Professor Anne Kovalainen and docent Seppo Poutanen from SWiPE have worked since August as visiting scholars at Harvard University in the United States. They were invited after an application process of the SCANCOR-Weatherhead partnership. Kovalainen and Poutanen work at the at Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA). Their visit now lasts until the end of 2018, but the alumnus connection to Harvard remains.
According to Anne and Seppo, doing research as a member of the Harvard academic community has been very interesting and rewarding, but also hectic. The cluster of several top universities in the Boston area offers a diverse programme. Currently, SCANCOR researchers of the Weatherhead Center are from Finland, Sweden and Norway, with a total of six people. Anne had already collaborated with WCFIA’s director, professor Michele Lamont under the NORFACE programme.
Anne and Seppo describe the Harvard atmosphere and activity as positively encouraging. Harvard is characterized by a strong spirit of warm sense of community. It is conveyed by the attitude of the administrative staff to new entrants, as in the seminar work of professors and scholars. At Harvard the multidisciplinarity requires the scientists to be truly educated and to have a diversified knowledge.
Anne and Seppo have also significantly promoted SWiPE research project at Harvard. The presentations and lectures held based on SWiPE themes have received positive feedback and, in particular, the multidisciplinary approach of SWiPE has been praised.
The limited spare time Anne and Seppo have used mostly to explore museums and walk on Harvard’s historic campus area and along the Charles river that flows through Cambridge and Boston.
Anne Kovalainen is the leader of SWiPE consortium.
Seppo Poutanen is the leader of SWiPE’s subproject of the University of Turku.