Career stories

Emilia Peltola, University of Turku

Assistant Professor, University of Turku / Visiting Professor, Aalto University

"An academic career requires a passion for the subject of your research, as well as a high level of tolerance of uncertainty, flexibility and perseverance".


What have you studied and why?

I studied bioinformatics technology because I was fascinated by the many facets of science and medicine. When I applied for my studies, it was clear to me that I didn't want to be a doctor, so I felt that a technical education offered better opportunities to get into things that interested me.

How did you get to your current position?

My interest in research was strongly sparked during my high school geography thesis course. When I applied for university, it was clear to me that a job in research or product development would be the most interesting. At that time, however, I did not yet dream of a doctorate, for example, and I had strong doubts in my mind as to whether I was up to it. During my studies, I was lucky enough to get a research assistantship at the Faculty of Medicine and from there the work has progressed piece by piece. First I realised that I had enough results to write a thesis, and at the same time my supervisor encouraged me to apply for funding for a PhD. From there, I have progressed to my current position through both serendipity and determination and self-development.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is the constant learning of new things and the opportunity to develop and grow, while seeing and living with the progress of students and young researchers.

What have been the highlights and most important lessons of your career?

The best moment so far has been when I supervised the dissetation of my first doctoral student.
The most important lesson is that we are always in the middle of something and we can almost always create something new and change the set-up. However, it is important to take care of your own wellbeing so that you have the resources for your own growth.

What are your expectations for the future?

I expect the tech sector to evolve towards a diverse and inclusive culture of building a world for all.

For whom is this a suitable career option?

An academic career requires a passion for the subject of your research, as well as a high level of tolerance of uncertainty, flexibility and perseverance.

What greetings would you like to send to a young person considering a career choice?

Technology is an enabler, and a technical education offers opportunities to do almost anything. For example, if you think about the sustainable development goals, solutions require the use of science, technology and innovation. Because these goals are so important, we need a wide range of people in the field. A diverse pool of talent together will enable, for example, better health and cleaner energy.

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