Master's Award Ceremony Celebrates Nina Koulumies-Simberg!

February 21, 2022

Master’s Award 2021 was announced last week during the Development Days Conference. The winning thesis by Nina Koulumies-Simberg was applauded by the Award Committee for its diverse research data and critical political economy approach.

The Finnish Society for Development Research (FSDR) and UniPID handed out the Master's Award in Development Studies 2021 on 18 February 2022 in a ceremony organized in conjunction with the Development Days Conference.

The Award Committee Chair, professor Liisa Laakso, presented the winner and the three honorary mentions in an online ceremony. Laakso praised the high quality of all theses from a selection of very accomplished texts. Laakso was happy to announce Nina Simberg-Koulumies as the winner of the Master’s Award 2021, and to give honorary mentions to Hannin Alnimri, Saana Hokkanen and Linda Lammensalo.

According to the Award Committee Chair, the winning thesis by Nina Simberg-Koulumies on the potential of renewable energy to tackle issues of development, sustainability and equality in the Global South is relevant for contemporary international development work, energy and climate policy and biodiversity issues. Simberg-Koulumies’ thesis is an empirical case study that focuses on Africa’s largest wind power plant, the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project, which is supported by the Government of Finland, among others. In her thesis, Simberg-Koulumies shows that the inclusion of the concerns and needs of local communities for sustainable development is not concomitant with the dominant discourses on the project and calls for alternative approaches to design just sustainabilities that are sensitive to the local needs, such as those related to land.

Nina Simberg-Koulumies delivered a short speech offering insights into the ideas behind her thesis. Simberg-Koulumies wanted to find a concrete example of potential clashes between sustainable energy transformation and equality to identify shortcomings of dominant economics theories that guide today’s development talk. In her speech, Simberg-Koulumies also thanked her interviewees as well as all who supported her during the time of writing the thesis.

Since the award was not handed out in 2020, theses completed during the past two years were eligible for the award. In total, UniPID and the FSDR received 23 submissions to the Master’s Award 2021 competition, representing a wide range of disciplines and six different UniPID member universities. The Award Committee chose one to be granted as the winner of Master’s Award and three to be recognized with honorary mentions.

UniPID and FSDR would like to express their gratitude for the Award Committee chair Liisa Laakso, Professor emerita Marja Järvelä and Senior Adviser Martti Eirola for their important work for the Master’s Award. In addition, the preliminary selection committee, consisting of Tiina Seppälä, Katriina Huttunen, Saila-Maria Saaristo, Irina Levchuck, Omotomilola Ikotun and Christopher Chagnon, are also thanked for their evaluation work.

Master's Award in Development Studies

The Finnish Master's Award in Development Studies has been granted annually by UniPID and FSDR since 2012. The aim of the award is to promote and celebrate interdisciplinary studies and research related to global development. Read more here:

Photo credits: Bozhin Karaivanov, 2022 on Unsplash