The new HELSUS research coordinator introduces herself!

In the beginning of may, Eeva-Lotta Apajalahti will start her new job as a research coordinator at HELSUS.

Eeva-Lotta is moving to HELSUS from the Centre for Consumer Society Research where she was working as a postdoctoral researcher on practice perspective, focusing on household energy practices. She was especially interested in how practices change and how practices that enhance sustainability could be scaled up and diffused. 

Eeva-Lotta finished her PhD dissertation at Aalto University in 2018. “In my dissertation I studied the ongoing sustainability transition of the energy field in Finland from the perspective of large energy actors. I focused especially on aspects, which hinder or slow down the change towards sustainability, such as path dependency, stickiness of innovations, and cultural inertia, but also on what kind of conditions enable sustainability transitions. The questions in my dissertation focused very much on the large scale, on organizations and production side”, she says.  

Eeva-Lotta has a wide range of sustainability topics she is interested in but her primary research area is sustainability transition within the energy field, which she has studied from the perspectives of production, organization and consumption. At Aalto University, she was a part of the Sustainability in Business (SUB) research group and her research was closely linked to the Smart Energy Transition (SET) research project. 

What about your new role at HELSUS? What will you work with?  

“At HELSUS my work will include the coordination of Finland’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Development and the research activities within HELSUS. I will also be developing new initiatives, launching new research projects and developing the institute together with other coordinators, trainees, researchers and the director. I will also carry out my own research related to community energy”, Eeva-Lotta says. She is looking forward to collaborating with the people in HELSUS, developing the institute, and finding new, exciting and impactful research avenues, with the potential to advance sustainability in Helsinki and elsewhere. 

“I am a very social person and I love to create a sense of community and solidarity. If we think about the contemporary academia more generally, the managerial practices, rankings and the funding roulette often fall upon single researchers, which in turn easily leads to a sense urgency, stress, and working in solitude. What we actually need are communities, a sense of solidarity and working together. Of course, this does not apply everywhere and often we do work together, especially if one has a research group around. However, not everyone has that. In that case, I hope sustainability scientists within University of Helsinki finds each other in HELSUS. And this seems to be the case. We have 400 members already!”  

What about your free time?  

“I am quite energetic, and I do many things during my free time. Majority of my time goes for the family; we have two school-aged children that are very active in playing football. Therefore taking them to football practice takes time and energy. However, this keeps changing as the older one already goes by himself. As my life is quite social, I do appreciate some time of my own. I like to walk around and photograph. I would do that more if I had more time. I would also like to do more handicrafts, sew and knit. I like mending clothes and that is normally as far as I get”, she tells us.  

You start in your new position during strange times. For example, you don’t know when you will meet your colleagues in person. How do you feel about this?   

“The Corona-time is indeed peculiar in many ways. This is something that my generation has never experienced. It has influenced my life the most by mixing the personal and work life, with new duties such as children’s school tasks. Strangely, it has not influenced my feelings that much to start in a new position. The few online meetings we have had has already given me a sense of solidarity with people working at HELSUS. I feel very welcome!” 

 We welcome Eeva-Lotta to the HELSUS-team! Eeva-Lotta starts working full-time on Monday the 4th of May.