Current members of Urban Environmental Policy Research Group present themselves.

The research interests of our group vary from future climate change adaptation needs to environmental history.

For collaborations, or other questions related to our group, please contact the group leader:

Sirkku Juhola

Ecosystems and Environment Research Program
Urban Environmental Policy
PL 65 (Viikinkaari 1)
University of Helsinki

Phone: 0294157387
Mobile: +358 503199276

Sirkku Juhola

Professor, group leader

Sirkku is a professor of urban environmental policy at the Ecosystems and Environment Research Program at the University of Helsinki and the leader of our multidisciplinary research group Urban Environmental Policy. She is also a guest professor at the Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, Linköping University in Sweden. Her area of expertise is environmental and adaptation policy, in cities in particular. She is interested in bringing different fields together to understand challenges associated with sustainability in cities. She is interested in theoretical and conceptual development, linked to methodological development.

She has led research projects in both developed and developing countries and she has been a deputy chief scientist of the Nordic Centre of Excellence on Adaptation Research (NORD-STAR) and spent four years (2 as vice-chair) in the Finnish Climate Change Panel, a scientific organisation to advice the Finnish Government on climate policy. She is also a member of Future Earth Finland core group.

Recent publications
Janina Käyhkö

University researcher

Janina joined the UEP group in 2017. Her research is focused on climate change adaptation related topics. She is currently working on urban climate health risks, adaptation policy development (national sectoral and local level), sustainable agri-food systems and inter- and transdisciplinary research methods. Her broader research interests cover the complex decision-making processes in changing socio-ecological systems and the development of novel methodological approaches, such as serious gaming, as well as dialogue in the science-policy-practice interface. 

Janina holds a MSc degree and a PhD (passed with distinction, 2020) in Environmental change and policy from the University of Helsinki. In her doctoral thesis she studied the societal and environmental change process and outcomes involved with adaptation in the Nordic agriculture. 

Alexandra Jurgilevich

Post-doctoral researcher

Alexandra Jurgilevich joined the UEP group as a doctoral student in 2015. She is currently conducting post-doctoral research focusing on urban climate-induced health risks, systemic risks and adaptation. Her broader research interests and experience include climate change risks in the urban context, particularly future risks, dynamic interactions between climatic and socio-economic changes, as well as anticipatory governance, adaptation and urban planning. 

Alexandra holds a PhD (passed with distinction, 2021) in Environmental Change and Policy from the University of Helsinki. Previously she obtained an MA degree in European studies, focusing on European policy and law, as well as a Specialist degree in international economic relations.

Recent publications
Fanny Groundstroem

Doctoral Candidate

Fanny joined the UEP group in the beginning of 2016 as a PhD student. Her research is focused on cross-border impacts of climate change on energy systems of the Nordic countries. She is applying a supply chain risk assessment methodology, and is currently preparing an article on cross-border impacts on bioenergy supply in Finland and Sweden. She is broadly interested in climate and energy policy, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and well as renewable energy and future energy systems.

Fanny holds an MSc in Environmental Sciences from University of Turku and a BSc in Biology from the Åbo Akademi University. She did her Master’s thesis on climate policies of oil producing countries with case studies from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Ecuador. Previously, Fanny has worked as a researcher in the Climate Change Programme at the Finnish Environment Institute, and as an intern in the Species Programme at the UNEP-WCMC in Cambridge, UK.

Recent publications
Milja Heikkinen

Doctoral Candidate

Milja joined UEP group on spring 2016. Her PhD project is about the role of cooperation networks in urban climate change mitigation and adaptation. The project covers global, national and local level networks. The first article analyses what kind of change C40 member cities advocate for dealing with climate change. The second article tests statistically the association between network membership and progress in adaptation planning in 377 cities globally. The third article (in review) analyses multilevel climate related networking in Helsinki, Madrid and Stockholm, and fourth (in review) studies participation-based structures and performance of a climate-related city-to-business network in Helsinki. 

Apart from her PhD project, Milja works for a project "Ilmastopolitiikan oikeudenmukaisuus" (Justice in climate policy) of the Finnish Climate Change Panel. She holds MSc in Environmental Science and Policy and BA in Spanish Philology, both from the University of Helsinki. During her MSc studies, she worked as a research assistant in multidisciplinary research project ”AQUADIGM- The function and management of aquatic ecosystems in the changing environment: the effects of paradigm shifts”, focusing on environmental history. Before AQUADIGM, she worked as a research assistant in City of Helsinki Environment centre measuring the City Biodiversity Index in the context of Helsinki.

