The Agora Center was established in 2002 to provide a platform for interdisciplinary research in the field of human technology. It established interdisciplinary teams, drawing researchers from information technology, cognitive science, psychology, educational studies, and other fields. This research vision was a new approach at the University of Jyväskylä, where, until then, faculties had been the primary venue for organizing research.
In the passing decade, the Agora concept has proved successful. Multiple projects in various research fields have developed ingenious and beneficial applications by integrating longstanding and newly developed fundamental research on human behavior with the newest developments in information and communication technologies. These breakthrough products apply to, for example, learning games for mobile platforms, selfmonitoring tools for healthy living and developmental games for learning disabilities.
From the start, a primary motivation underpinning our successful teams and projects has been the benefits of research for society. In recent years, the mission of the Agora Center has expanded into developing human-centered solutions to “wicked problems,” those challenges in life and society that are particularly complex, multi-faceted, and require creative approaches. Our research-based solutions provide innovations worthy of commercialization or adoption into use in social settings, such as schools or public health care. Today, the Agora Center develops new capabilities covering the entire innovation chain, from basic research to products to markets. This mission inspires our researchers to work ambitiously toward finding viable solutions to the wicked problems the world is confronting.