Press release

Juho Hamari wins Young Researcher Award

Juho Hamari
The Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion has given out its annual Young Researcher Award and Outstanding Teacher Award. The Young Researcher Award was presented to Professor Juho Hamari, a pioneer of gamification. His research group explores topics that combine technology, gamefulness and the human aspect.

Gamification refers to making activities, systems, services, products or organisational structures into ones which afford positive experiences, skills and practices similar to those afforded by good games.

“It is important that young researchers like Juho Hamari help keep Finland at the forefront of this rapidly growing field. Juho Hamari received the award in recognition of the exceptional scientific achievements that he has demonstrated so early in his career. He is a pioneer of gamification and one of the foremost authorities in his field,” stated the jury.

Juho Hamari is honoured to receive the prestigious award: “It was not so long ago that researching such an esoteric topic was perceived as foolhardy. However, I am delighted to notice that the decisive pursuit of this bold research endeavour has led it to become an internationally important topic both in technology and social science”.

“I am also pleased to notice that academic accolades in the area of gamification, which is perhaps a bit closer to social sciences, can receive awards in the technology sphere even though they are traditionally more engineering-focused. This illustrates the growing importance of technology in our daily life, for example, as a result of increasing digitalisation and gamification,” Hamari describes. 

Hamari is the world’s first professor of gamification and leads the Gamification Group, which is split between Tampere University, the University of Turku and the University Consortium of Pori.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all the members of my research group for being passionate about research and for fostering a game-like research environment.”

Work and play become increasingly intertwined

The Gamification Group undertakes research across a broad range of topics that combine technology, gamefulness and the human aspect, such as esports, virtual reality, gaming communities and, of course, gamification. The group comprises close to 20 members, namely researchers, visiting scientists and doctoral researchers. 

“In one form or another, gamification has already become an essential part of the process of designing systems, services, products and organisational structures. Until recently, gamification and gamefulness were still seen as novel technologies. Now they are already becoming integral components of all human technologies,” says Hamari.

In fact, the majority of existing mobile phone apps are based on gamification, such as apps that promote learning and help users maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“Work and play are becoming increasingly intertwined in our society. It is important to consider how we can support work-play integration through technology and research,” Hamari points out.

The Outstanding Teacher Award was also given out by the Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion at its 70th Anniversary Gala on 13 May. The award was presented to Jami Kinnunen, university lecturer at Aalto University. Both the Young Researcher Award and Outstanding Teacher Award are worth €15,000.

Text: Marika Vapaala-Riikonen
Photo: Annette Mueck - https://www.mueck-fotografie.de/about-me/