Kaisa Väänänen

I am a full-time professor of Human-Technology Interaction in Tampere University (TAU, previously Tampere University of Technology). I lead the research group of Human-Centered Technology (IHTE, https://research.tuni.fi/ihte/), an interdisciplinary group working on user experience and interaction design research. We have research projects on a broad spectrum of topics, including user experience of novel applications for societal purposes, in specific for environmental and social sustainability. We work closely with industrial partners and cooperate with researchers from other interdisciplinary research groups. I work actively in the international research forum, especially in the ACM Mobile HCI and CHI communities.

My research group is associated with Tauchi research centre for Human-Computer Interaction: https://research.tuni.fi/tauchi/

Contact details:
Professor Kaisa Väänänen
Human-Centered Technology (IHTE), unit of Computing Sciences, faculty of Information technology and communication sciences (ITC)
Tampere University

Address: Korkeakoulunkatu 6, P.O. Box 589, 33101 Tampere, Finland
Office in Tietotalo building, room TE109
Tel: +358 40 849 0731
Email: kaisa.vaananen (at) tuni.fi
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaisav/

Professional brief

My research interests cover, but are not limited to:

  • Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HCAI), especially user experience of AI solutions and methods for AI application design
  • Design research on HCI for societal purposes, both for social and environmental sustainability
  • Embodied AI and its applications, for example Social Robots in youth participation and tangible AI interactions smart urban environments

I am passionate about gaining in-depth understanding of people’s needs and opportunities for technology and digital solutions to drive sustainability of the world, both from the environmental and social perspectives. Most of my research is qualitative in nature, with the emphasis on very early phases of forming deep understanding of people for technology design. I also strive to help create methods and tools that can be taken into use in the “real world”, including companies. I love multidisciplinary explorations, where after initial confusion, new ways of thinking and doing can be found and brought to life.

In 2022, I was selected as an ACM Distinguished Member for my long-standing contribution to the field of computing.

Research visits: In September-December of 2023, I am visiting Queensland University of Technology, Digital Media Research Centre, for three monts (host: prof. Marcus Foth). In the autumn of 2022, I was visiting TU Eindhoven, Industrial Design department, research division of Future Everyday for ten weeks (host: prof. Panos Markopoulos). In 2011, I was working part-time with Mobile Life Centre @ Stockholm University, enabled by Nokia Foundation’s Visiting professor grant. I have also worked with Nokia Inc. in 1995-2004 and as a part-time visiting professor at Nokia Research Center on design and evaluation of user experience in 2008-2010.

Sample of service activities in the international research community: I will be the general co-chair of the ACM conference of Intelligent User Interfaces in 2026. I was the general co-chair of the flagship conference of ACM  SIGCHI CHI 2023 conference, which took place in Hamburg and online in April 2023. I was also a co-organiser of the Dagstuhl perspectives workshop on A Human-Computer Interaction Perspective to Drive Change towards Sustainable Future, which took place in February 2023. In 2016-2019 I was the steering committee chair for the ACM MobileHCI conference series.

Since 2009, in the editorial board of Interacting with Computers journal (IwC) published by Elsevier and since 2018, in the editorial board of Behaviour & Information Technology (BIT).

I served full six years (2013-2018) in Academy of Finland as a member of the Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering.

Some more distant history: Before my full-time professorship in Tampere University (previously Tampere University of Technology, TUT), I worked in various internal consultancy and research management positions in Nokia, Inc. in 1995-2004 (see my CV). I also held a part-time professorship in TUT during years 2000-2004. Before that, in years 1991-1995 I worked as a researcher in Computer Graphics Center in Darmstadt, Germany. I obtained my Dr. Tech. (Dr.-Ing.) degree in Technical University of Darmstad in 1995. Before that, I enjoyed my studies of software engineering in Technical University of Helsinki (1983-1991), artificial intelligence in University of Minnesota (1988-89) and Human-Computer Interaction in University of London (1989-1990).

SHORT BIO (for talks etc.)

Kaisa Väänänen is a full professor of user experience (Human-Computer Interaction, software engineering) in Tampere University, Finland. Kaisa leads the research group of Human-Centered Technology (IHTE) in the unit of Computing Sciences. She has extensive teaching and supervision experience we well as leadership of study programmes. Kaisa has over 25 years of experience in research related to human-computer interaction both in university and industry. In 1995-2004, she worked at Nokia Inc, in leading positions of user needs research and strategic consumer insights. Kaisa’s research interests cover user experience and human-centered AI, with emphasis on design research of digital services for advancing sustainability. Kaisa is an author of over 180 peer-reviewed academic publications. Kaisa is the head of the doctoral programme of Humans and Technologies, and she has supervised 25 doctoral theses to completition. In 2013-2018, Kaisa served full six years as a member of Academy of Finland’s research council for Natural Sciences and Engineering. She is very active in the international research community, and frequently takes part in organizing conferences related to user experience and human-computer interaction. Kaisa is the general co-chair of ACM SIGCHI 2023 conference.


I live in a small town near Tampere, Finland. I have two wonderful adult children, Samuel and Helena. During my free time, I do sports (biking, gym, running), travel, and meet up with friends. I am always open to new experiences and challenges!