Story behind the research: meet Jutta Martens!

May 11, 2023

Jutta recently joined our DocNet and is eager to share part of her exciting journey as well as her previous experience. Jutta aims to foster a more active dialogue between research and policymaking as part of her dissertation.

Hi, my name is Jutta Martens, a new UniPID DocNet member and I am happy to share my experience in conducting research. My PhD dissertation “Conflicting Norms in Peace Processes - Faith-based Leaders Perspectives and Roles in Achieving Lasting Peace” delves into the question of how norms that are valued in many Western countries are translated to grassroots peace processes, and how faith-based leaders see these issues in peace negotiations, reconciliation processes, and in the society in general. Although my research is still in the very early phases, and I'm still defining the more exact topic of the research, I am so pleased of exploring this topic.

Jutta Martens

Regarding my background, I have two Master's degree - one from Aalto University School of Economic (2012) and one from Helsinki University Faculty of Theology. While studying at Aalto, I was inspired by research that would benefit practical work, since I strongly believe that research should always have implications in real life, and on the other way around, the strategic decisions in real working life should be based on research data and analysis.

I conducted my master's thesis for Finn Church Aid. After working for a while in communications and marketing for a big b-to-b company, I decided to start a master's programme on Religion, Conflict and Dialogue. Studying and researching the role of religion in conflicts and peace efforts was interesting, and it inspired me to deepen my knowledge on the topic. For that reason, I applied for a PhD position at the Tampere Peace Research Institute TAPRI, at Tampere University and I am currently on that route.

I can describe myself as a result-oriented, easy-going person who is eager to constantly learn about life and the surrounding world. I would like to do research that benefits both the academia and the practitioners in the field.

I am currently working with the Finn Church Aid and Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers as a Regional Coordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa. This opportunity provides me with a unique first-hand experience of the actual peace work that is currently taking place. My plan is to utilize this experience, as well as the connections and the data I have access to as part of my job, to continue advancing on my dissertation. My PhD research supports peacebuilders’ work as well as governmental decision making, in addition to the value it adds to the academic discussion on the topic.

In my free time, I love spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy having an active life and playing tennis is one of my favorite activities. I also love going out-doors with my 3 kids and the mixed-breed dog. I would like to read more, however as I'm working full time currently the time for reading is limited. Luckily, reading and following the updates on the field are also part of my work. I love listening to podcasts and watching documentaries as well.


Thank you, Jutta for your time and inspiring story. For UniPID it is always insightful to see young researchers contributing to social dialogue, especially in topics related to a lasting idea of peace.

What is next? If you are a PhD researcher and have not joined us yet, do not hesitate to register as a DocNet member here. Get ready to participate in our NDDS-UniPID DocShop 2023 "What are – or what can be – the new emerging directions of development studies". More information available here. Make sure you hear the latest news via our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), website, and mailing list.

Photo credits: Jonathan Meyer, 2017, on UnSplash.