Kaisa Pietilä

Senior research scientist

MPhil (Environmental Politics)

Contact information

Email: firstname.surname@syke.fi
Tel: +358 2952 51477
Finnish Environment Institute (Syke)
Societal change
Politics of knowledge
Address: Latokartanonkaari 11 (Viikki Campus, D Building),
00790 Helsinki, Finland

Twitter @KaisaPietila
LinkedIn Kaisa Pietilä

Research and expertise

  • Environmental politics
  • Biodiversity governance
  • Multilevel governance
  • Ethnography and qualitative methods


I am a political scientist focusing on biodiversity politics and environmental policy. I have been working at the Finnish Environment Institute (Syke) since 2021. Prior to joining Syke, I studied and worked at various institutions in the United Kingdom, including at the University of Sheffield and the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). I specialize in intergovernmental processes and multilevel governance, in particular the Convention on Biological Diversity.

My scientific background is in political science, but I engage widely with the social sciences, be it anthropology, sociology, or political economy. I enjoy working with natural sciences colleagues and others on transdisciplinary research projects. Core themes in my research are democratic decision-making and the role of technicity, the politics of expertise, and questions and forms of power. I primarily use qualitative social science methods and methodologies, and actively seek opportunities for piloting arts-based methods where possible.

The goal of my research is to improve understanding of the power dynamics which underpin intergovernmental processes and the outputs these processes produce. Such an understanding can help us improve the manner these processes play out, thus leading to more equitable sustainability transformations.

Current work

My research currently focuses on biodiversity governance, and the politics of expertise and knowledge. I am heavily involved in a European Union funded Horizon project CO-OP4CBD, running from 2022-2026. The goal of CO-OP4CBD is to build the capacity of European negotiators and decision-makers by enhancing the access and use of knowledge and science, thus improving the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. In this project, I apply my expertise and experience as a practitioner-researcher of the CBD, having been involved in the negotiations of the CBD since 2018.

Recent publications

Pietilä, K. 2021. A visit to Conservationland: contextualizing conservation practitioners within global environmental governance. MPhil thesis, University of Sheffield.

Published 2023-01-17 at 8:50, updated 2023-01-17 at 8:49

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