Composter news and fruits of brainwork

After an exceptionally burdening spring season – thanks to countless meetings and often chaotic discussions concerning the planned huge reform of health and social care – I was in desperate need of holiday. I informed my junior researchers that I shall be away and may not even read article manuscripts between midsummer and end of July. However, while I was resting elsewhere the junior researchers had produced five manuscripts! The weather is as bad as in May and June. I feel recovered. So why not have a look and give some comments; actually, I enjoy relaxing with research questions…

Just before holidays Dr Svetlana Oshukova defended her thesis, supervised by professor Nina Lindberg and me, in University of Helsinki. Dr Oshukova had studied psychopathic traits and their relation with psychopathology in adolescents in the community and in adolescent psychiatric and forensic samples And soon after holidays the next thesis I have supervised, together with professor Arja Rimpelä (, will be defended: in 18th of August, Dr Antti Torikka will defend his thesis on depression and alcohol use in adolescents in University of Tampere.  A teaser can be found here! I find it so upsetting to follow my own supervisee defending her/his dissertation! I am always so excited, will s/he succeed in demonstrating her/his large knowledge and clever scientific thinking! No room for good advice and tips anymore!

When I first joined the academic world, writing a diploma paper and wishing to become a member of the scientific community, I was under the impression that knowledge is important, and that research is important in order to increase knowledge. To challenge thinking! I then learned that research is important in order to produce all the bigger number of publications. A little later, number of publications was outdated: it was important to publish in journals with high impact factors. A researcher’s value was measured by impact factors. Next step soon followed: a researcher’s value is measured by the amount of money s/he has brought to the university by being granted research funding. Obviously the next step seems is value research according to if you can commercialize it. When our faculty was evaluated some time ago, the external review panel was only interested in patents.

Nevertheless, I still believe that searching for knowledge and learning critical thinking are per se valuable, even if the work does not result in patents. It is also a great privilege to have PhD students of very different ages and in different career stages, from medical students to medical specialists in senior positions, even already retiring from clinical work.

My most incompetent activities in gardening have miraculously resulted in good outcome this summer, thanks to mold from my composter. Composter mold is really powerful! Flowers bloom better than ever! Therefore, if only it stops raining, I serve breakfast, coffee or dinner on terrace. It is summer anyway. Never mind that this year, we enjoy it wearing wool socks and down jackets, wrapped in blankets.