Calls

Call for Proposals to Support the Helsinki ICT Community2018-09-29T11:17:21+00:00

Call for Proposals to Support the Helsinki ICT Community

In these calls, we wish to support initiatives that support HIIT’s mission. The next deadlines are 25.10.2018 and 7.12.2018.

In these calls, we are looking for proposals related to following activities:

  • events – organization of events
  • collaboration – initiating new university-company, cross-university and/or multi-disciplinary scientific collaboration
  • recruitment of postdocs – inviting potential talented postdoc candidates to visit Finland
  • visit abroad – sponsoring of longer research visits abroad
  • career – boosting the career of highly successful doctoral students

The idea is that in these open calls the target is to support activities with clear added value and high potential impact, in cases where no existing funding instrument is easily available or the available funding is not sufficient.

In case you have an excellent idea that you feel does not fit well to any of the categories below, please send email to Patrik Floréen.

Note that this call is NOT limited to the HIIT research programmes, but OPEN to the whole Helsinki ICT community, defined for this purpose as the HICT network: the main applicant / contact person needs to be listed as a HICT supervisor at www.hict.fi/supervisors. Younger researchers or even students are encouraged to apply (when applicable), and listed as co-applicants, as long as their supervisor / the main applicant is a member of HICT. Please make sure that the main applicant is informed, as the main applicant will be the contact person, also responsible for the reporting.

Prepare your application online via Webropol

Call target

The mission of HIIT is to enhance the quality, visibility and impact of research on information technology, and we are looking for initiatives that support this mission. Our longer-term (over one year) commitments are channeled through postdoctoral researcher positions in the strategic HIIT research programmes; in this call we focus on shorter-term funding and support activities that take place during the calendar year of 2018 – these activities may continue even further in the future, but the requested funding needs to be spent by the end of this year (31.12.2018). Activities to be funded may have started earlier, before submitting a funding request. We expect typical funding requests to be between 1.000 and 20.000 euros (with the lower end for example for sponsoring a workshop, and higher end for funding MSc thesis work (e.g., a few person months) on a topic supporting new collaborative research. In exceptional cases, we may consider even larger grants.

Decision criteria

As already stated above, the objective of HIIT is to enhance the quality, visibility and impact of the Helsinki region research on information technology, so successful applications are expected to clearly support one or more of these objectives. In addition, as a joint research institute of Aalto University and University of Helsinki, priority is given to applications initiating or enhancing collaboration between the two universities, supporting common focus areas in ICT and the strategies of both universities, and demonstrating clear added value by supporting activities that might not take place without this support.

There is no restriction on the number of the proposals a professor can submit, but in the funding decisions, we may also consider the overall balance between the various fields of ICT (in Helsinki).

Decision process

The funding decisions are made by the HIIT Steering Group, which has meetings once per month. Applications should be sent at least one week in advance.

Funding categories

EVENTS – Support for organizing of events

  • The target of this funding category is to provide support for organizing workshops, conferences, hackathons, bootcamps, summer schools or other events in Finland or abroad. In the application, please explain who is the targeted audience, how you plan to market your event, and how this event will increase the visibility, impact or quality of Helsinki ICT. In marketing, HIIT expects to be acknowledged for sponsoring the event. The event may take place abroad, for example, as a satellite workshop of a major conference, but the main applicant needs to be a HICT supervisor, and in charge of the organization of the event. HIIT provides typically only partial support (e.g., covering traveling expenses of one or two invited speakers). In addition to financial support, we can also help in acquiring a “university neutral” web site for the event (under www.hiit.fi), if the event is jointly organized by the two universities, and the organizers do not wish to use the default web templates of Aalto or University of Helsinki. HIIT currently does not maintain its own administrative staff, so the practical arrangements need to be handled by the applicants themselves together with their local service organizations.

COLLABORATION – Support for initiating new university-company, cross-university and/or multi-disciplinary scientific collaboration

