Ruralia Institute of the University of Helsinki


In the Ruralia Institute, multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research is carried out, which is especially related to emerging phenomena and problem solutions in the development of entrepreneurship and well-being from a rural perspective. Socially, the research focuses on sustainable development and the interaction between rural and urban areas in a globalizing world. Versatile international and domestic research cooperation and research training partnerships strengthen the institute’s research.

Development activity The institute coordinates and participates in development processes in which new operating models and innovations for rural development are created and piloted. The goal is to combine university research knowledge, expertise and knowledge based on practical experience in cooperation with partners in a solution-oriented manner. Development activities serve rural companies, public and third sector actors, and promote the effectiveness of various policy instruments.

Research groups and their responsible persons:

  • Regional history and cultural heritage
    Riukulehto Sulevi, research director, docent
  • Regional development, regional history
    Jumppanen Aapo, University researcher
  • Regional development, local development and politics
    Hyyryläinen Torsti, research director, deputy director, docent
  • Sustainable economy and cooperative activities
    Vaskelainen Taneli, University researcher
  • Sustainable food systems
    Helenius Juha, professor, docent
  • Consumption research, digitalization and qualitative methods
    Ryynänen Toni, senior researcher, docent
  • Nature entrepreneurship and sustainable use of natural resources
    Kurki Sami, director, professor, docent
  • Rural entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, sustainable food chain
    Lähdesmäki Merja, senior researcher
  • Entrepreneurship in the sustainability change of food systems
    Gaiani Silvia, senior researcher
  • Small food business, sustainable tourism, responsible business
    Väisänen Hanna-Maija, project coordinator