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Hille Koskela and Minna Halme receive Academy of Finland Awards

Academy of Finland awards two researchers

Two researchers have received Academy of Finland Awards at the Academy’s annual Science Gala in Helsinki on Thursday, October 16. The awards went to Hille Koskela, Academy Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki, and Minna Halme, Academy Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor at Helsinki School of Economics. Koskela was recognized for her scientific courage, Halme for the social impact of her work.

Research into the visuality of the Internet brings award for scientific courage

Academy Research Fellow Hille Koskela takes a broad interest in power relations surrounding the surveillance of urban space and experiences of safety. She is interested to explore how the constant availability of real-time video images is changing urban and household spaces and current practices within those spaces. Ultimately, her aim is to understand the relationship between the material real space and the virtual Internet space as well as their convergence in new kinds of social practices.

For Koskela, these new social practices and relations are constituted through the expanding networked use of webcams. She is interested in the way that images on the Internet are interpreted, particularly webcams but also videos uploaded onto YouTube, for instance. The aim of her research is to understand the logic and objectives of Internet representation. She wants to understand better the causes and consequences of the image material downloaded by private citizens: “I’m keen to know why in the era of increasing surveillance people want to expose themselves and on the other hand also to observe one another. Another area of interest for me is that of webcams in urban spaces,” Koskela says.

Koskela is an internationally recognized scholar in the area of surveillance who is closely networked with all the top researchers in this field. In her own work, she integrates theories from different disciplines without preconditions, a bold approach that has produced important new scientific breakthroughs. Importantly, this also allows her to address current social issues and problems. “As part of my research I’ve also analysed the images that were posted on the Internet ahead of the recent school killings in Finland,” Koskela says. The results of her work will provide important insights for the development of ethically sustainable surveillance practices that will also safeguard citizen privacy.

The Academy of Finland Award for scientific courage is granted to a researcher who has shown exceptional scientific audacity, creativity or innovation in his or her work. The award can also be granted for a novel or original research idea, for forward-looking work that transcends scientific boundaries or for a willingness to take risks in research.

Award for social impact granted for research on eco-efficient business models

Academy Research Fellow Minna Halme’s research interests focus on innovative business practices that promote sustainable development. Based at the Helsinki School of Economics, she is in charge of the Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility research team, which is working closely with private businesses to develop new products, services and business concepts that are environmentally friendly and/or socially responsible. “Our aim is to produce information about new, economically attractive and socially responsible business concepts. This is an alternative to the view that sees responsibility as a matter of charity or as an imperative necessity that only adds to costs,” Halme says.
 
In the area of social responsibility, Halme’s main focus is on researching business that can reduce poverty, which is a relatively new line of study not only in Finland but globally. The aim is to create economically viable business models and at the same time to resolve a social problem associated with poverty. “My research starts from the premise that production and consumption today are ecologically unsustainable. People could satisfy their needs by using products and services that consume much less energy and natural resources, i.e. by making more efficient use of materials. This doesn’t have to mean making sacrifices or compromising our welfare and well-being, but adopting new ways of producing and consuming and learning new ways of doing business,” Halme says.

Halme is an active researcher and a well-respected expert in her field. She has managed several projects, published almost 70 scientific articles and congress papers, given several invited lectures and served as a scientific expert in her own field of research. In addition to her academic merits, Halme has contributed actively to the public debate in the mass media on issues that touch upon her field of expertise. She has given numerous expert interviews on the subjects of environmental management and social responsibility, and in addition to her academic work she has written several articles on research for the general reader as well as polemical writings.

The Academy of Finland Award for social impact is granted to a researcher who has significantly contributed to increasing public awareness of scientific research or the researcher’s job, who has inspired interest in science, who has actively contributed to public debate in society or otherwise strengthened the role, application and impact of research in society.

Academy of Finland Awards intended to encourage researchers

Nominees for the Academy of Finland Awards shall hold the position of Academy Research Fellow or work as Academy-funded Postdoctoral Researchers. Nominations are submitted by the Research Councils to the Academy's Board, who makes the final decision. The purpose of the awards is to recognize and encourage outstanding researchers with dynamic career prospects and to highlight goals and objectives that the Academy considers important. This is the sixth time that the awards are announced. The Award recipients are presented with a mouth-blown glass ornament by Miia Liesegang.

More information:
- Vice President (Administration) Ossi Malmberg, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 9 7748 8230, ossi.malmberg(at)aka.fi
-  Academy Research Fellow Minna Halme, Helsinki School of Economics, tel. +358 9 431 38650, +358 40 353 8251, minna.halme(at)hse.fi
- Academy Research Fellow Hille Koskela, University of Helsinki, tel. +358 9 191 24593, +358 40 732 7325, hille.koskela(at)helsinki.fi
- For photos of the Award recipients,
Hille Koskela: pic1, pic2, pic3
Minna Halme: pic1, pic2, pic3 
- Introductory videos on the Award recipients will be posted on the Academy website at 6pm on 16 October; go to www.tietysti.fi/fi/T/Tiedeuutiset2/Tiedevideoita (only in Finnish).

Academy of Finland Communications
Communications Specialist Terhi Loukiainen
tel. +358 9 7748 8385, +358 40 828 1784
terhi.loukiainen(at)aka.fi

 

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