Grant from Kone Foundation

On the 3d of December, Kone Foundation announced the recipients of its 2020 grant call, and our research group received its largest grant for our new project FLOWISION.

“In the Changing “neighbournesses” of Finland funding programme’s now-ending, last thematic grant call, Sustainable Development, Russia, and Finland, the biggest grant went to Associate Professor in Russian Environmental Studies Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen and the FLOWISION consortium’s project. The project’s researchers, journalists, and documentary filmmakers are aiming to make the flows of energy and waste visible. In so doing, they say, it is possible to reveal the political dimension of resource flows and to compare practices in Finland, Russia and elsewhere.

“In the project we have also wanted to listen intently to petrocultures that are seen as detrimental for mitigating climate change, i.e. to the ways that using oil is part of society and of our way of living. Trump’s USA and Russia are examples of what, from a European viewpoint, are often seen as petrocultures. And yet 75% of EU energy consumption involves fossil fuels, i.e. is based on oil, gas and coal.

In energy-poor countries such as Finland imported energy is not visible in the same way as it is, for example, in Russia, where fossil-fuel energy is indigenous and where oil in many senses greases the wheels of society. Energy-related materialities are more visible there, and it is thus possible to view them from the perspective of political power, too.

Once the project has begun, we will carry one trying to listen to these positive signals in what is generally considered the ‘dark side’ of the energy sector. Such listening offers a possibility for making the dark side of petroculture brighter. We believe that listening to these signals can help us as we aim for an energy transition, i.e. when we try to replace fossil energy with renewables.”

Besides Tynkkynen, also involved in the project are: doctoral researchers Elena Gorbacheva, Sakari Höysniemi, Sohvi Kangasluoma, and Teemu Oivo, along with postdoc researchers Olga Dovbysh, Dmitry Yagodin, and Margarita Zavadskaya. Providing the artistic-journalistic component are photojournalist Touko Hujanen, journalist Johannes Roviomaa and documentary film director Niko Väistö. From the Russian side, the project will be joined by Dr. Olga Bychkova, Head of STS Center at the EU SPb, and a doctoral student.

Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen has been promoted to full professor

Our research group leader Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen has been awarded a full professorship by the Rector of Helsinki University. From the 1st of January 2021, Tynkkynen’s position will be Professor in Russian Environmental Studies.

Congratulations, Veli-Pekka, on this significant and well-deserved milestone!

Grant from Nordenskiöld-Samfundet

Our Doctoral Candidate Sohvi Kangasluoma got a grant for her dissertation from Nordenskiöld-Samfundet. Nordenskiöld-Samfundet is a society aimed at promoting geographical, scientific, and cultural-historical research on the archipelago. With the help of the grant, Sohvi Kangasluoma will continue to study the effect of the Arctic oil and gas industry on human security. Congratulations, Sohvi!

Karoliina Hurri got 2-year funding

Today the good news came that our PhD student Karoliina Hurri was awarded a two-year funding from Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation. The Foundation support research aimed at solving pressing environmental issues. In January they opened a call for continuation grants for researchers who had received the funding previously, and

The goal of the application cycle is to continue to offer research data to support public debate and decisions, and the foundation seeks to find more solutions to the most alarming changes in the climate as well as creating more ways of preventing them in the future, both at the individual and society level.

Karoliina Hurri got the one-year grant in 2018 and 2019 to work on her dissertation “The Construction of China’s Leadership Role in Climate Politics”, and we are very happy that she received now two more years of funding. Congratulations, Karoliina, and keep up the great work!

Sakari Höysniemi received Kone grant

Our PhD candidate Sakari Höysniemi received 1-year funding from Kone Foundation to finish his dissertation “Between security and sustainability: socio-technical investigations on the development of energy security in Finland”.

The grant was awarded to only 5,8% of the applicants, so we sincerely congratulate Sakari with this absolutely deserved achievement!

New project – Three year research grant from the University of Helsinki

Our colleague, Dr. Margarita Zavadskaya, was awarded with three-year research grant for her project “Electoral Malpractice, Cyber-security, and Political Consequences in Russia and Beyond (ElMaRB)”. The grants for three-year research projects are intended for promising researchers of the University of Helsinki. The funding is aimed at supporting future research leaders in gaining independency and in establishing a research group at the University of Helsinki. Our PhD student Elena Gorbacheva will join ElMaRB research project, together with another PhD candidate Eemil Mitikka.

