1. Which subjects in social sciences are particularly topical right now?
At the moment, social scientists are getting increasingly interested in the impacts of technology on society. Moreover, they are starting to explore what social sustainability means and how we can achieve it. To my delight, awareness of the impact of an ageing population is becoming more widespread.
2. What are you working with currently?
I am working on several topics: how digitalization affects extended working lives, how social sustainability is positioned in welfare policies, and how the increase in the number of self-employed people affects the workforce.
3. How did you end up leading an academic career?
I was already curious and interested in books as a child. That behaviour stuck with me. With that background, going into academia was a natural choice.
4. What things do you enjoy most about your job? And what things would you like to change?
I particularly enjoy the fact that the staff at LUT are very welcoming and open to interdisciplinary cooperation. I’m learning something new every single day. If I could change one thing, I would introduce a line of organic food at the university restaurant. Organic food is not only healthy and environmentally friendly, but it also tastes great.
5. What is your greatest career accomplishment so far?
At our new Social Sciences Department, we designed a really beautiful bachelor’s programme and doctoral programme in record time. That was quite an accomplishment.
6. If anything was possible, what would you like to study, and what kind of ambitions do you have for your career?
If anything was possible, I would like to study in the bachelor’s and master’s programmes in social sciences that we are currently creating here at LUT.
In these programmes, we focus on real-life challenges. We approach them through a combination of social sciences, technology studies, economics, and business administration. As a result, the students gain a problem-centred perspective on how to resolve current social challenges with an enhanced social sciences insight. I find this approach very innovative and extremely useful.
In the long run, I would like to set up an Interdisciplinary Centre for Sustainability Sciences here at LUT university. This centre would be run in cooperation with the social sciences and alongside other schools and disciplines.
7. Who or what inspired you last?
Vaseem Khan. He is an academic who also writes crime novels. The Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series is rather funny and easy to read, featuring a baby elephant that is part of an Indian detective agency. The Malabar House series is more serious, featuring a fictitious female detective in India in the 1950s.
I think it is inspiring how Khan manages to balance an academic career with writing novels. Moreover, I am impressed by how his writing style keeps on evolving. If you do not yet know his books, have a look at them!
8. How do you balance your work and personal life? How do you recover from work?
I do a lot of sports, bake, and play board games. Thankfully, my family and friends are rather blunt. They let me know when I need to slow down.
9. Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
I am rather decent at repairing bicycles. My bicycle is nothing fancy, but I love riding it. Repairing it comes with the territory. By now, I already figured out how to do a number of different bicycle repairs by myself.