A little over a year and a half ago Vafa Järnefelt was about to graduate as Master of Environmental Sciences and dreaming about a job, where she would have a chance to do research on environmental affairs and apply the research in practice. Her colleagues at Finpro at the time recommended VTT, which in their opinion appeared well suited for Vafa.
"VTT did not have a suitable vacancy at the time, but I contacted the leader of my current unit at VTT directly and was lucky enough to get a job. I have been allowed to formulate my current task description and adjust it myself. My work addresses directly the things I used to study."
As researcher, Vafa's tasks are strongly associated with environmental themes.
"In my work, I create entities related to sustainable economy and visions about what the world will look like from the perspective of the use of natural resources within the next 5–30 years. Currently, I am studying the real role and impact of digitisation in the promotion of circular economy with my colleagues. The best part of my job is being able to work with experts from different fields. My background in the environmental sector is very multidisciplinary, which gives me readiness to identify how these themes are developing and pay attention to what is essential."
VTT is the first research organisation where Vafa has worked.
"This work community is excellent, when you boldly go and take advantage of what it can offer. You should actively seek useful contacts with a view to your work both from your own unit and outside VTT. There is a wide variety of people working in very different types of duties here, which is quite exceptional. The matter combining most of them is multidisciplinary competence, which is important at least in what the environmental sector does."
Vafa's near future goals include both writing a thesis and being in charge of an increasing number of projects at VTT. At the end of summer, Vafa will apply for a research position for a doctoral student in a few schools. Depending on where she gets the position, she may work on her doctoral thesis alongside her job, or possibly continue by reducing her working hours. The responsibility for new projects, on the other hand, depends on whether their funding applications get accepted.
"I have clear goals regarding my career development. My work task is highly versatile, and I believe that I can develop in it the way I want. The great thing about VTT is that it is impossible to get bored here. There are new projects coming up at a suitable pace, and always when embarking on something new, we regroup, and our personal networks grow. New challenges emerge all the time, and our competence base keeps on expanding at the same time.