PROFI2: Human Mind in Changing World

Academy of Finland is supporting and strengthening strategic profiling of Finnish universities by providing competitive funding for plans targeted to improve conditions for high-quality, high-impact research. University of Helsinki managed to secure 10.5 M€ from the second profiling call (PROFI2) in 2016. In addition, the university is allocating a significant amount of core-funding into the selected profiling areas (estimate 40 M€ in 2017). This profiling exercise is a joint initiative between the faculties of Arts, Educational Sciences, Law, Medicine, Science, Social Sciences and Theology.

The grand theme for this call in University of Helsinki was "Human Mind in Changing World". This theme consists of five focus areas, which are:

  • Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities (HELDIG)
  • Learning in the Digital World (LEAD)
  • Global Law (GLAW)
  • Interdisciplinary Russian Studies (INTERRUS)
  • Behavioural Life Science (BLS)

These focus areas have several interconnections and developing them together offers significant synergy benefits for all of them. Digitalization is a leading issue cutting across all the areas.

HELDIG is a Finnish research network and infrastructure for solving research problems in humanities and social sciences with novel computational methods, and for studying digitalization as a phenomenon. HELDIG also supports education in Digital Humanities and application development.

Learning in the Digital World (LEAD) is the leading national multidisciplinary research centre on digital learning (DL). The University of Helsinki is the leading teacher education institute in Finland in terms of high-quality research, the competence of teacher educators and the infrastructure for TE. LEAD is a forerunner to the world on how digital resources will provide high added value to learning processes and outcomes.

Research groups and networks in UH working in the area

DigIT - Digital Learning and Work

Learning, Culture and Interventions

CICERO Learning Network

The Global Law (GLAW) profiling measure builds on existing research strengths of legal research in the University of Helsinki, which include:

  • International and European law
  • The increasing combination of dogmatic, comparative, empirical, theoretical and historical studies of law
  • Problem-oriented research carried out across both the traditional branches of law and the disciplines of science
  • The contribution of the critical analysis of law to the transfer of ideas, mutual learning and the overall development of the living conditions of people
  • The wide network of international partnerships in legal research.

In an interdependent world, law must be increasingly understood in a global legal, social, political and economic landscape. Issues arising from globalisation have radically challenged legal science and practices. The aim is to involve GLAW more actively in the resolution of global problems and global conflict resolution. More information about GLAW.

Some initiatives and research networks in the Faculty of Law:

Legal Tech Lab

Finnish China Law Center

Expertise in Russian studies is of utmost strategic importance for political, security, economic and ecological reasons, not only for Finland but also globally. Russian studies are one of the very few areas of research where Finland, the UH, in particular, is one of the “great powers” in the world, both in terms of cutting-edge research and the absolute number of researchers. UH researchers have also been exceptionally visible and influential in societal outreach, with high media visibility, top-level policy briefing and innovative dissemination as examples of this. 

Some of the main objectives of INTERRUS are: 

  • To become the world’s leading centre in Russian studies, set apart from other centres by being interdisciplinary, covering all strategic areas of research and creating a new knowledge hub in data and methodology
  • To provide cutting-edge research on the development of today’s Russia
  • To continue innovative and active societal outreach in Finland and to launch this outreach in Europe
  • To create a new form of interdisciplinary, high-visibility cooperation joins two leading fields at the University of Helsinki – Russian Studies and Atmospheric Sciences, and offers groundbreaking research on climate change, Russia, and the links between environmental and societal change.

More information about Russian studies in Aleksanteri Institute and about Pan-Eurasian PEEX climate change study.

The profiling measure Behavioural Life Science (BLS) strengthens the already strong BLS research profile of psychology at the University of Helsinki. UH Psych’s research focuses on the neural, molecular and biological basis of human behaviour. Its relocation to the Faculty of Medicine will sharpen the research focus and bring new methodological expertise to UH Psych, e.g. by facilitating BLS research in patients and clients of the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District and enabling coordinated, cost-effective use of the existing research infrastructure like brain research equipment and biobanks. 

More about the Department of Psychology and Logopedics and research areas.

A distinguished Scientific Advisory Board of PROFI2.

  • Professor Alena Ledeneva, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, UK
  • Professor Joxerramon Bengoetxea, Institute for the Sociology of Law, Universidad del País Vasco / University of the Basque Country
  • Professor Marcia Linn, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
  • Professor Mia Lövheim, Department of Theology, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Professor Sandra Braman, Department of Communication, Texas A&M University, TX, USA
  • Senior Research Scientist Sihem Amer Yahia, Centre National de Recherche scientifique, Laboratoire d'Informatique de Grenoble, France