HSSH May Newsletter 5/2023

Recent news and upcoming events at HSSH – read more below and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter!


Third Academic leadership course concluded with a trip to Brussels


The third Academic leadership and career planning course (ACLA) concluded with a study trip to Brussels. A group of post-doc course participants, HSSH staff and university research support experts spent intensive three days learning about EU research policy and funding opportunities.

The ACLA course is targeted to post-doctoral researchers who are launching their independent researcher career after earning the PhD and building their own research group. ACLA workshop help researchers to develop their leaderships skills and strategic planning of research themes. Furthermore, the course provides help for planning research group and taking full use of the research services and infrastructure of the University of Helsinki. The third edition of the course convened during the academic year 2022-2023, coordinated by HSSH Director Risto Kunelius, Vice-Director Pekka Mäkelä and professor Kirsi Pyhältö from the Faculty of Educational Sciences.

Adriana Luna-Fabritius (PhD, Vice-President of the European Society for the History of Political Thougth) found ACLA as one of the most useful courses taken at the University of Helsinki.

“The best thing was to get in touch with course leaders and learn more about the possibilities of applications that we can do and how to become leaders of our own projects. I think it is very necessary for scholars in the University of Helsinki to understand better the number of possibilities that exist and understand that although the applications seem very complicated there is a team of professional people who will support you to take them forward,” Luna-Fabritius says.

“I think HSSH is doing an impressive job at encouraging creating new interdisciplinary groups and helping academics from the university who don't have permanent positions or who want to create their research group. From the point of view of university leadership, what they are doing is fundamental and I hope that it is aligned with the strategies and plans of the university.”

“I would recommend this course not only to PhD researchers, post-doctoral researchers but also to lecturers and young professors who want to take a more active role within the University of Helsinki.”

Adriana Luna-Fabritius hoped she could’ve learned more about HSSH as an organization, and its opportunities for collaboration and multidisciplinary projects. She sees that HSSH, as a new organization, can play a useful role in supporting a needed change in social sciences and humanities research.

”It would be great to know how HSSH’s leadership program is part of a broader University of Helsinki transformation. Change is indeed needed. For instance the University of Oslo launched a fascinating transformation project before the pandemic. They put the humanities at the centre of their multidisciplinary program. It is hopeful to think about the possibility of HSSH being one key axis through which the transformation of the university can and will take place. A high-impact transformation is needed and it can only come from a major leadership vision within the university. With the course, HSSH has created a space in which humanists and social scientists can certainly accommodate and collaborate,” she says.

The academic leadership and career planning course concluded with a study trip to Brussels, to learn about the opportunities for EU funding in the forthcoming 10 years. Adriana Luna-Fabritius thought the trip was useful and made her realise the complicated systems at the EU are not impenetrable and nothing is written in stone.

”I think that everything is solved there by lobbying. It is therefore essential that we make a presence on behalf of the University of Helsinki. Social sciences and humanities in particular seem to have a very marginal place in the landscape where lobbyists who work for their own interests. I think we have to keep engaging with these questions and try to understand how to increase universities’ power in Brussels. We met with people from two associations that are responsible for lobbying universities, but it is not yet evident to me how much impact their work has,” she says.

Senior Funding Advisors Vilma Hämäläinen and Sanna Villikka from University of Helsinki Research Funding Services joined the trip to Brussels with the participants of the course.

“The trip involved several beneficial meetings that also helped deepen my own understanding of how the EU works. However, the best part was getting to know the researchers. During the trip, there was time to talk personally about the course participant’s interests and contemplate the suitability of different EU funding instruments for their needs. At the same time, we were able to discuss the support we offer in research funding services for applying for funding,” Vilma Hämäläinen says.

Hämäläinen and Villikka are happy with the opportunity to join the study trip, though in the future they hope there will more comprehensive preparation for the trip in order to make the best of it.

”The structures of the EU and the funding field with its various institutions and acronyms constitute a really broad entity and getting acquainted with them takes time. A deep dive into these issues in advance allows the things learned on the trip to be put into context. It is also important that the experts we meet in Brussels are well aware of the target audience and their backgrounds - this way we can achieve the most fruitful discussion possible,” Hämäläinen says.

The academic leadership and career planning course will be offered again in the upcoming academic year 2023-2024. Applications will open soon!


