Research projects 91

The designation of protected areas and of regions of special conservation interest has gained due relevance across the globe, particularly in the past three decades. Territories covered by protected areas are steadily expanding. Within this framework, numerous international strategies define the importance of Capacity Building and Training as the key challenge of the 21st century. The Training Masters in Ecosystem Services Management in Protected Areas (ECOSERVE) aims at developing an innovative practice-oriented MSc programme according to Bologna criteria in the field of protected areas management, and at meeting sustainable development and labour market needs through networking activities. ECOSERVE will be a qualitatively new MSc programme implemented in higher education institutions of the Russian Federation and Mongolia, strengthening their educational partnership with non-academic partners in the field of protected areas management and responding to demands for professionals of public services, private service providers and tourism businesses. It will contribute to adapt land management strategies to the actual changing natural drivers, such as climate, in alignment with global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The program knowledge base, materials and courses in Russian, Mongolian and English, will be continuously updated and disseminated through a network of resources centres of protected areas in Partner country HEIs, promoting inter-regional cooperation in environmental protection, nature and biodiversity conservation issues, and management.

Team

Cristina Vega

MAKUTANO - means "gathering" in Swahili. The MAKUTANO research project aims to develop appropriate and new methodological and theoretical approaches for environmental collaboration and conflict resolution to be used in Tanzania and elsewhere. The action research approach will be used to find out if urban forest owners influence forest governance, and induce local conflicts over resource utilization. The project provides skills on environmental collaboration and conflict resolution to a group of small- and medium-scale forest owners and local community members in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, and traces how these skills are transformed and used in the future actions of these forest owners and the surrounding communities. The project is funded by the Develop Academy Programme (2019-2022), which is a programme jointly prepared by the Academy of Finland and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. In many developing countries, there has been a transfer of public and open access land to private use. In the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, the promotion of small-scale private plantation forestry has attracted domestic investors to capture this new resource frontier to meet the increasing demand for timber. This has further increased land value and consequently also land related disputes. The main objective of MAKUTANO research project is to study skills on environmental collaboration and conflict resolution methods among a group of forest owners and local community members in Southern Highlands, and to trace how these skills are transformed and used in the future actions of these forest owners and the surrounding communities. The research idea has emerged from Tanzanian small scale forest owners. The project outcomes may influence Tanzanian-Finnish collaboration by promoting social safeguards to mitigate unexpected impacts of plantation forestry. The research collaboration involves international partners from Tanzania, Kenya, Mexico and Denmark.

Team

Irmeli Mustalahti, Antti Erkkilä, Ida Herdieckerhoff, Aristarik H. Maro, Ubaldus J. Tumaini, Tuyeni Heita Mwampamba, Mara I. Hernández Estrada

  • Head of research Gutu Olana Wayessa
  • Language n/a

Large-scale land deals are among the most challenging development issues of today. They have attracted considerable attention for various reasons, including their implications for environmental justice and changes in local livelihoods. This phenomenon, also known as "land grabbing," is a significant driver of environmental change globally and, locally, it prompts a substantial reconfiguration of access to land and land-based social relations. While proponents frame the phenomena as a development opportunity, encompassing improvement in the livelihoods of local people, opponents counter-frame it as an impoverishing scheme. In Ethiopia, which is a primary target for large-scale land acquisitions, land is a major resource for state control and foreign direct investment. As the foundation of their livelihoods and anchor of their identity, it is simultaneously a vital resource for the local people. Many studies have indicated the adverse consequences of large-scale land transfers in terms of both procedural imperatives and outcome indicators. However, there is limited research that compares its processes and outcomes among countries characterized by different political histories, land policies, and state-society relations. In order to address this knowledge gap, this study attempts to answer questions of procedural justice (process) and distributive justice (outcome). Procedural justice is operationalized through the concepts of recognition, representation, and participation, whereas distributive justice relates to the (re)distribution of environmental benefits and burdens among stakeholders. The study applies a political-ecological approach as the overarching theoretical framework, complemented by analytical insights derived from recent advances in environmental justice conceptualizations. Methodologically, it will adopt a mixed-methods approach, involving the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection and analysis. Based on empirical evidence and contextualizing the local livelihood dynamics within broader structural and political-economic conditions, this study contributes to the ongoing debate on livelihood impacts and environmental justice implications of transnational land acquisitions.

Team

  • Head of research Jyrki Luukkanen
  • Language n/a

The project produces significant novel research-based information of the development of Cuban energy system and its potential future development paths in local and global socio-economic, political, technological and environmental context. The project builds on previous research work of the partner institutions and other research organisations. The research work is linked to Erasmus+ CRECE project, coordinated by the Finland Futures Research Centre.