  • HIIT is willing to support new research initiatives that involve at least two research groups interested in common potentially high-impact research challenges that require collaboration of several research groups. Such collaboration is often multi-disciplinary and cross-university: strengthening collaboration within a single department is not totally out of the picture, but not our first priority. However, note that the proposals do NOT have to include research groups both from the Aalto and UH CS departments: for example, new collaboration between an Aalto CS professor and another professor at University of Helsinki (not necessarily CS), or perhaps another school in Aalto, makes a good candidate for this funding. Concretely, such an initiative could be, for example, funding for a MSc thesis work supervised by a HICT professor, on a multidisciplinary topic agreed upon with the new potential collaborator (and utilizing their expert knowledge or data).
  • HIIT is also willing to support new research initiatives that involve on the one hand one or several research groups in Aalto University or University of Helsinki and on the other hand one or several companies or public organizations. Please note that it says “university-company” in the headline to be short, but the counterpart can also be public organizations. The objective of these new research initiatives is to explore grounds for further collaboration. Ideally, this would be a seed for planning a new research project, which would seek separate external funding.
  • Visits abroad are generally not supported by this instrument, unless the visit is directly linked to a concrete project proposal: for example, travel funding related to planning of a new EU project proposal is OK (but the purpose of the trip has to be clearly explained in the application).

RECRUITMENT OF POSTDOCS – Support for inviting potential talented postdoc candidates to visit Finland

  • Recruitment of talented postdoctoral researchers is one of the key elements in advancing HIIT’s mission. HIIT coordinates joint postdoc calls twice a year, but in addition to the regular calls, we now launch a new continuous call for inviting especially talented postdoctoral candidates to pay a visit to Helsinki/Espoo. The idea: in case you meet a person you think would be an excellent candidate for a postdoc position, but no suitable call is open at the moment, you can invite such a person for a short site visit, and HIIT can cover the expenses provided that the following requirements are fulfilled:
    • The candidate is truly exceptional, and would strengthen the Helsinki ICT community
    • The candidate is looking for a postdoctoral position
    • The candidate is willing to give a guest lecture both in Otaniemi and in Kumpula
    • The visit program and the candidate’s CV are planned and publicly announced well before the visit
    • The candidate can be interviewed by any member of the Helsinki ICT community
    • If several parties are interested in making an offer, the candidate is informed jointly of all the available possibilities, and the candidate will decide with whom to start negotiations
  • The inviting host is responsible of all the practical arrangements (including arranging meetings with other professors willing to interview the visitor).

VISIT ABROAD – Support for longer research visits abroad

  • Researcher visits to high-profile universities or other organizations can be beneficial for increasing the visibility, impact or quality of Helsinki ICT, but the expenses of such visits are often quite high, and funding is typically divided among several funding organizations. HIIT will not cover all the travel expenses of such visits, but can be one of the sponsoring organizations.

CAREER – Boosting the career of highly successful doctoral students

  • In some cases, the last stage of doctoral studies can be somewhat problematic, as the student may have submitted the thesis already for pre-examination, and would be willing to move on in his/her career, but the funding project may “lock” the student in the old research themes and physically in Finland, while getting experiences of new environments and ideas might be better for the student at this stage of the career (and make his/her CV stronger). Moreover, the incentive to finish the PhD as early as possible is not a very good one, if it just means early termination of the contract of the student. To alleviate these problems, HIIT can provide short-term (1-6 months) “bridge funding” for selected students who have shown excellent progress in their studies, and would like to spend some time before defending the thesis in another organization (typically, a foreign university or research organization). The student may even graduate before or during the HIIT-funded period, in which case the funding provides a possibility for a short “pilot postdoc period” that may help in acquiring the actual postdoc position.
  • The main applicant is the HICT supervisor of the student, and the application clearly needs to explain the details of the planned visits. We only consider students whose track record is excellent and who finish the PhD in less than 4 years. In addition to completing the application, please email the summary of the track record of the student (incl. CV and list of completed courses) to Patrik Floréen. Please also indicate the start date of the doctoral studies and leave of absence periods. Estimate when the doctoral studies will be completed.

Prepare your application online via Webropol

HIIT activities handled outside of this call

The items below are just let you know of recent developments and to remind you of other activities currently supported by HIIT.

MSc student rotation program

HIIT wishes to support cross-university rotation of research-oriented MSc students. The implementation of these activities will be planned together with the new rotation programs that are currently being discussed both in Otaniemi and Kumpula.

Helsinki Distinguished Lecture Series

HIIT is coordinating a high-profile lecture series on Future Information Technologies, see https://www.hiit.fi/HelsinkiITLectures. The idea is not to run yet another series of scientific guest lectures, but to attract a more versatile audience and focus on highlighting the research challenges and solutions faced by current and future information technology, as seen by the internationally leading experts in the field. An ideal candidate is an esteemed visionary with an academic background (e.g., the CTO of an IT company, or a university professor with high societal or industrial impact). If you have a suitable candidate in mind, please contact the coordinator of the Lecture Series, Giulio Jacucci. Never initiate discussions with a potential candidate without consulting Giulio first. The final funding decisions will be made by the HIIT steering group.

