Academy of Finland announces new Academy Projects in social sciences and humanities

26 May 2021

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Culture and Society today granted nearly 30 million euros in funding for 59 new Academy Projects. Eight of the funded projects are consortium projects, and the total number of subprojects is 71. Fourteen projects received Academy Project funding targeted at early-career researchers to support career development.

Academy Project funding is granted for four years. According to the plans presented, the projects will employ 175 researchers with a PhD for more than 3,100 person-months. The Research Council for Culture and Society considers it important that Academy Projects involve researchers at different stages of their careers. However, the focus is on promoting postdoctoral careers.

The Academy Project funding scheme is the most important funding instrument of the Research Council for Culture and Society for promoting the impact and renewal of research. In addition to the high scientific quality of the research plan, the Research Council pays special attention to projects that combine high quality with strong academic and societal impact and/or scientific renewal.

Professor Sami Pihlström, the Chair of the Research Council, said: “This year was no exception in that the funding decisions of the Research Council were again guided by the teams’ quality, impact and capacity for renewal identified through international peer review. At the same time, the Research Council also paid attention to the diversity of the disciplines it represents, with the aim of providing funding for a broad range of research fields.”

Pihlström added: “As a whole, the success rate of the funding scheme was quite low, unfortunately, due to the limited funding available. With scarce resources, the competition for research funding is fierce, and many excellent projects are sadly left without funding.”

Examples of funded projects

Heidi Hirsto (University of Vaasa) heads a research project examines the role of digital spaces such as social networking and crowdfunding platforms in driving shifts in investment culture. The project focuses first and foremost on the consumer, and seeks to find out how consumers define and understand investments, how investing is justified in digital investor communities and what the discourses of investing are like. The topical project highlights, among other things, the rhetorical means crowdfunding platforms have used to attract investors during the Covid-19 pandemic and how social media influencers have been used to reach potential investors.

Otto Latva (University of Turku) heads a research project that investigates the human relationship with changes in the Baltic Sea biodiversity. The project is interdisciplinary, combining linguistic research, cultural studies, history, and paleoecology. It uses these research approaches to explore the human relationship with extinct, endangered, introduced and non-native as well as invasive marine animals and plants. The aim of Latva’s project is to find out changes in the marine biodiversity have been understood and perceived in Finnish culture and society in the long term, and how the changes have influenced Finnish perceptions of the sea and archipelago environment. The project can provide tools for future environmental planning, for example.

Heidi Westerlund (University of the Arts Helsinki) combines research in music education, professionalism and eco-politics. Westerlund’s project studies music education and teacher training in three countries: Finland, Australia and South Africa. The aim is to identify new alternative ways of implementing music education and arts education in general, ways that are, in essence, environmentally responsible, socially engaged and forward-looking.

Uskali Mäki (University of Helsinki) heads a research project within the field of philosophy of science, analysing the significance of economics for policymaking in the post-Covid society. The multidisciplinary project aims to create an improved understanding of the value and limits of economics as a policy science in tackling problems caused and revealed by the coronavirus pandemic. It also aims to provide an accurate diagnosis of the capacities of economics for dealing with future societal challenges.

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