Team

Jyrki Luukkanen, Burkhard Auffermann, Jari Kaivo-oja, Mika Korkeakoski, Noora Vähäkari, Tadhg O'Mahony

The Myanmar Energy and Environment Education (MEEE) project, coordinated by the Finland Futures Research Centre, directly contributes to the development of sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth in Myanmar by enhancing capacities of Myanmar partner institutions to provide quality education on environment and sustainable energy for growing societal and energy sector development needs. Myanmar is currently in a critical time in its energy transition. To be able to attract investors in the renewable energy sector and to re-investigate the government’s RE targets, enhancing access to energy and electrification, as well as reducing CO2 emissions and environmental pollution from fossil fuels there is a dire need for nationally grounded energy expertise.

Team

Mika Korkeakoski, Noora Vähäkari, Osku Haapasaari, Jyrki Luukkanen

The CRECE project, coordinated by the Finland Futures Research Centre, supports Cuba in the provision of regionally relevant multidisciplinary education in sustainable energy engineering and renewable energy development. This is done in order to ensure that Cuban higher education institutions (HEIs) are better equipped and able to provide high-quality experts for the ever-growing societal and energy sector development needs. The Cuban energy sector is undergoing a state-led transformation. So far, this “Energy Revolution” has improved energy efficiency but harnessing renewable energy (RE) resources is still lagging far behind. In order to attract investors, meet the government's RE targets, and reduce CO2 emissions and environmental pollution from fossil fuels, Cuba needs national expertise and experts in RE development. CRECE answers this call by training skilled experts and enabling cross-sectoral and regional cooperation possibilities. Cuban partners will be better equipped to conduct international-level energy related research and provide sustainable energy experts to the growing labour market needs.

Team

Noora Vähäkari, Mika Korkeakoski, Osku Haapasaari, Jyrki Luukkanen

  • Head of research Anu Kantele
  • Language n/a

Antibiotics have made it possible for people to live longer, healthier lives. Antimicrobial resistance, however, is an increasing problem, especially in low-resource settings. This project will employ a range of methods from microbiology, clinical medicine and sociology to produce new knowledge about how AMR genes spread especially in poor West African regions, in areas where local capacity to address AMR is lagging behind, and identify ways to curb the spread of AMR. This knowledge can be utilized in national and international health policy and medical research.

Team

Isidore Bonkoungou, Victorien Dougnon, Kaisa Haukka, Bourema Kouriba, Salla Sariola, Marko Virta

This research focuses on designing a smart learning environment (SLE) using virtual reality mini games to support students' computational thinking skills. Aside from enhancing the teaching and learning of CT, this research aims to support first-year students and novices of computer science with the opportunity to gain CT skills through an experiential learning approach. The goal of the research is to design and develop VR mini games through a rigorous process of the design science research methodology in order to provide artefact that allows students to learn CT concepts such as algorithmic thinking, recursive thinking, pattern recognition, and abstraction of problems. This research will measure students' learning achievement and cognitive benefits through a field experiment with first-year university students in Nigeria and Finland. Currently, we have developed a VR mini games application in the VR EdTech Lab located at the School of Computing, University of Eastern Finland. The mini games were co-designed with students from within Finland and abroad in order to achieve a student-centered learning environment. The research has produced over seven research papers published in ranked journals and conferences as shown in the link (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=mSqmwdgAAAAJ&hl=en). The research is being supervised by professors from the School of Computing, University of Finland, and Luleå University of Technology (LTU) Sweden. The professors are specialists in VR technology, educational games, and ICT4D.

Team

Professor Markku Tukiainen, Dr. Jarkko Suhonen, Dr. Solomon Oyelere, MSc. Friday Joseph Agbo

Emerging technologies such as affordable smart phones with 4G access, broadband internet, and interactive interfaces employing gestures or speech, are revolutionizing the ways we access information, learn new skills and interact with the world around us. However, developing world communities - who stand to benefit from such technologies - were, until recently, largely neglected. Interactive technologies provide a means to address learning challenges such as functional illiteracy and information access barriers, and can improve learning and education, health and wellbeing, and agricultural practices.

Team

Markku Turunen, Jaakko Hakulinen, Mikko Ruohonen, Sumita Sharma, Pekka Kallioniemi, Juhani Linna

LEAP4FNSSA is a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) whose main objective is to provide a tool for European and African institutions to engage in a Sustainable Partnership Platform for research and innovation on Food and Nutrition Security, and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA).

Team

Melissa Plath