Jukka Reivinen, PhD, is a programme manager at the Academy of Finland’s Academy Programme Unit.
“I have a doctoral degree in biochemistry. During my career, I’ve had a chance to work with a wide variety of topics in the field of health and welfare. At the Academy Programme Unit, my work involves coordinating research programmes funded by the Academy. At present, much of my work is focused on a programme on the health and welfare of children and young people. I also have international assignments and engage in bilateral collaboration with India and Canada, for instance. I’m also a member of Finnish national expert groups. Even though my basic training is in the natural sciences, my interests have gradually shifted more towards the social sciences. The Academy is an organisation where employees need to be agile and mobile, and prepared to broaden their professional expertise.”
“The best part of my job is the variety it offers. The Academy is an organisation of experts, and as such allows employees to influence their own job descriptions a great deal. At its best, working for a government agency really lets you engage in work that has meaning and makes a difference. Apart from the researchers we fund, our most important clients are the Finnish taxpayers. The Academy does not hand out research money without expecting something in return. The Academy’s elected officials who make the funding decisions and other Academy staff must therefore try to create added value for the money we distribute. We must be able to demonstrate the significance of the work we do – the Academy of Finland exists not for itself, but for the benefit of the public.”
“The Academy is a sophisticated work environment that encourages staff to take initiative and present new ideas. It’s OK to say what you think and voice your opinion. The overall atmosphere is constructive, and the diversity of voices and opinions often leads to new syntheses – there’s no single official truth at the Academy. Though I’ve worked here for more than ten years now, I somehow know that I won't be doing this job for the rest of my life and I won't retire from it. As the new generations take over, the old ones must give way. It’s always good to have a certain degree of turnover – and get fresh ideas.”