Academy of Finland funds 21 new Academy Research Fellows in social sciences and humanities

7 May 2020

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Culture and Society has granted funding to 21 new posts as Academy Research Fellow. The Research Council’s aim with the Academy Research Fellow funding is to support talented, mid-career researchers who have diverse networks. The Research Council paid special attention to applicants who in their research plans combine high quality with strong academic and societal impact or scientific renewal.

In this round, the Research Council’s funding for Academy Research Fellows totals around 9.2 million euros. The funding period is five years and the success rate was 12 per cent. Women account for 43 per cent of the funding recipients and for 51 per cent of the applicants.

According to Sami Pihlström, Chair of the Research Council, the Academy Research Fellow funding scheme is an essential funding opportunity that supports top researchers as they qualify for the most demanding, professor-level research tasks. “In making the funding decisions, we focused on the scientific quality and impact of the proposed projects and their potential for scientific renewal, while taking into account the diversity of disciplines represented by the Research Council.”

Examples of funded Academy Research Fellows

Johanna Ennser-Kananen from the University of Jyväskylä studies the legitimacy of knowledge in a Finnish school that serves adults with a refugee background. Her project will generate data to understand what kinds of knowledge surface in schools and examine whether or not knowledge becomes legitimate in this context. The site for this ethnographic study is a rural Finnish community college that offers a two-year basic education programme for refugee-background adults primarily from Middle Eastern and African countries. Data will be collected via classroom and school observations, audio recordings, interviews with students and staff, and audio recordings and observations from teacher training workshops. The methods used include thematic and discourse analysis of data.

Mohammad Moshtari from Tampere University explores corporate-humanitarian organisation partnerships as well as the benefits and the risks of using social media during disaster response. Providing an effective response to natural disasters is beyond the individual capacities of most government agencies, firms, and humanitarian organisations. These actors must therefore forge partnerships and facilitate collaborative practices to respond more effectively. Moshtari will examine different types of partnerships and the circumstances in which to create successful cross-sectoral partnerships. The project will build on fieldwork and data gathered from interviews, organisational documents, websites and news media.

Samuli Reijula from the University of Helsinki aims to study collaborative problem solving in science, deliberating on how scientific research practices should be organised so that the collective pursuit of knowledge is efficient, progressive and reliable. The project will utilise conceptual tools from the philosophy of science together with computational models to generate understanding about how scientists divide cognitive labour in evidence collection and how they coordinate their research actions when addressing complex scientific problems that lie beyond the capacities of any isolated scientist or research team.

Mari Toivanen from the University of Helsinki will investigate a rising form of lifestyle mobility, digital nomadism. Digital nomadism is on the rise as a result of technological advances and increased digitalisation. Toivanen aims to analyse digital nomads’ experiences and perceptions concerning mobility as a lifestyle, and how they construct social relations, family life, identity and leisure while on the move. The data to be collected include interviews and observations collected at co-working spaces in Thailand, Finland, Scotland and Estonia. The project will shed light on the intersections between mobility, work and digitalisation in the ever-globalising world, and on the role played by changing nation-states.

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