Demos Helsinki


Demos Helsinki was set up in 2005 to work towards more fair and sustainable societies. It is the leading independent think tank in the Nordics. Demos Helsinki collaborates with diverse partners – from ministries and cities, policymakers, researchers and universities, corporations, associations and foundations, to popular movements, activists and citizens. Demos Helsinki employs over 50 specialists of different fields around societal transformations: social scientists, urban geographers, political scientists, futures researchers, engineers, philosophers and designers.

Research in Demos Helsinki is conducted via Demos Research Institute. It focuses on high-quality research projects and research-based development and innovation projects. DRI has participated actively in national research programmes in Finland (Strategic Research Council of Finland) as well as in European research programmes (Horizon2020 and FP7).

Economic implications of digitalisation, blockchain and data governance feature prominently in Demos’ research. Central themes of our research and co-creation activities are policy interaction, the societal effects of technology, and new economic models. We are also a well-known actor in the field of public sector innovation and 21st century government. We have worked with governments all over the world to rethink how policies could be done. Digitalisation, experimentation and a collaborative approach to problem solving have been central in our work towards better governance, embodied in successfully lead, impact-driven projects leading to concrete changes in policy. 

Key personnel

Anna Björk

Research Area Lead

Anna Björk (DocSocSci, Political Science) specialises in research on political institutions, societal impacts of emerging technologies and the politics of citizenship. Her background includes a PhD and postdoc projects on citizenship, migration and naturalisation in Europe. She has also worked in public sector consultancy, compiling reports and research projects for several ministries in Finland and the Finnish Parliament on e.g. human rights, gender equality and open science. As Research area lead at Demos Helsinki, Anna’s responsibilities include research on democracy, governance and politics, including emerging technologies and the ethics of AI. In ATARCA, she is part of the Demos Helsinki team’s work on impact creation, with the specific interest in research angle to policy and governance. Dr. Björk is a first time participant to FET under H2020.

Johannes Mikkonen

Johannes Mikkonen, Senior Expert in Digital Governance, MA in Social Sciences (Political Science). Johannes has extensive experience in researching and working with the impact of digitalisation in government, society and business. He has led and been a key contributor to strategic digital transformation processes in public administration and has been in charge of strategic stakeholder interaction and collaboration in three publicly funded large-scale research projects. Two of these focused on the development and impact of sensor technology, bringing together developers, users and public administration. Through projects such as these,  Johannes has garnered unparalleled experience in designing and executing impact-driven strategic stakeholder processes that build lasting value for those involved. Currently he is organising a Policy Observatory in the H2020 funded TOKEN project that focuses on blockchain. In addition to his work at Demos Helsinki, Johannes sits on the board of the influential Finnish Information Society Development Center. Johannes’ expertise in policy observatories, digital governance and blockchain makes him well suited to lead ATARCA’s policy interaction. Mr. Mikkonen is a first-time participant to FET under H2020.

Atte Ojanen

Research Coordinator

Atte Ojanen is a Research Coordinator at Demos Helsinki. He has a MSSc from the University of Turku, where he majored in practical philosophy. At Demos Helsinki, Atte works on research projects related to societal effects of emerging technology and future of democracy. Aside from ATARCA, he is also working on “Avoiding AI biases: A Finnish assessment framework for non-discriminatory AI systems” -research project for the Prime Minister’s Office of Finland. Previously Atte has interned at the in-house think tank of the European Parliament and at the research unit of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, focusing on global trends and strategic foresight. He is also active in Turku AI Society, a university think tank publishing on ethics of artificial intelligence. In ATARCA, his work focuses on policy observatory and dialogue sessions. He is a first-time participant to FET under H2020.

ATARCA has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The content of this website does not represent the opinion of the European Union, and the European Union is not responsible for any use that might be made of such content.