The Finnish Museum of Natural History, which is part of the University of Helsinki, is known for its extensive academic outreach and environmental education activities at both the Natural History Museum and the botanic gardens in Kaisaniemi and Kumpula. Luomus also constitutes Finland’s largest research infrastructure focused on biodiversity.
“Our primary mission is to maintain collections and monitoring schemes that illustrate the status of nature as well as share knowledge through the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility we manage. We also have other nationally unique duties, including the Laboratory of Chronology, which is a hub of expertise in dating and isotope analysis techniques,” Juslén says.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Aino Juslén’s first year as the director has been rife with challenges. At the moment, the gap generated by travel restrictions and a five-month period of closure of indoor public attractions is being closed at full speed.
“We’ve had an influx of visitors after the reopening of our public attractions! The pandemic has also challenged us to develop new virtual practices, which will continue to be used. I have received a great deal of support from both the brilliant Luomus work community and the University leadership. At the same time, I have had the chance to develop my personal way of managing and serving this truly diverse organisation with my own personal touch.”
The evolution of Luomus from a traditional museum into a modern research and academic outreach organisation has been recognised in international assessment as well.
“It’s a good direction to continue in. Our openly available datasets and advancing technical solutions are continuously increasing opportunities in multidisciplinary research and business collaboration, while benefitting public decision-making. Impactful and diverse academic outreach and environmental education are more important than ever.”
Research contributes to stopping biodiversity loss
In her upcoming term as the director, Juslén intends to invest particularly in identifying solutions needed to curb biodiversity loss.
“I want to increasingly fervently influence the identification and implementation of solutions to biodiversity loss and climate change. The aim is to conduct decision-making based on knowledge and positive interaction. I seek resources for all this from nature as well as from the communities and people close to my heart.”
“The University of Helsinki has a bold and far-sighted strategic plan, in whose implementation Luomus is doing its part. I believe success in this stems from a combination of ambitious and inspiring goals, and a positive emotional atmosphere. I am an advocate of open science and research. Another goal of mine is that a long-term solution will be found for carrying out the national duties of Luomus between different administrative sectors,” Juslén notes.
Among other positions, Aino Juslén, the appointee to the directorship of Luomus, serves as the chair of an official working group of the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility and a vice-chair of the General Assembly of the Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo) consortium of 120 European natural science collections, in addition to which she heads the Finnish delegation of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.