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TAU gets three new Academy Research Fellows in social sciences and humanities

Published on 6.5.2022
Tampere University
viitekuvassa erilaisia tutkimusaloja
The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Culture and Society has granted funding for 23 new Academy Research Fellow posts. At Tampere University, the recipients are Cindy Kohtala, Anna Elomäki and Pia Vuolanto.


With the Academy Research Fellow funding, the Research Council aims to support talented mid-career researchers. In the funding decisions, the Council paid special attention to applicants whose research plans had combined high quality with strong academic and societal impact and scientific renewal.

This year, the Research Council’s total funding for Academy Research Fellows comes to nearly €10 million. The funding is granted for five years. In this round, the success rate for Academy Research Fellow applications was nearly 12%. Some of the funding decisions will be made later because of clarifications related to connections to and cooperation with Russia or Belarus. Women accounted for 70% of the grantees and 61% of the applicants.

Open-source sustainability

Cindy Kohtala’s project examines ‘open source’ designs and sustainable development. The project will investigate how active citizens are relocalising production and design subcultures marked by citizen participation, peer learning and the sharing of ‘open source’ solutions. Such actions are often called maker culture where the people are frontrunners offering alternative democratic and local activities for mass production and consumption.

The project will develop a novel approach that draws together science and technology studies and areas of design research to examine maker culture as it is develops and creates new infrastructures and realises visions of a “new industrial revolution”.

The study also supports makers in their quest for sustainable, post-capitalist futures, building their capacity through design interventions. The project helps makers in their efforts to decrease consumption as part of wider societal actions.

How EU’s economic governance affects equality and democracy

In her study, Anna Elomäki analyses the European Union’s economic governance in the member states, gendered politics, and undemocratic practices.

EU’s economic governance has pushed member states to budget discipline and welfare state restructuring and transferred power from the member states to the EU. Evidence suggests that gender equality and feminist knowledge have been neglected in these processes.

The project analyses the most central tool of economic governance, the European Semester, and its effects on gender equality in Finland, Austria, and Ireland in the 2010s and 2020s. The project investigates EU’s policy recommendations from a gender perspective and assesses how the recommendations have been drafted and implemented and whose voices are heard in the process. The study also asks how policy-making practices influence policy content and enable or hinder changing the content and institutions.

The project helps to understand the national-level impacts of EU’s economic governance, integrate the gender perspective in these processes and make them more democratic.

A study on the development of alternative medicine in six countries

Pia Vuolanto will conduct a comparative study on the development of complementary and alternative medicine as a research field.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a controversial issue that triggers heated debate in the media and among health care practitioners. The issue has become even more contentious as CAM aims to establish itself as a research field. Research centres for alternative therapies have been established in various countries and there is a flurry of publications in the field.

The project will compare the development and institutionalisation of CAM research in six countries (Germany, Finland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland) and produce research-based knowledge on the benefits and drawbacks of this development.

The aim is to help decision-makers at universities and in the research and health policy arena in different countries and the European Research Area evaluate whether it is advantageous that CAM research advances and gains resources or whether this development is detrimental and should be prevented.