Research groups

The main interest of the research groups is the tangible cooperation with the companies. We focus on applied research and product and service development.

The focus areas of the research are automation and robotics, ecological living and water and hygiene. Business development research focuses on maritime and tourism.

The research groups support companies’ internationalization mainly in China and in Namibia.

Accessibility is SAMK’s special competence area, where particular attention is paid to equality, non-discrimination and tolerance.

We aim to rapid utilizations of the research results.

Enhancing the Functioning of the Work Force
Indoor Environment
Mental Health
Services for the Ageing
Smart Energy Solutions
Smart Urban Business
Tourism Business
Well-being Enhancing Technology

Automation Technology

Automation Technology Research Group at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences continues innovative and industry-based applied research the same way as in different projects and in research and competence centres already for years. Research group’s ambition is to be regionally, nationally and in a couple of years also internationally known automation specialist.

The strengths of the research group are functional connections with local industry and automation research groups at other applied science universities (UAS), excessive experience in industrial and well-being applications, agility to quickly grasp new assignments, and persistence to evaluate multiple alternative technologies or methods to find case-specific solutions.

Quality, effectiveness and savings with automation

Automation Research Group is focusing on applied research of automation technologies. The main research focus is set on the quality control of products and production methods, on intensifying production in terms of minimising energy and material consumption, as well as on expediting and intensifying internal logistics. In all its activities, the Research Group emphasises advancement in resource wisdom and development on seamless and safe human-technology interaction.

Core expertise of the Automation Research Group:

  • Machine vision (traditional applications, smart camera applications, 3D imaging, infrared imaging, spectral imaging and lighting techniques)
  • Intelligent robotics
  • Factory simulation
  • 3D printing
  • Embedded systems

In addition, the research group has expertise in identification technologies (RFID and NFC), sensor-, measuring-, and controlling systems, and wireless systems.


The approaches employed by the Automation Research Group:

  • Participatory research and development
  • Demonstrations of new technologies
  • Case-specific research and development, and piloting real life cases
  • International technology knowledge transfer
  • Integrating technology knowledge closely in engineer education and therewith identifying new experts to join the research team and to work for local companies (theses, student projects, students as specialist trainees in projects)

Contact person

Head of the research group:
Mirka Leino

+358 44 710 3182


Accessibility benefits all

It has been shown, that accessibility is essential for 10 %, necessary for 40 % and comfortable for 100 % of the population (Design for All Foundation). Accessibility means for example that the physical, social, economical and individuals psychological capacities does not limit functioning. In practice, equal participation to recreational activities, working and studying among other things are possible for all.


Equality is the set of value in research group of accessibility. Main goal is to contribute accessibility and the awareness and know-how of accessibility. Satakunta University of Applied Sciences has donelong-term and determined applied research and development work in the field of accessibility since 2008. At present SAMK is pioneer and prime educator in the field of accessibility in the Satakunta area.

Cooperative and customer-oriented research group

Research group cooperates with regional, national and international operators like associations, companies and universities. Service providers, users, students and experts together are playing the key role in planning, organizing and developing accessibility actions.

Concrete results of this accessibility work include:

  • Increased accessibility awareness in Satakunta
  • Increased possibilities for participation
  • Improved quality and diversification of services
  • new innovations

Examples of the accessibility work in SAMK

  • Sataesteetön project 2009–2011
    • Yyteri for All (accessibility in leisure-time activities), winner of Design for All
    • Home for All (accessible living)
  • Innoke project 2011–2013
  • Accessibility research group 2013–
  • InternationalOutdoor Symposium 2013
  • Accessibility assessments
  • Electronic accessibility assessment tool OIVA 2013–
  • Wheeleri–New physical activity monitor for wheelchair users 2013-
  • Education package of accessibility
  • “Accessibility and participation” – Interactive learning environment 2013
  • “Accessibility assessments in sport facilities to endorse decision-making” LIEKA -project 2013–2014
  • Knowledge and practical tools to improve accessibility in sporting facilities - LIEKA II -project 2014–2015
  • Various locally and nationally organized activities and events for all

Contact person:

Riikka Tupala

+358 44 710 3486


Kati Karinharju

Enhancing the Functioning of the Work Force

Enhancing the Functioning of the Work Force

The purpose of the research group is to enhance and maintain work ability in a wide context with regard, in particular, to the effects of the changes in nature of work in industry and industrial management. The target group consists of both the employed and the unemployed.   

