80 – Empowering users of online services

Using online services means ticking a lot of boxes in consent forms, but do we always know what we are saying yes to? In this podcast we are talking to Farzaneh Karegar, PhD in Computer Science. In her research she proposed, designed, and tested usable and legally compliant tools and solutions that can empower users to take control of their data when using online services. 

We talk about the trade-offs between convenience and privacy when it comes to making online choices; tools that both users and service providers can benefit from and consent form designs that motivate users to pay more attention to what they are disclosing and for what purposes. Farzaneh introduces us also to dark patterns which are very prominent in, for example, cookie consent banners and explains why they can be a pitfall also for policy designers with good intentions. 

Farzaneh Karegar’s doctoral thesis can be downloaded from DiVA: The Lord of Their Data Under the GDPR?: Empowering Users Through Usable Transparency, Intervenability, and Consent

79 – The Public Interest in the Data Society

The public interest, in its ideal form, offers the possibility for all to exercise individual rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and information or the right to personal data protection. However, in practice the definition of public interest can vary depending on the context.

In Maud Bernisson’s doctoral thesis in Media and Communication Studies, she investigates how the notion of public interest was constructed in relation to digital media during the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) policymaking process. By interviewing key actors of the process, along with extensive in-depth document analyses, Maud’s research shows that the GDPR redefines the public interest in a way which diverges from its ideal form. In our conversation, Maud explains the reasons for this divergence and how it has affected how the GDPR works for EU citizens.     

Maud Bernisson’s doctoral thesis can be downloaded from DiVA: The Public Interest in the Data Society: Deconstructing the Policy Network Imaginary of the GDPR

68- The human side of idea screening

For businesses to stay competitive and survive, it is vital for them to take good care of ideas aiming at evolving the enterprise. However, assessing and evaluating new ideas, idea screening, can take time and resources, it often acts as a bottle neck during the innovation process. Thus far, research on idea screening, has focused more on the technical and procedural aspects, leaving the human side of the process aside. For this reason, in his research Alexandre Sukhov, Ph.D. in Business Administration, has taken the perspective of the individuals involved as evaluators of ideas. By investigating more than 1,300 idea screening cases performed by 245 people, he has come to the conclusion that there is more to the process than mere screening. In fact, evaluators are co-constructing the very ideas they are set to screen. In our interview, Alexandre explains what this means for our understanding of the innovation process, and how his results can help businesses improve their innovation processes .

Alexandre Sukhov’s doctoral thesis can be downloaded from DiVA: The Human Side of Idea Screening

65 – Improving organic solar cell technology

Solar energy is a renewable energy source much needed as the global energy demand and the speed of climate change increase. Solar energy can be converted to electric energy by means of organic photovoltaics (OPV). This is a technology that uses organic molecules, such as polymers, to absorb sunlight and generate electricity. While OPV devices have become more efficient, one problem is that their operational lifetime is still short. One reason for this, is that the polymer and fullerene materials used in OPV:s degrades when it is exposed to light and air. This problem is addressed in Vanja Blazinic’s research in physics. In our conversation, he explains how his research contributes to a better practical understanding of material degradation in OPV devices. This is much needed for this technology to contribute to a brighter future.

Vanja Blazinic’s doctoral thesis in physics can be downloaded from DiVA: Probing the effects of photodegradation of acceptor materials in polymer solar cells: bulk, surface, and molecular level

58 – Academics’ reactions to managerialism

What is managerialism in higher education? And how do academics react to it? These are the two principal questions posed by Jo Ese, in his doctoral thesis in Working Life Science Defending the university? Academics reactions to managerialism in Norwegian higher education? While managerialism has been developed in the world of business, many government run universities also have adopted this belief system. In our interview, Jo Ese explains the emergence of the concept. Also, we learn more about the strategies academics use to cope with or – as is often the case – resist managerialism.

Jo Ese’s doctoral thesis can be downloaded from DiVA. 

52 – Utbildning för hållbar utveckling

För att unga människor ska kunna verka för hållbar utveckling har det gjorts stora globala satsningar på utbildning. Som ett led i detta arbete har många länder satsat på certifieringsprogram, som är tänkta att stödja skolornas implementering av utbildning för hållbar utveckling. Hittills finns dock få studier som undersöker effekterna av sådana certifieringsprogram, och det är denna kunskapslucka som Daniel Olsson fyller med sin forskning. Genom stora enkätundersökningar till skolelever i Sverige och Taiwan har Daniel kunnat mäta elevers medvetenhet om hållbar utveckling. I vårt samtal berättar Daniel om resultaten av studierna, och vilka implikationer han ser för den svenska skolan. Daniel Olssons doktorsavhandling kan hämtas från DiVA: Student Sustainability Consciousness : Investigating Effects of Education for Sustainable Development in Sweden and Beyond

51 – Fixing WiFi

Do you have high speed internet to your home but still experience  buffering or lag when watching a movie or playing an online game? These problems may be related to your WiFi network. Good thing then that researchers are working on to fixing WiFi! In Toke Høiland Jørgensen’s research he not only produces more knowledge on WiFi performance barriers, he also develops mathematical and technical solutions to them. In our conversation Toke explains how the open source solutions developed by him and his colleagues can benefit all us speed-craving internet users.

Toke Høiland-Jørgensen’s doctoral thesis can be downloaded from DiVA: Bufferbloat and Beyond : Removing Performance Barriers in Real-World Networks

49 – Gamification in digital journalism

Whether you are aware of it or not, you have probably been subjected to gamification. Gamification refers to the practice of businesses using game-elements in non-game contexts. Raul Ferrer Conill has investigated the role of gamification in digital journalism. Today, many digital newspapers use bonuses, badges or other rewards to make users consume more articles, and to make journalists more productive. In our conversation, Raul describes why newspapers use this approach, and how it affects the commercial and professional aspects of journalism. Raul Ferrer Conill’s doctoral thesis can be downloaded from DiVA: Gamifying the news : Exploring the introduction of game elements into digital journalism

31 – Environmentalism in fiction writing

The topic of this episode is environmental apocalypses in fiction writing. We discuss this with Marinette Grimbeek, who in her doctoral thesis investigates the environmentalism of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy. In fact, her research leads her out of the novels, as she finds that the MaddAddam Trilogy forms part of Atwood’s real-world environmental activism. In our conversation, Marinette describes how Atwood plays with the boundaries between fact and fiction, commercialism and activism, to promote an ecological understanding of the world. To read Marinette Grimbeek’s doctoral thesis follow this link: Margaret Atwood’s Environmentalism : Apocalypse and Satire in the MaddAddam Trilogy