Joint calls for doctoral student recruitment and evaluation

HIIT organizes through the HICT doctoral education network twice a year a recruitment and evaluation process, with the target to encourage talented students to apply for a doctoral student position in the hosting universities. The reviews produced during the evaluation process can also be used for making decisions about available doctoral student funding. The contact person regarding these activities is Aija Kukkala, email: hict-apply@hiit.fi.

Joint calls for recruitment of postdoctoral researchers and research fellows

HIIT coordinates joint recruitment activities postdoctoral positions, regardless of the funding source. The goal is to increase our international visibility though jointly organized marketing and evaluation processes. We aim to organize the calls twice a year.

Contact person: Patrik Floréen

Recent supported activities

ICER 2018 Conference in Espoo

ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research (ICER 2018) was organised in Espoo on August 13-15. The conference started with co-located workshops and Doctoral Consortium (DC) on Sunday 12th. A total of 127 participants from 18 difference countries attended the main conference between Monday and Wednesday. In addition, there was a Works in Progress workshop held right after the Conference, providing participants with an opportunity to gain critical and in-depth feedback on their research ideas or projects.

ICER 2018 provided a forum for presenting and publishing high-quality research in computing education. The main focus was computing education in higher education level, but research in K-12 level was also presented. Research foci were diverse covering aspects such as teaching and learning methods, software tools supporting learning, topical misconceptions, recruitment and students’ background factors, career tracks and teachers.

The conference was designed to encourage authors and audience to engage in lively discussion about each work presented. The 28 accepted research papers provided the main focus of the conference. However, the submission categories allowed for different types of participation, supporting work at different levels ranging from formative work to a completed research study. Students accepted for the doctoral consortium participated in an all-day workshop conducted by prominent leaders in the computing education research community, and presented their work at the conference in a dedicated poster session. In addition, ICER 2018 offered a track for lightning talks, 3-minute presentations that articulate an idea for a research study, provided an update on current research, or invited collaborators. The keynote speaker at the conference was Kirsti Lonka from the University of Helsinki. Her keynote addressed “Growing minds – 21st century competences and digitalisation among Finnish youth?”

StanCon 2018 Conference in Helsinki

StanCon 2018 was oganised in Helsinki on August 29-31. Stan is a probabilistic programming and statistical modeling language used by tens of thousands of scientists, engineers, and other researchers for statistical modeling, data analysis, and prediction. StanCon 2018 consisted of one day of tutorials and two days of talks, open discussions, and statistical modeling. 271 participants from all 0ver the world attended the conference.

StanCon introduced cutting-edge methods and applications for statistical modelling – ranging from galaxy clusters to social media, brain research, and anthropology. In Finland, AI research is particularly strong in the field of medicine.

“Statistical modeling can be used, for example, to improve the safety of drug testing in children. The time it takes for a child’s body to metabolise a drug depends not only on the weight of the child, but also on the ability of the liver to process the drug. The dosage size of the drug should, then, be reduced more than the weight alone would suggest. Modelling methods can be used to evaluate the effects of drugs on an individual level,” says Professor Aki Vehtari of Aalto University.

One of the keynote speakers at the conference, Maggie Lieu, a researcher at the European Space Agency, uses statistical modeling to determine the mass of galaxy clusters. “Hierarchical modeling has several advantages when there are millions of variables and a lot of noisy data in space. Using modelling, I can get meaningful results in up to ten minutes and study clusters of galaxies in one go instead of a single galaxy group at a time.”

Elements of collaborative economy introduced to Aalto’s design management courses

Thinking of a course as a collaborative economy leads to new ways of keeping track of the contributions of students. “Inside the course, master’s level students will be able to take part in many projects and do daily evaluation of other students that they have worked with” says Jenni Huttunen. Students can contribute by working, helping or reusing knowledge, material or contribution that others have made. Besides being motivating to the students, monitoring the data is helpful for the teaching staff, enabling them to have a more detailed understanding of the work of each student. Evaluation can be more dependent on peer-reviews than before.

The planned collaborative setting would be different from the group work we see today in Aalto. The objective is to promote a collaborative economy style of working where each student would be free to contribute to many projects, not just the one their designated team is working on.

The collaborative economy idea will be introduced on two courses of Neppi – Networked Partnering and Product Innovation: design and technology. The Neppi courses will be part of Aalto’s International Design Business Management curriculum in 2018 and will welcome students from other disciplines.

