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Ilona Herlin

Maria Ilona Herlin
Born April 8, 1965, Kirkkonummi

MA 1992 and PhD 1998 (Finnish Language), University of Helsinki
Docent at the University of Helsinki 2006-

Independent scholar 2006-
Doctoral assistant at the University of Helsinki 2006
Postdoctoral researcher at the Academy of Finland 1995–1998

Publications, research projects and other scientific activities

Research topics: Finnish grammar, in particular the relationship between sentences, infinitives, particles and personalities, the position of empathy in language, language and nature

Smiling Girl Statue for students with good friendship skills 1972
2nd place in the Masala school district ski and temperance writing competition 1973
Best poster at the Finnish Conference of Linguistics, Helsinki 2002

Written by Ilona Herlin (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by
Joe McVeigh

A background of foundation research

I am on the Board of Trustees of the Kone Foundation. The foundation’s basic nature of charitable work is positive, but maybe I have not been there more time than is required of the vice chairperson. The foundation supports the humanities, social sciences and environmental research, as well as art and culture.

I have also been involved in developing mutual cooperation trusts, such as the Foundations’ Post Doc Pool, which supports the internationalization of young researchers. In the cooperation of foundations and trusts it is essential to find common goals – for example, in relation to universities – and at the same time to preserve the uniqueness of each foundation, which comes directly from the foundation’s mission that was drafted by the endower. When a foundation is well focused on its own special field, it has the possibility to influence the grantees by giving them ideas alongside the funding.

The current political climate of academia requires foundation people to be watchful. When the public funding of academia has been reduced and focused on the strategic tips of projects and areas of concern, while at the same time the wealth and budgets of foundations grows, the old adage that ‘foundations offer options’ can have a new interpretation. Maybe even basic research is increasingly dependent on foundation funding.

Scholarship foundations have a long and stable tradition of funding, especially for scholars writing their dissertations. Periodic researchers or those outside the university do not seem to fit in to the processes of the most streamlined universities. It will be interesting to see where the foundation money goes next if the situation with funded researchers at universities gets even worse. I very much hope that basic researchers and other academics can still stay in the safety of the university’s walls and that the funding would come from the Academy of Finland, foundations or from the university itself.


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