The concept of the house of work ability describes this approach well. Health and functional capacity form the foundation of the house in the definition by Finnish Institution of Occupational Health. Health and physical, mental and social functional capacity form the basis of work ability.  

We approach work ability from a wide perspective. However, at individual level it refers to the resources of a person in relation to the demands and resources of the work. We also focus on studying and developing the resources of work.

The strength of our research group is its multidisciplinary nature. We have carried out R&D work in supporting the work of superiors and SMEs for years. In addition, we have enhanced the employment of the least employable and the health of the adolescents without work or a place of study through physical activity. An important part of the work is also the development of the adolescents’ work application skills.  

We are involved in developing a variety of forms to enhance well-being at work. We study and develop the management and quality assurance of voluntary work, since it is becoming increasingly important in social and health care. The work of the research group is closely connected with the Master’s degree studies in social services and health care. The aim of these curricula is provide the students with skills in developing the work of the superiors and work settings. 

The research group participates in the following development projects in 2017:

Foorumix -  Networks of superiors in supporting management of work ability.  The purpose of this project is to test the peer forums in SMEs at Satakunta. A model will be created on the basis of the experiences which can then be used in workplaces to set up peer forums to promote effectiveness and coping at work. These forums are intended to become a permanent part of the structure of the workplace. The project aims at showing how much strength the networking of superiors can offer for the well-being of the superiors themselves as well as for the whole workplace.

Työpeili ("Mirror of work")  is a project which develops a concept of a group-formed enterprise service. It is intended for lone entrepreneurs and micro and small businesses. They use the services least. The core of this project involves development in a reflective peer group with expert parts.

Dialogue, digitalisation and network cooperation is a project which supports the well-being at work and effectiveness of rural entrepreneurs  (DIVIDE). The aims of the project are crystallized in three main themes: making use of dialogic and social development, digitalization and peer networks.  This ESR project was started on 1 March 2017 and it is implemented in three areas Southern Ostrobothnia, Southern Savonia and Satakunta.  


Research team

Andrew Sirkka

Kaarina Latostenmaa, project manager of the Foorumix and Työpeili projects  

Merja Koivuniemi

Merja Manni

Sirpa Isberg,  project manager of DIVIDE

Tapio Myllymaa

Tarja Javanainen-Levonen

Tomi Kuusimäki


Leader of the research group

Anne Kärki

044 7103471


Indoor Environment

Indoor Environment

The activities of the research group are focused on the research and development of the indoor environment and water systems. Main topics are drinking water, wastewater, water treatment as well as hygienic and energy-efficient solutions. The indoor environment includes the construction, housing and HVAC building systems related to water and ventilation systems, as well as indoor surfaces. Indoor Environment group's main goals are development of healthy indoor environment including safe water quality, increased energy efficiency, development and durability of HVAC building technology solutions as well as development of European standardization and product acceptance for HVAC building systems.


The research combines extensive microbiological, chemical, material technology, water technology and building technology expertise. Research carried out, in addition to traditional methods, utilizes full-scale pilot sites according to the Living Lab theme. The research group comprises an international, cross-disciplinary unit, which combines research related to drinking water, indoor air and indoor surfaces from the fields of natural sciences and engineering. Research projects are carried out in a close co-operation with regional, national and international companies, research institutions, universities and other higher education institutions utilizing domestic and international sources of research funding.

Contact Person

Martti Latva

+358 44 710 3060


Computational Intelligence & Logistics

Main goal

The main research goal is to create a solid theoretical foundation and effective computational models for solving challenging operations research problems and for creating intelligent game characters. The focus is on designing computational models and algorithms for industrial use.

Strong competence in mathematics, computer science and engineering

The research team includes method scientists (PhDs and post-graduate students) in mathematics, computer science and engineering as well as experts in information technology. The research results are internationally top-class. The researchers have joint publications with more than thirty researchers around the world, e.g. from Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Great Britain, South Africa and USA.

The research problems are highly complex and computationally extremely challenging. This requires an understanding of the mathematical foundations, an innovative research approach, solid programming skills and computers with powerful computational capacity. The problems are solved by using bio-inspired computational intelligence algorithms, such as

  • Self-Organizing Heuristics
  • Genetic Algorithms
  • Neural Networks
  • Ant Algorithms
  • Particle Swarm Optimization.

The research team also utilizes warehouse and inventory systems, transportation and logistics systems and simulation software.

Research targets include e.g.