The digital solution is based on the idea that by promoting sharing of information and skills freely, a course accumulates more “revenue”, such as better learning and thus most likely, better products. Therefore the solution should lower the barriers between groups and disciplines, and promote knowledge sharing, which is not an easy task. The idea phase solution was realised by Raffaella Tran as part of her diploma project. The objective was to capture the initial ideas to a concrete form in order for them to be evaluated and co-developed further. The project is currently looking for co-developers interested in collaborative economy and education development. The working group has been happy to see there has been some initial interest in using the app on other workshop style courses also.

Models of drug behaviour in adults can be recalibrated for children

Eero Siivola recently returned from a 3 month research visit to Novartis, Switzerland. The visit was a part of a collaboration project between Novartis and Aalto. During the visit, Eero and his collaborators studied how non-parametric regression methods can be used to find out how a model describing drug behaviour in a body differs between adults and kids. The studied method was tested with real medical data and the early stage results are promising. The collaboration continues after the visit and the aim is to publish the results in the form of a journal article.

Summer Institute in Computational Social Science Organised in Helsinki

Summer Institute in Computational Social Science(SICSS) was organised at Duke University by Matthew Salganik and Chris Bail. However, around the globe, in New York, Chicago, Cape Town, Seattle and Boulder – and Helsinki – alumna of the previous SICSS organised satellite locations: places for their local community to support learning and increase skills for both social scientists and computer scientists in this new emerging multidisciplinary field.

During the first week, at the SICSS Helsinki partner site, we have discussed and worked on research ethics, automated data collection and machine learning techniques for social science research. The instruction included materials developed by Matthew and Chris as well as materials developed by the SICSS Helsinki organiser team: Matti Nelimarkka, Juho Pääkkönen and Pihla Toivanen, all from Aalto University. Furthermore, they followed and discussed video lectures from other SICSS sites, including David Lazer and Duncan Watts.

“The goal of this first week is to get everyone up to speed with skills like coding and data-analysis, but also think how these novel methods and approaches relate and extend the existing theories and background of social sciences. This problem demonstrates the interdisciplinary nature of computational social science as a field.” says Matti Nelimarkka, the lead organiser.

The second week group work projects reflect on how computational social science research and approaches can be used to study various social and computer science questions. The four groups focused on versatile topics. One of them conducted a methodological investigation of computational methods themselves by comparing unsupervised methods and traditional qualitative methods. Another group utilised computational methods to address methodological problems in psychology and survey questionnaires. Other groups focused on more empirical investigations: how does opinion change occur – a traditional question asked by communication and media studies people and political scientists. We also had a group which focused on addressing fairness through survey mechanics and algorithmic investigations.

This article is based on previous blog posts at Rajapinta-blog.

We thank the generous financial support from the Russell Sage Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as well as from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT, which allowed organisation of this event.

Collaboration in Computer Vision with ETH Zürich

Determining correspondences in images of a scene plays a key role in many computer vision applications. Starting from December 2017, Iaroslav Melekhov made a 4-month research visit to the Computer Vision and Geometry group (CVG) at ETH Zürich and worked on this challenging problem under the supervision of Dr. Torsten Sattler. The CVG group is part of the Institute for Visual Computing that focuses on computer vision with a particular focus on geometric aspects.

The visit gave Melekhov an opportunity to interact with some of the leading researchers in the field. The collaboration resulted in a joint paper, which will be included in Melekhov’s PhD thesis. Moreover, new connections with ETH researchers were established, creating opportunities for further collaboration in the future.

Iaroslav Melekhov’s research visit to ETH Zürich was supported by Aalto University and HIIT.

Continuous Experimentation Empowers Software Development Decisions

Software experiments, adapted from the scientific method, help to establish causation and give predictive power. One of the most popular forms of experiment, called A/B testing, has been used repeatedly by technology forerunners like Google, Facebook and Microsoft over the last two decades. In A/B testing, two different versions of software can be tested with different sets of users without them even noticing. For instance, an old version of the software vs. a new version with a slightly changed color of a button in the user interface can be delivered to users. The collected user data, e.g. user clicks can be used to determine which version performs better, and product development decisions can be made based on the results.

Sezin Yaman’s PhD work focuses on how software experiments can be used to support development decision-making. Towards the end of her PhD studies, she did an HIIT sponsored research visit to Mozilla Corporation in Silicon Valley, California, where she worked on the applications of her current PhD research findings. During her stay, she conducted interviews and observational studies in order to explore how running experiments in an engineering organization can feed into creating better products.

