Juho Saari (b. 1967) is a tenured professor in social and health policy (2016-) and a Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences (2019-2024) at Tampere University, Finland. He also is a docent (adjunct professor) at the Universities of Helsinki, Turku and Jyväskylä, all in Finland.
Previously he has worked a professor (tenured) of welfare research and welfare sociology at the University of Eastern Finland (2007-2016), a part time tenured professor of welfare research at the University of Eastern Finland (2016-2018), a director of the Kuopio Welfare Research Centre (KWRC) (2009-2016), as well as a director of Research School for Well-being and Health Research (2012-2016).
Earlier he has worked as a senior and ministerial adviser at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland (1996-2007) and as a member of Permanent Secretary’s Cabinet, where he was responsible on strategic initiatives, EU-affairs and research and development policies. Among others, has been a member of the Social Protection Committee of the EU, the secretary of PSs’ Boards, secretary, member, or chairman of some 60 working groups and committees, and the senior advisor of several ministers, prime ministers, and presidents of Finland among others.
Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland
Fields of expertise
He is the author, co-author or editor or co-editor of some 70 books and some 170 refereed articles on social policy and public economy, social innovations and RD-policies, altruism and justice, welfare and well-being, and European and global governance. In recent years he has edited or written monographs on the current welfare reforms, the impact of public debt on social expenditure, on the interplay between growth and inequality, social isolation and loneliness, well-being of homeless persons, and the well-being effects of social comparisons on the social situation of the least fortunate ones, among others. In total he has published 482 items.
He also has extensive expertise on projects management, including over 90 directed projects, has contributed 21 projects directed by others, and received c 60 personal grants to various purposes. Recently he has been, among others, personally in charge on projects on the future of welfare state in Finland commissioned by the Finland’s parliament (2009-2010); on well-being and social inequalities funded by the Academy of Finland (2011-2015); poverty and social exclusion commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (2011-2013); growth and inequality in the EU commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011-2013); on the governance of policy processes and innovation paths commissioned the Ministry of Education and Culture (2009-2010); on the well-being of homeless commissioned by the Ministry of Environment (2011-2013); on the social situation in food banks commissioned by The Foundation for Municipal Development and the Slot Machine Association (2012-2014); on the study on the NEET youth in Finland (2014-2015) commissioned by the Council of the state; on the poverty and social distances (2015-2016) commissioned by the Kone foundation; on social isolation and loneliness (2015-2017) commissioned by the Finnish Cultural Fund; on the emotional mind waves (2016-2019) funded by the Academy of Finland; on the intergenerational transfers of poverty (2016-2019) commissioned by the Me-foundation; and on the dimensions of well-being (2017-2019) commissioned by the Finnish Cultural Fund. The list is not exhaustive.
Since 2015, due to his position as a member of Strategic Research Council, at the Council of the State, as a Dean of Social Sciences at Tampere University and in order of not to compete with the staff and maintain neutrality, he has withdrawn from applying external funding from the Academy of Finland and the EU.
In 2021, he was awarded with the title Social Scientist of the Year by the national academic union “Social Science Professionals” for an outstanding contribution to social science. Earlier he has been been awarded with the Väinö Voionmaa prize for an outstanding contribution to the society and with the Order of the White Rose of Finland (1st class). In 2016, he was shortlisted for an annual “A Finn of the Year” popular competition . His book Yksinäisten Suomi (Loneliness in Finland) was shortlisted for Science Book of the Year 2016 and Kanava Award for Best Science Book 2016 and Raskas perintö (Burdensome Legacy) for Science Book of the Year 2020.
Main positions of trust
From 2022 he has been a member of boards of Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis.
From 2019 until 2021, he was a government rapporteur on the internal security at the Ministry of the Interior. From 2018 until 2019, he was a government rapporteur on the future of the welfare state at Prime Minister’s Office. In 2019, he also was a chairman of After Care Working Group at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. From 2017 onwards until 2019, he was a chairman of National Working Group on Social Inequality at Prime Minister’s Office and several other related working groups.
From 2014 onwards until 2018, he served as a member of Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland: he also has served at the boards of different research programs within the Academy of Finland. In 2011-2013 he was a member in Council of the State’s working group on the future of Finland and 2010-2012 he was a member of the Council of the State’s working group on well-being, environmental sustainability, and the GDP (inspired by the Stiglitz Committee). In 2009-10, he served as a project manager at the Parliament of Finland responsible on the future of welfare state (employing six persons). In addition, he has been a member of numerous ad hoc working groups at the Council of the State on social policy, policy programs, public economy, and innovation policy, among others.
He has been an adviser of the governments of Czech Republic, Kosovo, Romania, Russia (including Kaliningrad Oblast), Tanzania, Ukraine, among others, worked for the World Bank’s Development Report 2006, and was a member of the WANA forum (established by his Royal Highness of Jordan) 2009-2012, among others. In Finland, he has been or is a chairman or member of numerous boards, trusts, or charities, including the EHYT and Helsinki Deaconess Institute (HDL), and has served as the vice-president of Social Policy Association and the member of the board of socio-political, sociological, civil society and diaconal work scientific associations, among others. He has been heard as an expert in over 100 parliamentary hearings in various committees and contributed for numerous working groups at the Council of the State.
Social and health policy, inequality and disadvantages, the social dimension of European Union.