  • Warehouse and Inventory Management
  • Transportation
  • Intelligent Game Characters
  • Data Analysis of Massive Open Online Courses
  • Statistical Forecasting and Simulation
  • Workforce Management
  • Professional Sports League Scheduling

Contact person

Riitta Tempakka

+358 44 710 3639

Mental Health

Mental Health

Mental health can be considered a phenomenon, which develops in different stages of life. Conceptions of mental health are mainly based on convention and cultural definitions. The concept of positive mental health emphasizes the well-being of the mind and the individual´s ability to survive in everyday living. In other words, mental health does not only mean lack of diagnosed mental illness. Instead, mental health is related to life skills and experiences, and it cannot be treated by medical methods but by promoting and strengthening it. In fortunate circumstances, positive resources can grow, in unfavourable circumstances they can be reduced more than increase.

Both psychosocial symptoms and mental health problem among children and adolescents have increased in western civilizations in the last few decades. This is manifested in the experiences of children and adolescents themselves as well as in research. At the same time, the prescribed medications for psychiatric diagnoses and the amount of treatment subsidies for children and adolescents suffering from mental health and behavioural problems have increased during the 21st century. As a result, considerable economic and qualitative challenges are placed on the service system in social and health care. Children’s and adolescents’ mental health problems can be prevented by high quality, timely and correct methods. They can also be used to promote mental health in adulthood. According to research, experienced well-being in adolescence can be improved by support from the closest people and good relations with the school and teachers.

Main goal of the research group

The research group promotes structures and phenomena supporting positive mental health. This promotion takes place by research and development of co-operation with local, national and Nordic operators. The specific focus is on children and adolescents.

Main research and development areas                  

  • The challenges and possibilities of medicalisation in psychiatric nursing
  • The service system in mental health work,  forms of care and positive resources supporting the service system
  • Factors improving, strengthening  and damaging mental health.  Development of operational models, practices and methods in the field of mental health and psychiatric nursing and mental health work.
  • Development of nursing education so as to strengthen the competence of the professionals working in the field of child and adolescent mental health.

Contact person

Minna Kahala

+358 44 710 3129

Services for the Ageing

The aim of the research group is to develop services which promote the well-being of older adults. These services are developed in cooperation with older adults themselves, the public sector, different organisations and students. 

The focus in the social welfare and health care reform (SOTE) is on services accessible and provided at home.  Therefore, the research group concentrates on developing quality and effective services which promote client-based home care and informal care. People with a memory disease are a specific target group. Effective care and nursing practices and local models are developed in multidisciplinary cooperation.  The functions of the group are based on multidisciplinary competences in the field of gerontological care, nursing and rehabilitation.

The most important research and development areas:

  • development of models, work practice and methods which support home care and informal care  
  • development of practices which support the everyday activities of people with a memory disease
  • ethics and value basis, ethically sustainable care and nursing
  • enhancement of gerontological  skills in training

Contact person:

Sari Teeri

tel. 044 7103423

Smart Energy Solutions

Smart Energy Solutions in SAMK

Smart energy solutions research team aims to share and increase knowledge as well as to break old fashioned beliefs and myths about renewable energy, energy efficiency, ecology and their feasibility in Nordic countries through research projects and training.

Research focuses on four main objectives

  • renewable energy systems building integration and overall optimization
  • ecological living and energy efficiency solutions
  • smart control and measurement solutions for all kinds of energy systems
  • solar energy technology training

In these research areas joined projects with companies aim to increase the comprehensive renewable energy and energy efficiency know-how. Aim of the research projects is also to identify and activate new business models on the interface of RE- and ICT- technology.

About the objectives

Renewable energy system optimization is a key element of making systems, especially solar energy systems, cost-effective and suitable for our Nordic conditions.

Ecological living and energy efficiency solutions can come from small, simple things such as bringing energy consumption visible to household users or from concentrated solutions on living areas such as collection of rainwater for watering flowers.

Smart control and measurement solutions enable use of renewable energy systems on a whole new -smart- level.

Students, public and companies gain knowledge of solar energy from our training packages to enhance their skills, knowledge and businesses.


Team has created and maintains the SolarForum-community, where companies, researchers, educators, students and public can get information about solar energy and all research projects of the team. Data of solar energy systems production rates in Satakunta is also published on our website. Gathered data is updated in real-time and consists of instantaneous output power and overall energy production rates of the system in question.  You can follow us and our research on

Hybrid renewable energy laboratory

Hybrid renewable energy laboratory at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences is equipped with versatile research equipment for renewable energies. The laboratory is used for research on producing and storing heat, electricity and chilling. Simulation of a household and its energy consumption is running in the laboratory 24/7.

