Academy of Finland grants funding to 23 new Academy Research Fellows in social sciences and humanities

4 May 2022

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Culture and Society today granted funding for 23 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 had 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 10 million euros. The funding is granted for five years. This year, the success rate for Academy Research Fellow applications was nearly 12 per cent. Some of the applications will be decided at a later date because of clarifications related to connections to and cooperation with Russia or Belarus. Women account for 70 per cent of the grantees and 61 per cent of the applicants.

Professor Petri Karonen, Chair of the Research Council for Culture and Society, commented that the Academy Research Fellow funding scheme supports the most talented researchers in gaining qualifications for research positions at professor level. “The competition for funding was again fierce. Although the Research Council was able to fund a slightly higher number projects that had received high ratings in the international peer review, many excellent Academy Research Fellow projects could unfortunately not be funded,” Karonen added.

The Research Council funded several scientifically excellent researchers. Here are a few examples:

Taija Kaarlenkaski (University of Eastern Finland) studies changes in the meanings and practices related to milk and dairy farming in Finland from the 1950s to the present day. For decades now, Finns have consumed one of the highest amounts of milk per capita in the world. Milk and beef production has played a significant role in the Finnish agricultural sector. However, during the past decade, the discussion on milk and dairy farming has turned more critical as research has shown that industrial milk production is a significant source of carbon emissions and environmental problems, and as awareness of animal welfare issues has increased among consumers. Kaarlenkaski aims to produce historically grounded new knowledge that can be utilised in the scientific and societal discussion on changing agricultural and eating practices as well as identities related to these issues.

Vesa Putkinen (Turku University Hospital) will examine the neurochemical and functional basis of emotions evoked by music listening and joint music making. Music evokes strong emotions even though it serves no obvious evolutionary function and signals no intrinsic harm or benefit to the individual. Putkinen’s project combines positron emission tomography (PET), pharmacological functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and machine learning. The project aims to provide the first neuroimaging evidence regarding the role of the opioid system in music-induced emotions and elucidate the relationship between music-induced and other emotions.

Michael Ungeheuer (Aalto University) explores what actually drives investor behaviour and how investors could make better investment decisions. Ungeheuer’s research will include, for example, laboratory tests aimed at identifying factors that affect investors’ decisions by controlling the subjects’ decision-making environment. The project belongs to the field of economics but also utilises behavioural science data. The results of the study may support the development of services and investment tools for the financial sector.

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