• Otaniementie 14, 02150 Espoo


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    Personal profile

    Artistic and research interests

    Sampsa's interdisciplinary research spans design participation, science & technology studies, and innovation studies; focusing on designer-user relations in sociotechnical change.

    This has meant empirical and theoretical research on how change happens in technoscientific contexts and how new technologies shape, and shaped by, everyday life and everyday work. His interest in designer – user relations has meant investigating how the use and design can be arranged alternatively and to what effects. This has over the years lead to engagement in participatory design, codesign, open and user innovation, living labs, open design, maker spaces, peer knowledge creation, user communities and citizen science. These engagements have been pursued both in descriptive studies as well as through interventionist design research. These have resulted in both new methods as well as better understanding on how different designer-user arrangements play out. 

    Just as well, Sampsa has pursued the development of the biographies of artifacts and practices approach and the related theory building for two decades. The approach has opened new ways by which the contributions by different actors can be traced in the course of design, technology projects, innovation processes and wider sociotechnical change. In practice the approach has meant briding longitudinal ethnographic studies with historical analyses of sociotechnical change as well as bridging studies of technology development and its appropriation to organizational and institutional change processes.

    Domain-wise the last decade of Sampsa's work has focused on renewable energy technologies, energy transition and citizen participation as well as developing means by which diverse experts and stakeholders can better participate in the steering of sustainability transformations and transitions. Before this, his main research engagement was with health care information technologies. Alongside Sampsa has been part of research teams who have investigatged participatory design at the public sector, organizational software, social media platforms, remote area mobility technologies and innovation in extreme sports.

    Sampsa has published over 120 academic works including over 100 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. He has authored seven books, the latest being "Citizen Activities in Energy Transition: User Innovation, new communities and the Shaping of Sustainable Future." Routledge, 2010), “The new production of users: Changing innovation communities and involvement strategies” (with Elgaard Jensen and Oudshoorn, Routledge, 2016) and Health Technology Development and Use: From practice-bound Imagination to evolving Impacts (Routledge, 2010).

    Sampsa received his PhD in behavioral sciences in University of Helsinki, working with activity theory. His MA and phil.Lic degrees are from cultural history.  His docenture in is user-centered design of information systems. He was the chief editor of Science & Technology Studies journal 2007-2016 and was awarded the Academy of Finland price for social impact of research in 2010, EASST Freeman Price for the “New production of Users” and Aalto university's excellence and social impact prices in 2017. He has given a range of key note addresses, including 4S and EASST confrence presidential plenary talks.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
    • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
    • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
    • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
    • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
    • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
    • SDG 13 - Climate Action
    • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

    External positions

    Professor 2 in Science & Technology Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

    1 Jun 2023 → …


    • Co-design
    • Participatory design
    • User innovation
    • Science and technology studies
    • Qualitative research and methods
    • Innovation management
    • coproduction of knowledge
    • Intermediaries


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