The University of Helsinki (UH) is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland, an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. UH has 11 faculties, several research-oriented institutes, multidisciplinary research networks, and campus units, as well as units attending to the duties of a national authority. In nearly all of the most important rankings, UH places in the 50-100 range, elevating it to the top 0.5% of the world’s universities (74th in the Shanghai ranking, 104th in the QS World ranking, and 98th in the Times Higher Education ranking in 2020). UH is a founding member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), a consortium of 23 leading multi-faculty research-intensive universities. Further manifestation of scientific quality and impact is proven by more than 70 ERC grants, which is nearly 50% of ERC grants nominated to Finland. Altogether, UH is part of more than 200 Horizon 2020-funded research projects, and 50% of Thomson Reuters’ highly cited Finnish researchers are at UH. The project is based across two units at UH: the Faculty of Social Sciences, Finland’s most diverse and internationally successful research unit in the social sciences in terms of both methods and themes; and the Swedish School of Social Science, the largest Swedish unit at the bilingual UH that combines topics such as Nordic welfare and ethnic relations with innovative, multidisciplinary approaches. Both units have been conducting research on radicalism, while our research team brings in a particular dimension to cities participatory projects and spaces for democratic interaction.

Emilia Palonen (BA London, MA & PhD Essex) is a University Researcher and the HEPPsinki research team leader at UH, a large cross-disciplinary research team that studies hegemony, affects and political identification from interdisciplinary perspectives. She leads the UH team of D.Rad as well as two research projects (WhiKnow and NowTimeUsSpace) related to populism, polarisation, and media. Drawing on her decadelong action research in her neighbourhood, she has been researching participatory democracy and spaces for democratic interaction in suburbs and neighbourhoods in Helsinki. The University of Helsinki has been Palonen’s base for a decade of teaching, researching, supervising PhDs and postdocs and publishing on hegemony, polarisation, and populism from local democracy to national and transnational levels. Her main countries of expertise are in Hungary and Finland, but she follows politics in Europe more broadly in more than seven European languages. Palonen is active in science-society interaction and science policy and societies from the European to national and local levels, she regularly appears in media nationally and globally, and organises outreach events. She engages in science publishing and communities as chair of the Finnish Political Science Association (FPSA), board member of Finnish Federation of Learned Societies, board member of the ECPSA, and treasurer of Finnish Parliament’s Society of Parliamentarians and Researchers. She also serves as board member of the Human Rights Committee at the Finnish Academies. With a background as a journalist, she established the FPSA award-winning online magazine for science communication in 2012, and she is board member in Rethinking Populism under To make sure academic knowledge reaches beyond the ivory tower, she has been active on open science, particularly scholarly publishing, and represents learned societies in 2021-22 the National Open Science and Research Steering Group in Finland.

Kanerva Kuokkanen (Dr Soc.Sc., Political Science) is a political scientist working as a University Lecturer in social science methodology at the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki, Finland. Kuokkanen has lengthy research experience in citizen and resident participation, collaborative and participatory governance, and public administration and public sector projects. In her research and current work, Kuokkanen has mainly concentrated on qualitative research methods. She has participated in several research projects—e.g., on the democratic impact of local public sector projects, regional and urban governance, and regulation. Kuokkanen has been a member of the board of the Finnish Political Science Association and is currently in the board of the Finnish Society for Administrative Studies. 

Laura Horsmanheimo is a fourth-year student completing her Master’s in Political Science at the University of Helsinki. She is currently a research assistant for the Finnish team in the D.Rad project. Minority and identity issues from intersectional perspective fascinate her the most.

Roosa Kylli is a fourth-year student completing her Master’s in Political Science at the University of Helsinki. Having previously worked as a research assistant in the University of Helsinki – based WhiKnow project, she is currently a research assistant for the Finnish team in the D.Rad project

Emilia Lounela is a doctoral candidate in political history at the University of Helsinki. Her doctoral dissertation examines ideals, community, identity and gender in misogynistic incel (”involuntary celibate”) online communities. She studies the way misogynistic societal ideals and radical views are negotiated and adopted by members of incel online communities, and how these communities are rhetorically built and defined. Prior to embarking on a PhD, supervised by Emilia Palonen, Lounela has been working in the field of human rights. Through her research interests she affiliates with the D.Rad H2020 project at the HEPPsinki research group.