Dr. Varjopuro is a senior researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), where he has been conducting research since 1998. Prior to joining SYKE, he worked as a research assistant at the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute for two years while preparing his master's thesis. With a background in e.g. cultural anthropology, he is a social scientist specialized in studies of natural resource management and policies.
Riku has worked at SYKE's Environmental Policy Instruments Division and Research Programme for Environmental Policy, where most of his research projects have addressed marine environmental issues such as coastal management, environmental regulation of marine aquaculture, interactions between environment and fisheries and most recently the EU marine protection policies. His work has especially studied the practices of decision making and participation as well as social-material linkages between ecosystems and human activities. Some of his work has addressed also biodiversity conservation and river basin management.
- MARISPLAN: Marine Spatial Planning in a Changing Climate. A project in the Academy of Finland's Climate Change research programme (FICCA) (2011-2014). Varjopuro focuses on national and regional governance of Marine Spatial Planning and its linkages to adaptation to the climate change.
- BALTADAPT: The Baltic Sea Region Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. Funded by EU's Baltic Sea Region Programme (2011-2013). Varjopuro studies climate change adaptation in coastal areas in Finland and takes part in the project's policy analysis activities.
- KnowSeas:Knowledge-based Sustainable Management for Europe´s Seas, a research project funded by EU's FP7 (2009-2013). Varjopuro takes part in a workpackage that develops and coordinates social science research in the project and conducts social science and governance studies in the Baltic Sea workpackage.
- IBEFish: Interactions between environment and fisheries — a challenge for management, a specific support action funded by EU's FP6 (2007). Varjopuro coordinated the project that produced as its main output a special issue in the journal Marine Policy (2008, issue 2).
- GOVCOM: Governing a Common Sea, a social science research project in the Academy of Finland's BIREME research programme (2003-2005). Varjopuro conducted a case study on a controversy between protection of the grey seal and coastal fishing.
- FRAP: Framework for biodiversity reconciliation — fish-eating vertebrates as model cases, a research project funded by EU's FP5 (2003-2006). Varjopuro conducted social research in the Finnish case study that focused on a controversy between protection of the grey seal and coastal fishing.