The Academy of Finland grants funding in the field of culture and society

The Academy’s Research Council for Culture and Society has granted funding to four Aalto University’s projects.

Professor Sampsa Hyysalo’s project examines intermediary actors in energy transition. These actors mediate knowledge, know-how, technical solutions, and practices between consumers, energy producers, and public policy. They focus on household energy technologies and services in which intermediaries play an important role in creating markets for innovative solutions and changing towards low-carbon energy systems between centralised organisations and distributed consumers. The project addresses when and where intermediaries are particularly needed, what are good practices in intermediation, and how intermediary action should be organised in different circumstances.

Professor Marko Terviö’s research project asks why Nordic countries are among the most socially mobile of all the industrialised societies in the world and how this came to be the case. Many commentators and researchers have argued that the rise of the welfare state – particularly the democratisation of the education system and the increases in tax progressivity – gave rise to high levels of intergenerational mobility in these countries. The project provides a rigorous analysis of this hypothesis.

Professor Sami Torstila’s project concentrates on increasing understanding of the determinants of individual financial decisions, using both laboratory and field evidence. Such understanding can help solidify the foundation of economic theory and policymaking. Individual rationality is an assumption of most theories in financial economics. Also, when making policy and regulatory decisions concerning individual financial behavior, policy makers will usually assume that individuals react rationally. However, empirical research on the financial decisions of individuals has shown that this assumption often does not to hold.

Professor Jack Whalen’s (Aalto ARTS) project examines how user and citizen engagements get done in 21st century. It consist of six ethnographic case studies and their comparison to gain an in-depth open-ended view on both the mundane routine work of user engagement as well as the strategic aspects of user collaboration. User participation in design is no longer a fringe activity. Industry, the public sector and academia alike have begun to see users and citizens as important actors in various development activities. Reflecting this change, the current project seeks to bring about an international shift in the research orientation on collaborative design by moving from development of methods, procedures and methodologies to researching the factual deployment of collaborative design in real life projects.

The combined value of the funding received by Aalto University is slightly under 1.5 million euro. The Research Council received a total of 388 applications for Academy Project funding during the September 2014 call. The success rate was around 13%. The total funding granted by the Research Council within the Academy Project funding scheme amounts to nearly 24 million euro.

Academy Project funding is designed to further boost the international quality of Finnish research and to strengthen its creativity, capacity, and impact. The funding provides researchers with an opportunity to carry out scientifically ambitious research and make new advances. The projects will begin work in September, with funding provided for four years.

For more information see the Academy of Finland webpage (aka.fi)

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