Janne Heikkinen, Environmental Soil Science

Janne Heikkinen, who graduated with a degree in environmental soil science, works as a senior specialist in an environmental project coordinated by Natural Resource Institute Finland and the Southwest Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.

1. What did you study?

I studied environmental soil science in Viikki. In addition, I completed study modules in chemistry, plant production sciences and multidisciplinary environmental studies.  I also completed courses in forest ecology and limnology.

2. What do you do for a living?

I have worked in research positions at Natural Resource Institute Finland, focusing on topics pertaining to the recycling of organic nutrients and the efficacy of nutrient use. My duties included planning container and field experiments, organisational and management duties, and reporting. I also worked in an environmental project under the purview of the Southwest Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, which utilised concrete methods to decrease the flow of agricultural nutrients to waterways in cooperation with farmers. In my work I can apply the knowledge and skills I learned during my studies to practice in an expert position. The best thing about project work is seeing how research and practice come together in the form of advisory services. Through networking I have familiarised myself with the operation of various parties in agriculture from ministries to individual farmers.

3. How does the future look in your field?

Agriculture is always in a state of flux. Food production methods are constantly changing and becoming more environmentally friendly. Agricultural production is subject to heavy political regulation, which involves several different parties and many reforms that guarantee a constant demand for research and project work in the field. Agriculture and the environment go hand in hand, but there is still much to do to strengthen their grip on each other.

4. What is your favourite memory of your studies?

My best memories are about learning to perceive large wholes; not individual courses, but how the contents of different courses are organised into a single functional network. Being able to perceive such systems gives you a practically oriented career approach, which is something that employers value.