Meet the InnoLabbers: Annu Perälä


Image: “This picture was taken during my first day of work here in Vaasa. I do not love to be in front of the camera, but new pictures were in demand for all the science communication plans I had. In general, I think it is very important that researchers communicate their work with the rest of the world too, not just with their colleagues”, Annu says.

This series introduces the members of University of Vaasa’s InnoLab research platform. Today we’re meeting Annu Perälä.

What are you?

I am project researcher working with climate change attitudes.

Your title at InnoLab is project researcher, but what exactly do you do?

So many things! Of course, my main task is to do research. In addition, I run our project’s social media accounts, coordinate the collaboration of our cross-sectoral consortium behind the project, popularize science, write grant proposals, have meetings, write e-mails…

Sounds like a lot of work. Why bother?

The excitement of finding out something new or coming up with an idea. I also like the versatility and the independent nature of my job.

Imagine your phone rings. It’s the call you’ve been hoping for – what is it about?

In my current project, I have really enjoyed the cooperation with different stakeholders. I strongly feel that solving climate change needs everyone. So someone invites me to a roundtable and says “Let’s start brainstorming what we could for the climate!”

Just kidding, it’s actually a journalist. They’re finally doing a story on that one topic you’ve always wanted to give an interview on! What do you say?

I would love to tell her all the juicy bits of our citizen and municipal councilor surveys that we have just conducted. But, I cannot – YET! However, there is plenty to chew on the business leader survey that was published earlier this week.

Good job on the survey. Too bad you can’t be the resident expert on every topic. What would you like to learn more about?

I would like to learn more about investing. Maybe a small stock portfolio would give a bit of the needed economic stability for a young researcher like myself.  Also, if someone could tell me how to get myself to go to bed at 10 PM every night, that would be great.

Okay. Now recommend me something – anything!

I recommend rosehip tea – bigger the cup the better!

Any last advice for being both an effective researcher and a happy office worker?

I have deleted work e-mail and social media apps from my phone and iPad. I try my best to forget work when I am off – it isn’t always easy. Especially because a good idea can pop up in your head at any time.

From the perspective of Annu’s colleagues: If Annu was an animal, what would she be?

“In my opinion Annu would be a squirrel; efficient, cute and stocking up on not food but contacts.”

“Spider, of course! She has a great ability to keep all fine strings in her hands without creating a mess, and to network.”

“She would be a cheetah because she is so fast.”

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