Topic of her Master’s Thesis was the politicization of wastewater overflows in the region of the Vantaa River. A research article based on it was published in the journal Water Policy.

Recent publications
Hanna Salmenperä

Doctoral Candidate

Hanna Salmenperä studies the ongoing transition in waste management in Finland; the expected shift from moderate recycling culture to a society that meets the ambitious European recycling targets and principals of circular economy.

Hanna Salmenperä (M.Sc, in Agriculture and Forestry, Environmental protection, University of Helsinki) has worked in SYKE for 20 years within waste issues. She started with waste advising services, informational policy instruments and evaluation of effects of advising. Recently national and regional waste planning including the follow-up and indicator setting and evaluation of waste policy instruments have been a relevant area of her workings. She has been working in different national and Nordic working groups on wastes. For past few years Salmenperä has been concentrating on projects on circular economy, material efficiency, waste prevention and recycling of municipal solid wastes. 

Maija Nikkanen

Doctoral candidate

Maija Nikkanen joined the UEP group in 2019. Her research focuses on disaster governance, namely storm-related disruptions and allocation of responsibility regarding preparedness. She has published on vulnerability of households facing storm-induced power outages. Currently she is working on an article exploring regional cooperation between authorities and other societal actors concerning weather-related disruptions.  

Maija holds an MSc in Environmental change and policy from the University of Helsinki. Her interests include climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, civil protection, and environmental history. Previously she has worked for the Finnish National Rescue Association on various projects associated with safety and security. 

Recent publications
Heidi Tuhkanen

Doctoral candidate

Heidi Tuhkanen joined the UEP as a doctoral student in 2019. Her research focuses on exposing and exploring the trade-offs related to disaster risk reduction and development decision making as one approach to enabling deliberate transformation. Her work has taken place within the context of post-disaster reconstruction and redevelopment in the Philippines. She is currently expanding this research to also cover climate risk reduction in the Northern European context. Her work is funded by the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation.

Heidi also works as a senior expert at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), where she is a member of the IRDR International Center of Excellence for Transforming Development and Disaster Risk hosted at SEI. At SEI she works broadly with adaptation, resilience, transformation, and urban sustainability. Heidi holds a M.Sc. in Urban Environmental Management from Wageningen University.

Recent publications
Julia Tuomimaa

Doctoral candidate

Julia Tuomimaa joined the UEP group 2022. Her research focuses on urban heat island phenomenon adaptation and she is currently working on an analysis of urban heat island adaptation indicators and policy instrument effectiveness. 

Julia holds an MSc in Environmental change and global sustainability from University of Helsinki. Her interests include risk assessment, urban heat island management, climate change adaptation indicators, and climate risk and vulnerability.

Pontus Ambros

Doctoral Candidate

Pontus joined the UEP group in April 2022. He is based in Uppsala, Sweden, sharing his time as a doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki with part-time work at the Baltic University Programme’s Coordinating Secretariat at Uppsala University. His PhD project looks into how local food security is impacted by the food production on a local and regional level in the Baltic Sea Region.

Pontus Ambros has his background in Biology and Sustainability Science, holding a MSc in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science from Lund University, Sweden and a BSc in Environmental Biology from Åbo Akademi University, Finland. He also works as a project administrator at the Baltic University Programme, Uppsala University.


Recent publications

Linda Karjalainen: Linda joined UEP as a doctoral student in 2018 and defended her doctoral thesis "Sustainability Conceptualisation, Operationalisation, and Realisation - Perspectives on Urban Transportation Policy-Making and Planning" in 2022. 

Sofie Sandström: Sofie defended her doctoral thesis titled: "The easy explanation - exploring the link between drought and food security in the East and Horn of Africa" in 2021. 

Johannes Klein: Johannes defended his doctoral thesis "The Coincidence of the Settled and the Unsettling: Urban Climate Change Adaptation in Finland and Denmark" in 2017 at Aalto University under the joint supervision by Raine Mäntysalo (Aalto University) and Sirkku Juhola (University of Helsinki, UEP). 

Aleksi Räsänen: Aleksi has conducted his post-doctoral research with UEP focusing on climate change risks, vulnerabilities and water governance 

Current undergraduates

Ia Hyttinen: Complementing the knowledge about co-production in science-policy interface: National-level decision-makers' perception of interaction

Taru Pietilä: Oikeudenmukaisuuden huomiointi ilmastonmuutokseen sopeutumisessa Suomessa

Eveliina Dunkel: Understandings of sustainability in urban transformation discussions