Equipment and data

  • monitoring, collecting and presenting data from various photovoltaic and solar thermal systems in Satakunta region
  • 3,8 kW photovoltaic system for production, storage and inclination research
  • hybrid renewable energy laboratory (solar thermal, photovoltaics, pellet boiler, batteries)


Contact person:

Meri Olenius

044 710 3345


Smart Urban Business

Smart Urban Business

Smart Urban Business research team is focused on resource efficiency and smart urban actions, which reflects several strategic themes of SAMK. The research team combines elements of environmental technology, maritime and logistic as well as service business to urban research work. There are ongoing projects in Baltic Sea region, EU, Namibia and China.

”The heart of the team is international multiscientific research work on smart urban business”

Main research and development themes

  • Development of safety, resource efficient and marketing of small ports on Finland, Åland and Sweden (CB PortMate project)
  • Increasing energy efficiency in maritime sector (Erasmus+ MariEMS project)
  • Antimicrobiological coating in health care to prevent infectious diseases (COST AMiCI project)
  • Urban development and technological concept for developing countries (Tekes BEAM NAMURBAN project)
  • Expertize in service business promoting local companies and projects heading to international markets, especially in China and Namibia (Step C).
  • Electrical bicycles in urban environment (AIKO funding)

Publication (pdf)

Contact person

research manager Minna Keinänen-Toivola, Ph.D.
+358 44 710 3063

Tourism Business

Tourism Business


The research group of tourism business focuses on developing business competence, its networks and services in tourism industry. The business potential of natural resources and rural attractions are considered important factors when enhancing the competitiveness of tourism companies and destinations. Particular attention is paid to promoting emerging forms of tourism entrepreneurship. Another aim of the research group is to provide a relevant skillset for tourism industry to grow. This goal is achieved by translating their needs into curricula and implementing joint, work-based study programmes online in national and international co-operation.

The research group has accomplished several regional, national and international research projects mainly funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The research group coordinates regional tourism development in the field of rural, nature, food and green well-being tourism. It works intensively with various national partners and leads co-operational activities in the Baltic Sea region related to competence development in tourism business.

The main themes of our research and development activities:

  • Rural, nature and food tourism
  • Well-being and business from nature – use of natural resources in tourism business
  • Business competence in tourism industry: product development, service and experience design, sales and marketing, eTourism

Tourism research group brochure (pdf)

Nature-related research and development activities brochure (pdf)

Contact person

Sanna-Mari Renfors

+358 44 710 3821

Well-being Enhancing Technology

Well-being Enhancing Technology

Well-being Enhancing Technology (WET) research group is a multidisciplinary team targeting at developing a person’s health and well-being by means of technology applications rather than the care itself.


The research group identifies four main activities: 1) Development and modification of various technology applications; 2) Service Designing; 3) Follow-up and evaluation methodology development (user and usability research, accessible technologies), and 4) Multidisciplinary knowledge transfer. The broader scope of the research and development work also involves experts in the field of well-being and health (e.g. nursing, physiotherapy, gerontology and ethics) as well as experts in business innovation and service design. In addition, international researchers in the team enhance the expertise of the research group by bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from other countries.

Design for Somebody is the background philosophy in the research group meaning that an individual’s need is placed as the centrepiece in development processes. For successful identification and interpretation of individual needs, the research group employs research, education and working life experts from the fields of healthcare, welfare and technology. Development processes are conducted in close collaboration with beneficiary parties and organisations. By doing so, the research group intends to take a role as interpreter between individuals and service suppliers as well as to assist modify services and linked technologies to become user-based in optimum level. Furthermore, verifying the potentials, deployment, accessibility, and long term impacts of technologies the research group faces the challenge of developing follow-up and evaluation methodologies.

From research point of view the focus of the research group is set on technology development related research (modification of technologies into new application areas, utilization of new methodologies in generating technology solutions), accessibility and usability related research, user research, assessment of technology and service solution impacts in health and well-being, service designing and innovation research as well as ethical issues concerned.

Research on Well-being Enhancing Technologies requires constant and multidisciplinary knowledge updating and agility to response to changing demands and circumstances. This research group meets the challenge by a flexible core team - complementary team structure that supports multidisciplinary and dynamic staff facilitation. The group reinforces and updates the excellence by networking with various entrepreneurs, communities, research groups and research institutions in Finland and overseas. In addition, by active student involvement in the projects, the research group claims an educational role in students professional development as future experts.

Contact person

Research group leader

PhD (Tech) Sari Merilampi

+358 44 710 3171