Academy of Finland awards Ville Kivimäki for social impact

Submitted on Fri, 02/16/2018 - 10:45
Ville Kivimäki (kuva: Jonne Renvall)
Postdoctoral Researcher Ville Kivimäki (photo: Jonne Renvall/University of Tampere)

The Academy of Finland presents awards each year to two outstanding and distinguished researchers. The 2017 Award for Social Impact was presented to Postdoctoral Researcher Ville Kivimäki from the University of Tampere and Award for Scientific Courage to Matti Jalasvuori from the University of Jyväskylä.

Kivimäki’s research deals with the social and cultural history of the Second World War and post-war emotional history in the Finnish context. Jalasvuori has conducted groundbreaking research into the development of virotherapy to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

The Academy of Finland Award for Social Impact is granted to a researcher who has significantly contributed to increasing public awareness of scientific research or the researcher’s job, inspired interest in science, actively contributed to public debate in society, or otherwise strengthened the role, application and impact of science and research in society.

The Academy of Finland Award for Scientific Courage is granted to a researcher who has shown exceptional scientific audacity, creativity or innovation in research. The Award can be granted for a novel or original research idea, for forward-looking work that cuts across scientific boundaries, or for a willingness to take risks in research.

The award ceremony was held on Thursday 15 February at the Academy of Finland in Helsinki.

Kivimäki brings the experiences of different generations closer together

Postdoctoral Researcher Ville Kivimäki (b. 1976) is a historian whose research has dealt with wartime social and cultural history and with the history of mental health and psychiatry.
Kivimäki’s research approach allows him to open discussion about topics in Finland’s history that have long been avoided, that have concerned many people and that may involve painful memories.

His studies have shed light on the hidden effects of war, thus bringing the experiences of different generations closer together. The better we understand how war affects individual people and society, the better we can grasp the consequences of violent conflicts in our own time.

Kivimäki’s research has been targeted at not only the scientific community but also the general public. He actively makes his research and historical data available to the public, and many of his publications are available in Finnish. The book Murtuneet mielet (‘broken minds’, only in Finnish), which was based on his doctoral dissertation was chosen as the history book of the year and won the Finlandia Prize for non-fiction in 2013.

Large audiences are interested in history

“Historians in particular have an audience also outside the scientific community. There’s a large, very civilised readership in Finland that’s interested in history research – whenever we organise public events on historical topics, they’re always packed to the rafters,” Kivimäki says.

“Together with this audience, historians engage in discussions about the relationship between the past and the present, and between the present and the future. Writing for this audience is as much the task of researchers as is writing for the international scientific community,” Kivimäki continues.
Although Kivimäki acknowledges that it is impossible to measure the value or significance of this discussion, in many topics the social impact of history research is born out of dialogue with the public.

Ville Kivimäki received his master’s degree in Finnish history in 2002 at the University of Joensuu and earned a doctoral degree in Nordic history in 2013 at Åbo Akademi University. He was a researcher at the University of Helsinki in 2012–2014 before transferring to the University of Tampere.

He currently has funding from the Academy of Finland for a Postdoctoral Research post at Tampere for 2016–2019. In 2017, he was appointed as an adjunct professor (docent) at Tampere. He also heads a team that is part of the Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences (2018–2025). He has been a visiting researcher at the University of Tübingen, Germany, at Yale University, USA, and at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Germany.

Encouragement through awards
This is the fifteenth time that the Academy of Finland Awards are presented. The recipients must be Academy Research Fellows or work as Academy-funded Postdoctoral Researchers. Nominations are submitted by the Academy’s research councils to the Academy Board, which makes the final decisions.
The purpose of the Awards is to recognise and encourage outstanding researchers with dynamic career prospects and to highlight goals and objectives the Academy finds important. The winners were presented with a mouth-blown ornament entitled “The Moment”, designed by Miia Liesegang.

For further information, please contact:
Postdoctoral Researcher Ville Kivimäki, tel. +358 50 432 8067,