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Nitin Sawhney receives an Academy of Finland grant for analyzing and reconstructing crisis narratives

Professor Sawhney hopes that his collaborative research will offer insights into how crisis narratives emerge in society during the global pandemic
Nitin Sawhney standing outdoors with his bike, green grass and trees on the background
Professor of Practice Nitin Sawhney. Photo: Matti Ahlgren / Aalto University

The Academy of Finland has granted special funding for research projects studying crisis preparedness and security of supply. One of the projects funded is by Professor of Practice Nitin Sawhney from the Department of Computer Science. He receives a three-year grant for his research focusing on analyzing and reconstructing crisis narratives.

Sawhney is conducting this research in collaboration with Jonas Sivelä from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). They will use qualitative research methods and computational data analytics of crisis discourses in news and social media for this project.
 
One aim of Sawhney and Sivelä is to design a platform that represents and visualizes information to engage decision-makers, front-line responders, stakeholders, and the general public in making sense of crises and perceptions of risk and trust.

Professor Sawhney says 'We hope this collaborative research with THL will offer us insights into how crisis narratives emerge in society to influence public anxieties and behaviors in the midst of a global pandemic, but also how we can improve risk communication strategies and cooperative models for crisis preparedness and response.'

According to Tua Huomo, the chair of the call’s subcommittee, the funded projects effectively represent both research related to system-level activities and the perspective of ordinary citizens. The projects implement interdisciplinary approaches in a particularly innovative way.

Huomo added: 'As we all know, our society can be affected by a number of surprising crises. The high-level projects funded under this call convince us that, with the help of science, we can find ways to solve even difficult issues.'

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