Helsinki Science Award to Saana Svärd, Assistant Professor at the University of Helsinki. Photo: Mika Federley

Helsinki Science Award to Saana Svärd, Assistant Professor at the University of Helsinki

The City of Helsinki Science Award was awarded on Helsinki Day 12 June to Associate Professor Saana Svärd of the University of Helsinki. The value of the Science Award is EUR 10,000 and was awarded by Pia Pakarinen, Deputy Mayor for Education. The Helsinki Day awards were presented this year at the Helsinki Day’s Celebration, which can be viewed on the Helsinki-Kanava channel.

Saana Svärd is an Associate professor in Ancient Near Eastern studies and a docent in Assyriology. She is also docent in Middle Eastern Cultural History at the University of Turku. Her fields of research include digital human sciences, archaeology and Assyriology. Svärd heads the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires funded by the Academy of Finland.

Saana Svärd has studied historical phenomena based on initial language sources, such as cuneiform texts from the ancient Near East. With the help of the sources, she has studied, in particular, what can be inferred from the position of women in ancient Mesopotamia. Svärd has published several scientific articles on her research subjects, as well as two monographs, one of which, together with an international researcher, has been published by Cambridge University Press. In recent years, she has focused, in particular, on the development of digital human sciences in this field.

Saana Svärd is a director in the Doctoral Programme in History and Cultural Heritage and Language Studies at the University of Helsinki. She is active in the networks of her field and is, among other things, vice chairperson of the Foundation of the Finnish Institute in the Middle East and chairperson of the Finnish Oriental Society.

The purpose of the award is to strengthen Helsinki as a city of science

The purpose of the Helsinki Science Award, which has been given since 1996, is to strengthen and increase the recognition of Helsinki as a city of science.

The award is awarded in recognition of significant scientific work carried out by Helsinki residents or carried out in Helsinki.

A list of previous science awards. (In Finnish)

Helsinki awarded research grants for urban research

On Helsinki Day, the City of Helsinki awarded research grants to ten research projects totalling EUR 73,000.

The grants are intended for researchers with master's degrees, especially those who have completed licentiate research and doctoral dissertations. The grants also support newly defended postdoctoral researchers.

The basis for awarding the grant has been considered to be the scientific quality, feasibility and significance of the research area to the City of Helsinki.

The assessment has prioritised projects related to urbanisation development and its impacts, the urban economy and business conditions, the organisation and evaluation of services provided or ordered by the City of Helsinki, the return of the city from a social, economic and/or health crisis, and studies on Helsinki's living environment, well-being, history, everyday life and urban culture, including phenomena related to the city's vitality and internationalisation. In addition, it has been sought that several disciplines and research trends should be represented among the grant recipients.

The City of Helsinki’s research grant was awarded to the following applicants and research topics:

MSc Amiri Ali, Aalto University
The third wave of building construction materials – evaluating the impact of wooden buildings on the City of Helsinki

VTM Kohtamäki Ilari, University of Helsinki
Työn irtoaminen paikallisuudesta – pandemia ja kulttuurin murros hybridikaupungissa (Removing work from locality – pandemic and cultural transformation in a hybrid city)

Architect Meriläinen Sanna, Aalto University
Hyvää asumista? (Good housing?) Asuntojen tilaratkaisujen muutokset urbaanissa suomalaisessa asuntorakentamisessa vuosina 2000 - 2019 (Changes in housing space solutions in urban Finnish housing construction in 2000 - 2019)

M.Sc. Urban Design Motalaei Najmeh, Aalto University
The Effects of Public Art on the Quality of Contemporary Urban Spaces from a Multicultural Perspective in Helsinki

VTM Mäkinen Viivi, University of Helsinki
Nuorten myönteisten ulkoryhmäasenteiden tukeminen välilliseen kontaktiin perustuvien kouluinterventioiden avulla (Supporting young people's positive outdoor group attitudes through school interventions based on indirect contact)

FM Oittinen Riikka, University of Helsinki
Oppilaiden eriytyvät todellisuudet – etnografinen väitöskirjatutkimus kaupunkikoulun oppilaiden arkitodellisuuksien eriytymisestä segregaatioulottuvuuksien tasolla (Segregational realities of student – an ethnographic doctoral thesis on the segregation of the everyday realities of urban school students at the level of segregational dimensions

PsM, LitM Puolamäki Melina, University of Helsinki
Motivating the change: A phased intervention research to promote professionals’ motivational style in physical activity and sport promotion

FM Sinisalo Riina, University of Helsinki
Muslimius kaupunkitilassa – miten eletty uskonto kohtaa kaupunkisuunnittelun (Muslimius in urban space – how the lived religion meets urban planning)

LT Siren Reijo, University of Helsinki
40-vuotiaiden miesten terveyskäyttäytyminen, sairastavuus ja työkykyisyys 0–15 vuoden seurannan aikana (Health behaviour, morbidity and work capacity of 40-year-old men during 0-15 years of follow-up)


One recipient of the research grant did not wish their name to be made public.

Read more:

Helsinki Day’s celebration

Statistics and research data on Helsinki

Foto: Mika Federley.