High-level, high-impact Academy Research Fellows selected in social sciences and humanities

10 May 2021

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Culture and Society today granted funding for 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. The Research Council paid special attention to applicants who in their research plans combined high quality with strong academic and societal impact and scientific renewal.

In this round, the Research Council’s funding for Academy Research Fellows totals around 9.4 million euros. The funding is granted for five years. The success rate was 11 per cent. Women account for 59 per cent of the funding recipients and for 53 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 the most talented researchers as they qualify for the most demanding, professor-level research tasks. Pihlström said: “This year was no exception in that the competition for funding was very fierce. Based on the international peer review, the Research Council granted funding to excellent researchers who, with five years of funding, will have the opportunity to consolidate their position in science. The success rate is unfortunately very low in this funding scheme, and many excellent researchers and high-quality projects did not get funded.”

Examples of funded Academy Research Fellows

Johanna Annola (Tampere University) studies the conditions of women’s prisons from the 1800s to the 1920s. Annola will examine the history of incarceration by concentrating on the prison space but also the experiences associated with day-to-day prison life. How were women treated in their reproductive role? What kind of pastoral care was available and how did women respond to it? How did the prisoners’ work practices change? Instead of merely the administrative history, Annola’s project focuses on the different layers of prison space and on the changing experiences of the occupants. The project will take a fresh approach to traditional archive data and use new kinds of source material such as prisoners’ personal letters. The project will provide a historical perspective for the contemporary discussion on punishment-centred societies, wellbeing and the moral obligation to work.

Teppo Jakonen (University of Turku) studies how telepresence robots can be used to support remote participation in classroom education. Telepresence robots are remote-controlled moveable devices with videoconferencing capabilities. The project analyses video-recorded language lessons from higher education classrooms in which one or more distance students participate alongside face-to-face students by operating a telepresence robot remotely. The results can help form a clearer picture of the possibilities of telepresence technologies in supporting remote participation and in increasing equality of access to education for vulnerable groups such as quarantined or hospitalised students.

Jukka Syväterä (University of Helsinki) explores the evolving practices of the authority of science in the politics of parliamentary policymaking. The project addresses the paradox of scientific authority in contemporary policymaking: scientific advice is increasingly demanded even as policymakers often disregard expert advice. The project will offer a new perspective to this paradox by examining the practices of legislators which, on the one hand, use science to support political arguments and, on the other hand, call into question the authority of science.

Inquiries and more information

Academy of Finland Communications
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