The Mozilla visit was the last task in Yaman’s PhD project, and it greatly benefited her research work and future plans. At the moment, she is working on finalising her dissertation at the Computer Science Department, University of Helsinki, to be completed in the upcoming autumn. After that, she is planning to further explore software experiments and development decision-making processes in Finnish software companies.

Di­gital Hu­man­it­ies in the Nor­dic Coun­tries 2018 Con­fer­ence

Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries 3rd Conference (DHN 2018) was organized at the University of Helsinki in March 7-9 2018. The conference, organized by HELDIG – the Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities, brought together over 300 researchers and practitioners of digital humanities. As the digital humanities as a field is a complex mixture of partially overlapping domains, such as humanities computing, multimodal cultural heritage, and digital culture studies, the conference attracted guests from a variety of disciplines in humanities, language technology, and computer science.

Themes for DHN 2018 were History, Cultural Heritage, Games and Future, selected to comply with local DH interests as well as current thinking about the DHN setting in an international context. The overarching theme for the conference was Open Science, emphasising the role of transparent and reproducible research practices, open dissemination of results, and new forms of collaboration, all greatly facilitated by digitalisation. Conference also included nine pre-conference workshops. Part of the conference was organized as a public event, Di­gital & Crit­ical Fri­day at Tiedekulma, which also included three Open Sci­ence themed work­shops.

Based on the feedback by almost a hundred participants, the conference was successful in its aim to bring people together and to function as a high-standard platform for presenting one’s digital humanities research. The conference also presented a rather new feature for humanities scholars of peer-reviewed publication ready presentation (that were also published in conference proceedings: http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-2084/). For a more detailed analysis of the composition of DHN2018, see: http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-2084/preface.pdf

More information on DHN 2018: http://heldig.fi/dhn-2018

Association of Digital Humanities in the Nordic countries (DHN): http://dig-hum-nord.eu

International collaboration on AI powered systems for mental health

Thanks to community support provided HIIT in 2017 a series of workshops and invited talks have initiated a collaboration on using AI for mental health in particular considering workplaces.

Invited talks included Professor Kai Vogeley, University of Cologne | UOC · Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, who gave a talk in December 2017 on Neural Mechanisms of Intersubjectivity – From “Detached” Cognitive to “Truly” Social Neuroscience.

A concrete outcome of a workshop by invitation held in August 2017 , has been joint supervision of a PhD candidate now sucecssfully admitted at the Faculty of Medicine in the area of conversational agents for menatl health , Isaac Moshe joint supervised by Niklas Ravaja professor of eHealth and wellbeing, Faculty of Medicine at UH, Professor Giuseppe Riccardi from the University of Trento, and Heleen Riper, PhD Professor eMental-Health/ clinical psychology.

These developments mark an important progress in interfaculty collaboration inside University of Helsinki and strong collaboration with important and recognised experts in Europe on applying advanced technologies for mental health.

Panagiotis Papapetrou Visited Aalto University in Spring 2018

Panagiotis Papapetrou was a visiting professor at the Department of Computer Science of Aalto University in March 2018. Panagiotis Papapetrou is a professor at the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences of Stockholm University, Sweden. During his visit professor Papapetrou gave a course in Aalto University, which was titled “Learning from electronic health records”. The course focused on recent research developments on the topics of representing and summarizing electronic health records as well as algorithms for predictive modeling of complex health data. In addition, professor Papapetrou collaborated with the group of Aristides Gionis on the problem developing novel algorithms for interpretable and actionable classification of time-series data. The visit of professor Papapetrou was co-funded by the Aalto University School of Science Institute (AScI) and the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT).

HIIT Sponsored CoSDEO Workshop on Usable Security

In an increasingly connected world where the distinction between digital and analog gradually blurs, security is of imminent importance. However, traditional schemes which rely on ever longer and frequently changed passwords and patterns are stretched to their limits (e.g. memorability and interface constraints). A new paradigm is required which stresses that that security is not an end in itself but that it has to provide at the same time usability. Such usable security has received increasing attention in industry and academia in recent years.