Facets 3.85.1 licences at HSSH lending library


HSSH license lending library offers Centre Campus researchers an opportunity to use the program Facets (v. 3.85.1) free of charge for a limited period of time. Contact visajaani.salonen@helsinki.fi to borrow a license.


The Equality and Diversity Award of the University of Helsinki to Afristadi Research Network

Written by UH Communications


The Maikki Friberg Equality and Diversity Award is annually presented at the University of Helsinki to an individual or organization that has made significant achievements in promoting equality and diversity within the university. The award was granted to the Afristadi network.

Promoting equality and diversity and considering their significance are important values within the scientific community. The university's Equality and Diversity Committee, which presented the award, emphasized the importance of promoting equality in research work.

The Afristadi Research Network focuses on advancing interdisciplinary research and research collaboration related to Africa. The award was given as recognition of the network's efforts in promoting equality, diversity, and inclusivity within the scientific community. Friederike Lüpke, a professor within the network, expressed her appreciation for the recognition:

“I am extremely grateful for this award, which acknowledges Afristadi's commitment to promoting diversity and equality within our research community. We are proud that Afristadi succeeds in bringing topics related to Africa to the forefront at our university and in Finnish society, while also contributing to the representation of African researchers."

“We hope that this award further enhances the significance of African research, African perspectives, and the contributions of Africans to science and society," she added.

The key areas of operation for Afristadi are research, education, and interaction. The network aims to connect researchers specializing in Africa from various faculties, promote interdisciplinary research and innovative research questions, and provide a platform for cross-disciplinary research activities based on collaboration.

Additionally, Afristadi fosters high-quality and diverse education and collaboration with Finnish society. It offers researchers a platform for conducting interdisciplinary research and research activities in Africa and beyond, thereby promoting cross-disciplinary understanding of topics related to Africa.

The forum also contributes to the University of Helsinki’s Africa programme with insight from the social sciences and humanities. 

Read more about university`s Africa-programme.


Wrapping Up the 2022-2023 Brown Bag Seminar series: Back in September


After an engaging series of events, we have concluded our Brown Bag Seminar season for 2022-2023. We want to thank all participants and look forward to regrouping in September when we welcome a fresh line-up of guests for the 2023-2024 season.

In the Brown Bag Seminar tradition, this past year has brought us a diverse selection of acclaimed researchers, each providing us with insights into their areas of expertise, sparking discussions that have both informed and challenged our perspectives. We also want to thank our dedicated audience, for listening in and joining the discussions during each seminar.

As we take a summer hiatus, we look forward to reconvening in the autumn. Meanwhile, we wish everyone a great summer break, see you all soon – the seminars will continue in September!


9.6. Guest Talk by Jane Elliot: Constructing gender and understanding inequality in qualitative and quantitative research


Helsinki Inequality Initiative (INEQ) and Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities (HSSH) warmly welcome you to the guest talk by Professor Jane Elliott (University of Exeter): Constructing gender and understanding inequality in qualitative and quantitative research.

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies Lecture Hall (Fabianinkatu 24, 3rd floor) and online via Zoom on 9.6.2023 at 10:00-12:00 (UTC+3h, Finnish local time).

This talk will explore ways in which gender is constructed in both qualitative and quantitative research. It will draw on examples from a number of research projects including the longitudinal 1958 British Birth Cohort Study (which includes both qualitative and quantitative data on many thousands of individuals born in 1958) and the 2021 UK Census. Using insights from recent scholarship on Data Feminism, the talk will suggest ways in which we might disrupt taken for granted conceptions of gender by using mixed methods approaches. The difficulties of maintaining an interest in social justice, and combatting inequalities, while also arguing for an understanding of gender as relational and socially constructed will be a focus for discussion. Some of the practical challenges of using mixed methods approaches will also be addressed. 

Jane Elliott is a Professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Exeter. Before joining the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology in September 2017 she was the Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council (2014 – 2017). Prior to 2014 she was Professor of Sociology, and Head of the Department of Quantitative Social Sciences, at the Institute of Education, University of London. In this role she was also Director of the ESRC-funded Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) which manages the 1958, 1970 and Millennium Birth Cohort Studies and the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England. She has a longstanding interest in combining qualitative and quantitative methods of research and has been instrumental in collecting and making available qualitative material to complement the quantitative longitudinal data on the 1958 British Birth Cohort Study. 

Commentator: Docent Antero Olakivi, University Lecturer (Sociology, UH)

To participate, on-site or online, and receive access to the Zoom meeting, please register via E-form by 8 June.

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