Color of Science

Watch Collaboration in and with the Global South

Prof. Caterina Soldano leads a conversation with Prof. Isabella Concina, Dr. Sumita Sharma and Dr. Karin Frölich on the challenges and opportunities of collaboration and cooperation in and with the Global South.

Over the past two decades, growth and development has radically transformed many parts of our world. Communities, governments, institutions and world organizations have all devoted large efforts towards the improvement of democratic governance and sustainable development outcomes through global trade, investment, financial, technological and cultural exchange.

Now more than ever, cooperation and collaboration between the Global North and the Global South have become crucial at local, national and international levels and mutual support is vital in facing new challenges.

Our speakers will share their own experiences about the Global South, while initiating scientific collaboration among research institutions, supporting digital and social inclusion of neurotypical children with special needs and developing a citizen-centric e-government model to enable digital transformation in remote areas in Namibia.

Which are the challenges in creating collaboration in and with the Global South?
Which are the benefits?
How is possible to ensure long-term support beyond a specific project?


  • Prof. Isabella Concina

Isabella Concina is Full Professor of Experimental Physics at Luleå Tekniska Universitet (Sweden). After earning her PhD in Chemical Sciences at the University of Padova (Italy), she worked in an analytical laboratory for environmental protection and prevention before going back to academia. She has been then working with the National Research Council in Italy and as Assistant Professor in Experimental Physics at the University of Brescia (Italy). In 2015 she was awarded a Vinnmer Marie Curie Fellowship in Sweden, with a project focused on development of environmentally friendly nanomaterials for energy applications. Her main research interests focus on the design and fabrication of nanostructured semiconducting materials for functional applications, with particular focus on solar energy converting devices, water splitting and photocatalysis for water remediation. Isabella has been a visiting scientist in Canada, Taiwan, United States and Cuba.

  • Dr. Karin Frölich

Dr. Karin Fröhlich is a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Computer Science at Aalto University. She received her PhD  in 2019 from Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in collaboration with an exchange program at Aalto University. Her main research included “Developing a Citizen-Centric e-government model for Effective Service Delivery in Namibia”. Karin has been working mainly on research around e-government, m-government and ICT for development, such as the Fusion Grid (FG) project. The FG has extended digital transformation to Namibian rural areas, while providing electricity, connectivity and digital services to sparsely populated and under-served but developing areas. With electricity and Internet access, education, work and business activities can then develop further and expand.  Her current research continues with a new project called “Smart City Center of Excellency - FINEST TWINS

  • Dr. Sumita Sharma

Sumita is a post-doc researcher at the INTERACT Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland. Her research focuses on digital and social inclusion of children through technology design, use, access, and up-skilling, working with neurotypical children in schools, children living in urban slums, children with special needs, and children in remote communities. She is interested in studying how to overcome socio-cultural barriers towards empowerment of children and designing ethical and fair technologies and technologies of the future for and by children. Her research interests also include accessibility, ethical AI, design futuring, and HCI4D.

  • Prof. Nitin Sawhney (co-host)

Nitin Sawhney is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Computer Science at Aalto University. As a human-centered design researcher he examines the critical role of technology, civic media, and urban interventions in crisis and contested spaces.  He has co-directed two documentary films, Flying Paper, an award-winning film supported by National Geographic, about culture of kite-flying among children in Gaza despite the war, and Zona Intervenida, a performance-based documentary dealing with the historical memory of genocide in Guatemala.  At Aalto University, Nitin has embarked on a collaborative research project with THL on Reconstructing Crisis Narratives, supported by a 3-year grant from the Academy of Finland.

  • Caterina Soldano (Host)

Caterina Soldano is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering at Aalto University. Her current research area focuses on organic light emitting materials and devices to be exploited for next-generation electronics for flexible and wearable applications. She holds a MSc degree in Physics from University of Bari (Italy) and a MSc/PhD in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY, USA). Before joining Aalto University in 2019, Caterina has worked as a researcher in Italy, US and France, both in academic and R&D environments. In 2016 she has received the Innovation Award as Best Italian Woman Innovator (ITWIIN2016) for her work on “innovative organic materials for electronics & display applications” sponsored by Italian Women Inventors & Innovators Association.


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