated in several international projects aiming to improve the training of doctoral supervisors in Africa, Asia and Europe. While working at the University of Helsinki (1999-2014), Juha helped create study psychologist services in Finland and worked as a study psychologist at the University of Helsinki for 15 years. As both a psychologist and expert on higher education, Juha is particularly interested in perspectives where an individual learner’s cognition, motivation and well-being meet the learning environment, institutional organisation and culture.

Søren S.E. Bengtsen

Søren S. E. Bengtsen, PhD., is Associate Professor at the Department of Educational Philosophy and General Education, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. Also, at Aarhus University, he is the Co-Director of the research centre ‘Centre for Higher Education Futures’. Bengtsen’s recent books include The Hidden Curriculum in Doctoral Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, co-authored with Dely L. Elliot, Kay Guccione, and Sofie Kobayashi), Knowledge and the University. Re-claiming Life (Routledge, 2019, co-authored with Ronald Barnett), The Thinking University. A Philosophical Examination of Thought and Higher Education (Springer, 2019, co-edited with Ronald Barnett), and Doctoral Supervision. Organization and Dialogue (Aarhus University Press, 2016).