Research news
University news

Pekka Neittaanmäki appointed as UNESCO Chair

The University of Jyväskylä and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) have signed a contract on a cooperation project that focuses on the utilisation of digital platforms as a force to change society. Professor on Information Technology Pekka Neittaanmäki is selected to lead the project as UNESCO Chair from 1 May 2019 to 30 April 2023.

 “Our purpose is to clarify the applicability of digital service platforms for the environments of developing countries. Application areas include, for example, the Finnish education system, the health care system and other public services. The project involves a large international cooperation network of researchers and companies,” says Professor Neittaanmäki.

 “Finland has seven UNESCO Chairs and at the moment two of them is at JYU, Professor Pekka Neittaanmäki and Professor Heikki Lyytinen. Neittaanmäki is the fourth UNESCO-professor at JYU. The UNESCO Chair is in a key area of JYU’s strategy. Knowing Neittaanmäki’s merits, we can expect the project to have significant scientific and societal impact,” says Rector Keijo Hämäläinen.

The four-year UNESCO Chair supports global and multidisciplinary networking in order to research and utilise digital platforms in changing world. The project utilises Finnish experience in platform development and research pioneering. Funding is applied for from the EU and international operators.

Research and development work is directed to the challenges of both industrial and emerging economies. Special target areas include African countries, Pakistan, India and some South American countries. With the help of the project, also international students living in Finland are able to investigate in their final theses how good Finnish practices and technologies could be applied in their home countries.

 “Doctoral education in our faculty has traditionally been very international, and the project also includes master’s and doctoral education for students from developing countries,” says Pasi Tyrväinen, Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology.

 “The cooperation supplements our international Platform Value Now project that is funded by the Academy of Finland. We especially focus on renewing the education and healthcare systems with AI-based technologies. As part of the project activities, Jyväskylä will host international education and healthcare conferences that deal with solutions based on groundbreaking tehnologies in the fields. In my career, I have done a lot of similar work. Now the UNESCO Chair offers it a global status,” says Professor Neittaanmäki joyously.

Further information:

Pekka Neittaanmäki, UNESCO Chair on Digital Platforms for Transforming Economies, tel. +358 40 550 7005,

UNESCO Chairs and Professorships at the University of Jyväskylä: