Matthies Aila-Leena, professori/Professor

Sosiaalitieteen yksikönjohtaja/head of the Social Sciences units
Matthies Aila-Leena, professori/Professor
+358 40 7422 199

Osallisuustutkimus ja kansalaistoiminta hyvinvointipalveluissa
Sosiaalityö kestävässä siirtymässä ja ekososiaalinen työ
Aikuissosiaalityön vaikuttavuus ja uudet menetelmät

I studied at the University of Jyväskylä from 1978 to 1984 in the master’s degree programme of social environment and social work planning and wrote my thesis about alternative social work. At the end of my studies, I worked as a substitute social worker in Jyväskylä. From 1985 to 1996, I was a researcher funded by the Academy of Finland and a lecturer of social work in the Department of Social Policy at JYU. I completed my licentiate degree in 1991 and received a PhD in December 1994. I was appointed to docent in 1998. During my years at the main campus of the University of Jyväskylä, I had two 12-month grant researcher periods at the universities of Kassel and Bremen, Germany (DAAD 1995–1996, the EU’s Human Capital and Mobility programme 1995). From 1996 to 2007, I was a professor at the University of Applied Sciences of Magdeburg, Germany. From there I moved to Kokkola to work as the head of master’s degree education in social work. In 2016, I spent three months at the University of Durham, UK, funded by the EU’s COFUND Senior Fellowship. I was a member of the Executive Committee of the European Association of Schools of Social Work in 2013-2021, and I am an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Social Welfare, a vice member of the SosNet board.

Orcid ID

Recent Publications

Aila-Leena Matthies, Jef Peeters, Tuuli Hirvilammi & Ingo Stamm (2020) Ecosocial innovations enabling social work to promote new forms of sustainable economy. International Journal of Social Welfare, 0, 1 – 12. DOI: 10.1111/ijsw.12423

Ingo Stamm, Aila-Leena Matthies, Tuuli Hirvilammi & Kati Närhi (2020) Combining labour market and unemployment policies with environmental sustainability? A cross-national study on ecosocial innovations. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy (2020), 36: 1, 42–56. doi:10.1017/ics.2020.4

Research Areas
My research interests are built around three central themes. Since my master’s thesis I have been interested in citizens’ own participation and communities, i.e. the research of informal or third sector as well as citizens’ participation and service user involvement. Consequently, I am involved in developing approaches of professional social work, which search for equal collaboration with service users, citizens and local communities. I have had the opportunity to co-create and research different community work models in urban and rural contexts. This includes structural social work and the development of social work with adults to more participatory settings. My third long-term research orientation focuses on ecosocial approach in social work, that is, linking social work to environmental and sustainability issues. All these research themes of mine are based on great practice-research teams and international networks.

Currently my teaching is mainly focussing on doctoral studies and the supervision of doctoral students. I also assess master’s theses and participate in the planning and development of our bachelor’s and master’s courses of Social Work. I am teaching in Social work Masters studies in structural social work and ecosocial work.

Current Research Project
ASTRA: Principal Investigator of the MCSA-ITN project (H2020) Applying Sustainability Transition Research in Social Work tackling Major Societal Challenge of Social Inclusion (ASTRA).

AIKUMETOD: Principal Investigator of the State-funded social work research (VTR) The Impact of Social Work methods in working with adults (AIKUMETOD).

TASOS: Principal Investigator of the European Social Foundation -funded practice development project Financial capability and social participation (TASOS)

MoRa: Leader of a work package in the State-funded social work research (VTR) Monitoimijainen rakenteellisen sosiaalityön toimintamalli tulevaisuuden sosiaali- ja terveyspalveluissa (MoRa).