Saija Niemi

Research Fellow +358 40 120 4168


  • Climate migration and displacement
  • Internal displacement and international migration questions
  • Regional migration movements (e.g. Pacific Islands, Africa and Latin America)


I have worked in relation to various migration and displacement issues in the academia, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations and in state administration. I am currently working on climate mobilities. I have previously carried out research, for example, on South Sudanese, Pacific and Latin American migration and displacement movements. I am interested in topics such as drivers of climate mobility, individual and group control, significance of spaces and places, role of cities and refugee/IDP camps in displacement and migration, and conflict-induced movements. I have united different issues connected to migration and displacement under a new theory I developed, called the Theory of Control Tuning. In my research, I use especially qualitative methods and grounded theory methodology. My background is in human geography and development studies. I have implemented fieldwork in countries such as Sudan, Uganda, Egypt, Mexico, New Zealand, the United States and Finland.

Current project:

Climate Migration: Toward a Better Understanding and Management of the Phenomenon (ILMASI) funded by the Government of Finland

Essential publications:

Niemi, S. (2020). Mobility and immobility in climate migration in the Pacific Islands. Siirtolaisuus – Migration, 46(3), 13-16.

Niemi, S. (2019). Lectio praecursoria: Theory of Control Tuning: the Processing of Control in Migration-related Place Coping. Fennia 197:1, 163-167. The Geographical Society of Finland.

Niemi, S. (2018). Theory of Control Tuning: the Processing of Control in Migration-relate Place Coping. Doctoral dissertation. Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Helsinki.

Niemi, S. (2018). Control and migration – from states to individuals and groups. Liikkeessä yli rajojen -blog, 28.11.2018:

Niemi, S. (2017). Minä väitän: Ympäristöpakolaisuuden sijaan meidän tulisi puhua ympäristönmuutoksen vuoksi muuttavista. Ympäristödialogeja -blog, 4.12.2017:

“Ympäristöpakolaisuus”-podcast (2017). Asiantuntijana Ympäristötiedon Foorumin paneelissa:

Niemi, S. (2016). Uusi-Seelanti – New Zealand – Aotearoa. United Press Global, Tallinn. (Available in Finnish and Swedish)

Niemi, S. (2012). Early experiences of young Sudanese resettled to Finland. Forced Migration Review, no. 40. University of Oxford:

Niemi, S. (2009). Sudanin konfliktit, pakolaisuus ja paluumuutto. Ihmisiä muuttoliikkeessä verkkoprojekti 31.8.2009.

Niemi, S. (2009). Elämää maan sisäisenä pakolaisena Khartumissa. Ihmisiä muuttoliikkeessä verkkoprojekti 23.7.2009.

Niemi, S. (2008). Sudanin pakolaislapset Suomessa. Pakolaislapset – tausta ja tulevaisuus, seminaarijulkaisu 22, 2008:11-15, Yhteiset Lapsemme ry, Helsinki.