Sanna is a DPhil Student at the OII and also a doctoral student at the Alan Turing Institute, where she leads the Data and Inequality Interest Group together with her supervisor Mark Graham. Her doctoral research investigates the relationship between accessing work through online platforms and informality, and how these practices impact inequality, social exclusion, well-being, productivity, and the government’s ability to collect taxes. She is also very interested in the applications of big data in international development and through her research in the Big Data and Development Research Cluster and the Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Research Group endeavours to understand what development is and should be in the era of massive data and ever-increasing computing abilities.

Before commencing her doctoral studies Sanna worked as the quantitative research lead in an ERC-funded GeoNet project which studies how new economic practices and processes are taking root in Sub-Saharan Africa as a result of changing connectivities. Before joining the OII, Sanna worked with the Digital Engagement team of the World Bank Governance Global Practice and the Inter-American Development Bank’s Strategic Planning and Development Effectiveness Unit. She earned a Master’s Degree from American University’s School of International Service (Washington, DC) in 2013. At SIS she studied international development, governance, and innovative research methods as an ASLA-Fulbright Fellow.

Research interests

international development, digital economy, online labour, big data, informality, internet and information geography, knowledge economy, ICT for development, connectivity, inclusion, and equality.



Past projects

  • GeoNet: Changing Connectivities and the Potentials of Sub-Saharan Africa’s Knowledge Economy

    Participants: Professor Mark Graham, Dr Stefano De Sabbata, Nicolas Friederici, Dr Christopher Foster, Sanna Ojanperä, Dr Mohammad Amir Anwar, Dr Fabian Braesemann, Michel Wahome

    This research project is examining the geographies, drivers, and effects of Sub-Saharan Africa's emerging information economies at a time of changing connectivity and Internet access across the region.


  • OJANPERA, S.M.O., GRAHAM, M., De sabbata, S. and Straumann, R. (2018) "Uneven Digital Geographies ...and why they matter" In: This Is Not an Atlas. Transcript Verlag, Roswitha Gost, Sigrid Nokel u. Dr. Karin Werner. 310-318.
  • GRAHAM, M., OJANPERA, S.M.O. and DITTUS, M. (2014) "Internet geographies: Data shadows and digital divisions of labor" In: Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing our Lives. GRAHAM, M. and Dutton, W. (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 99-116.

Conference papers

  • Ojanpera, S., Graham, M., Straumann, R. and De Sabbata, S. (2016) "Measuring the Contours of the Global Knowledge Economy with a Digital Index", Development Studies Association Conference. Development Studies Association.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2013) "Networked Structures in International Development: A Proposal for a Research Agenda", 6th Annual Meeting of the Political Networks Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA).

Journal articles


  • Ojanperä, S., O'CLERY, N. and GRAHAM, M. (2018) Data science, artificial intelligence and the futures of work. London: The Alan Turing Institute.
  • Fauck, D., Bandilli, M., Ojanpera, S., Stefanovski, I., Zuidema, L., Novakova, S. and Grindgards, S. (2014) Missing a Generation in EU Politics. Brussels: European Policy Centre.
  • Guaipatin, C., Anta, R., Kallestad, E., Magri, N., Ojanperä, S., Olcese, C., Schwartz, L. and Tourreilles, F. (2013) Social Innovation: the Experience of the IDB's Innovation Lab. Washington D.C.: Inter-American Development Bank.


  • Ojanpera, S. (2016) Big Data in International Development. Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2016) Addressing New Societal Challenges with the Use of Big Data: Inequality and Exclusion. Brussels, Belgium.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2015) Economic Geographies of Knowledge Production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2015) Lopsided Geographies of Connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2015) The Geography of Engagement in the Knowledge Economy: Regional Patterns of Content Creation. Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2015) Uneven Geographies of Connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kings International Development Institute.

Working papers

  • Schweikert, A., Nield, L., Otto, E., Klemun, M., OJANPERA, S. and Deinert, M. (2019) "Vulnerabilities of Networked Energy Infrastructure : A Primer", Policy Research Working Paper. Washington, DC: World Bank.