On March 19th 2018, the 6th CoSDEO Workshop on Usable Security (https://cosdeo.github.io/) will be conducted in conjunction with PerCom 2018 in Athens, Greece. With the support of an HIIT open call, Florian Alt (http://www.florian-alt.org/) from the group for Media Informatics at the University of Munich (LMU) could be won as a keynote speaker for the event. Florian is well known for his work in the field of Usable Privacy and Security, having proposed the SnapApp and SmudgeSafe applications which can mitigate shoulder surfing and smudge attacks on authentication systems. Florian will talk about ‘Ubiquitous Security – Challenges and Opportunities for Usable Security in the Ubicomp Age’.

In addition, the workshop features invited talks by former Helsinki University Postdoc Hien Truong (NEC, Germany) and Dawud Gordon (twosen.se), as well as an industry keynote by Jan Lühr (anderscore).

Helsinki February Workshop on Theory of Distributed Computing

20 researchers working in the area of distributed algorithms met in a HIIT-sponsored research workshop in Helsinki in February 2018. The one-week event organized at Aalto University brought together computer scientists from Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, and Switzerland, among them professors, postdoctoral researchers, and doctoral students.

A key theme of the workshop was advancing our understanding of what kind of tasks can be solved efficiently in very large computer networks and other distributed systems. The research area is rapidly progressing, and the workshop focused on exploring the boundaries of what is currently known, identifying the most important open questions, and developing algorithmic techniques and mathematical tools for solving them. The workshop has already initiated a new joint research project related to the use of computers to design distributed algorithms.

More information on the workshop is available at http://research.cs.aalto.fi/da/feb2018/

Collaboration with CNR IEIIT on Indoor Localization and Activity Recognition

Indoor localization and activity recognition from WiFi signals is a field of active research in Communication, Pervasive and Ubiquitous computing domains in recent years. Specifically, fluctuation in signal strength, phase and energy distribution over frequency domains can be used as environmental stimuli to sense location, presence, activities and gestures in the proximity of a wireless receiver such as, for instance, a wifi access point, smartphone or Internet of Things (IoT) devices. For instance, gestures can be observed from Doppler Shifts in a reflected signal, gait of a person moving towards a wireless receiver can be extracted from phase changes in the reflected signals, or even movements as tiny as breathing were visualized exploiting Fresnel effects between a transmitter-receiver pair. However, most of these studies have been conducted in controlled laboratory environments with low interference from the surroundings and with single subjects only. It is an open challenge to improve the robustness of these recognition protocols to work in realistic environments.

With the support of the HIIT open call, Sanaz Kianoush, a PostDoc researcher from CNR IEIIT was invited to visit Helsinki region and in particular Aalto University from 01.02.2018 through 21.02.2018. Sanaz Kianoush’s research interests include Localization in Wireless Sensor Networks, Low-complexity and Energy-efficient localization in Cognitive Radio Networks. Specifically, during her stay, she collaborated with researchers of the Department of Communications and Networking (ELEC, Aalto University) on Multi-antenna systems for device-free activity recognition, localization and counting.

The studies are still ongoing but good progress has been made on the recognition and tracking of gestures from multiple subjects simultaneously. The established research collaboration will be further strengthened in the upcoming months as the studies on the generated data and the design of recognition models is further progressing.

HIIT supports event about socio-technological innovation for the economy

Economy is undergoing a shift and needs new global and localised socio-technological interventions to accommodate the changes. To address the issue, a seminar “Blockchain Experiment Starting: Can local currency become new strength of Helsinki?” was held on 7 September 2017. The seminar brought together institutions, activists, researchers and citizens to think about the core challenges related to monetary system today. It was organised by ValueCraft coop together with the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister’s Office, with financial support from HIIT.

The morning talks presented a versatile array of views on economy. Many investigated the opportunities created by local, community and digital currencies in connections with emergent technologies such as blockchain or the obstacles on the way of complementary currency experiment in Finland. The keynote speech was given by Susana Martín Belmonte from Instituto de Moneda Social, Spain. The afternoon was dedicated to, see more information about the event.

The overall attitude towards the topic was enthusiastic, yet the scene for local and complementary currencies experiments seems challenging because of the heavy regulation involved. Moreover, even if the time seems right to think of the economy in alternative ways, multidisciplinary academic research would be of benefit.

As a follow-up, the new initiative Aalto Observatory got seed funding from the Aalto internal seed funding call for the year 2018. Aalto Observatory looks to build a multidisciplinary academic research node on new economy and complementary currencies first inside Aalto, secondly globally. Both, ValueCraft coop and Aalto Observatory will continue to work on projects in the domain of new and sharing economy, including complementary currency interventions. For more information on Valuecraft, please contact Pekka Nikander, and on Aalto Observatory Maria Joutsenvirta.