The recent populist turn, the revival of nationalism, and the rise of ‘fake news’ in new and old democracies spurred a number of concerns in the academic and expert communities. Are existing democratic institutions fool-proof enough to protect societies from undermining citizens’ trust in political institutions and sliding back to a more authoritarian political set-up? Transparent and uncompromised elections still remain the essential feature of any democracy and serve as the major channel of selecting political leadership in advanced and new democracies. Over the last five years, the Russian government mastered the art of rigging domestic elections to such an extent that it has recently become a major ‘exporter’ of electoral malpractice elsewhere. The extensive use of mass media and internet-technologies has brought the spread of electoral malpractice to a new level, challenging the very trust in the credibility of electoral institutions in Russia and beyond. Electoral integrity has been challenged not just by intentional malpractice, unintended technological mishaps and public misperception of electoral processes transmitted by mass media.

The proposed three-years research project deals with the following research questions: does the information about compromised electoral integrity affect citizens’ trust in political institutions in post-communist countries? If so, does it lead to lower political participation? What affects political behavior stronger: the ‘objective’ quality of elections or public perception framed by mass media? What are the ways to prevent possible adverse political effects of electoral malpractice and, more specifically, negative imagining of elections in mass media? Expected outcomes include manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals in corresponding fields, creation of open-access datasets gathered in the course of the project and organizing annual research workshops to boost the University of Helsinki’s academic visibility.

Congratulations to Margarita and the group!

Dr. Sanna Kopra selected to visit European Commission’s Joint Research Centre site in Ispra

Dr. Sanna Kopra was invited to visit European Commission’s Joint Research Centre site in Ispra, Italy in November 2019 as one of the top young scientists in her field.

The Joint Research Centre site in Ispra is the third biggest site of the European Commission. Although established originally as a nuclear research site, the staff of the Ispra site work today both on non-nuclear (Sustainable Resources and Transport, Space, Security, Migration, Health and Consumer Protection, Energy, Efficiency and Climate Change, Growth & Innovation) as well as nuclear (Nuclear safeguards, Nonproliferation and Nuclear security) research.

The short visit includes lectures, a shadowing programme where the visiting young scientists are hosted individually by a scientific unit close to their field of expertise, visiting tour through some of JRC’s main laboratories.

Congratulations, Sanna, on this recognition of your talent!

Jussi Huotari moved to a new position as project manager at the “Barents Region Transportation and Logistics, BRTL” project

A member of our research group, PhD candidate Jussi Huotari was selected as project manager to Kolarctic CBC funded “Barents Region Transportation and Logistics, BRTL” project. The BRTL project focuses on producing and analysing timely information on the development of transportation corridors and logistical solutions from the regional perspective. It ponders around questions such as what is regional preparedness to adapt state-level climate targets and development of intelligent transport systems (ITS).

Source: Kainuun liitto

This is challenging but yet highly interesting project” says Huotari, “since we have 13 partner organizations from all four Barents region countries involved in the project, interests are multiple and diversified. On the other hand, the BRTL is a good test for Barents cooperation, particularly now when several states have announced ambitious climate policy goals, but the capacity and willingness to implement national climate targets in the regions varies a lot. As a project manager my goal is also to increase cooperation and dialogue between academia and public policy institutions since there is a strong demand for information in the regions. I also believe that fostering this kind of dialogue would benefit both regional authorities and universities. The project brings added value to my own research as it brings me closer to political processes at the practical level.

More information about the BRTL project.

Karoliina Hurri was awarded research grant for the second year of her study project

Our doctoral student Karoliina Hurri was awarded research grant for the second year of her study project, which investigates the construction of China’s Leadership role in international climate politics. The grant  is a follow-up to her 2018 “Climate, Change” –grant from the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation. The goal of the “Climate, Change” grants is to seek ways to provide research data to support public debate and decisions, and to find new solutions to the most alarming changes in the climate, as well as to create more ways of preventing them in the future, both at the individual and society level.

The Board’s grant decisions support several different areas of scientific research which aim to prevent the ongoing climate change, find ways of how to adapt to it or to clarify factors leading to global warming.

Congratulations, Karoliina!

Professor Tynkkynen became a member of the International Panel on Arctic Environmental Responsibility

Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen accepted a nomination as a member of the International Panel on Arctic Environmental Responsibility for the period 2018–2019. The panel is an independent body tasked with assessing the environmental status of oil, gas, and mining companies in the Arctic. It covers companies that are involved in resource extraction above the Arctic Circle in the circumpolar north: Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.

The purpose of panel is to promote higher environmental standards among companies involved in resource extraction in the Arctic. The results of the panel’s work will be published as an open-access ranking of companies.

Professor Tynkkynen has nominated as a Panel Member because of his expert knowledge in this field as a researcher and resident of a region affected by these industries.

More information on the Panel can be found here.