Recruitment in the Helsinki One Health organisation in 2019
In 2019 Helsinki One Health (HOH), a network organisation focused on human and animal health, concentrated on recruiting new professors, as well as a research coordinator. It was known in advance that most of the available resources would be spent on this effort. Naturally, the great results of the international research assessment conducted at the University of Helsinki were celebrated at the research forum held in June.
All of the professorship recruitment processes complied with the current practices of the University so that the calls for applications encompassed all three levels of the tenure track: assistant, associate and full professorships. A group of five professors was convened from participating faculties and agencies (Finnish Food Authority, Natural Resources Institute Finland) as the appointment committee for each process. Each position was advertised internationally, resulting in dozens of excellent international applications for all of them. The competition was tough.
As the applications arrived, any conflicts of interest were identified, and the disqualified professors relinquished their position in the recruitment process. Non-disqualified replacements were sought for the disqualified assessors, again from the participating faculties.
In May 2019 HOH gained its first associate professor on the tenure track, as Tarja Pääkkönen, specialist in veterinary medicine, DVM, docent, ECVN, was appointed assistant professor of comparative pathology. The position is shared by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Faculty of Medicine. Pääkkönen’s research group investigates the mechanisms that cause the onset of epilepsy and other neurological disorders as well as their treatment and long-term effects in dogs and other animal species as well as humans.
This appointment was followed by Annamari Heikinheimo, DVM, assuming the position of professor of zoonotic antimicrobial resistance in August, shared by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Finnish Food Authority. Heikinheimo’s research group investigates genes, routes of transmission and the development of resistance associated with the antimicrobial resistance of bacteria by employing next-generation DNA-sequencing techniques.
In late 2019 five additional junior professors were appointed at HOH. Peter Krawczel, a recent appointee from the University of Tennessee in the United States to the associate professorship in animal welfare, focuses on the welfare of production and companion animals. The position is shared by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. Natural Resources Institute Finland will recruit more staff for this research group in 2020.
Janne Lundén, DVM, began serving as associate professor of risk management in food safety. The research area of his group is associated with the risks that end up on our dinner tables and their minimisation. This is a new field, with the associate professorship as its inaugural post.
Anna-Riia Holmström was appointed assistant professor in medication safety and effectiveness, a position shared by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Faculty of Pharmacy. This is an internationally significant initiative and the first Finnish professorship in the field.
Heli Simojoki, docent and veterinary specialist in production animal medicine, was appointed professor of ruminant health and medicine. Simojoki’s group investigates the infectious diseases of ruminants, mainly bovines, and their epidemiology. The position is shared by the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
Tarja Sironen was appointed associate professor of emerging infectious diseases, and her group investigates mutating microbes, such as coronaviruses and ebolaviruses, as well as the conditions that turn them into pathogens. The position is shared by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Faculty of Medicine.
On behalf of the HOH organisation, I wish to once more congratulate the new professorial appointees as well as to thank all of the professors who have committed to working with distinction to carry these recruitment processes through.
Vice-dean in charge of research affairs/HOH
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
University of Helsinki
In June, the research forum celebrated in June the great results of the international research assessment conducted at the University of Helsinki.