Hele Savin, Aalto University
"This career option is well suited to those with a curious, relentless, persistent, ambitious, creative, questioning, even rebellious nature".
What have you studied and why?
I studied electrical engineering at Aalto University. I was debating between applied physics and electrical engineering, and finally chose electrical engineering. I wanted to study a more applied field of basic science.
How did you become a researcher?
I got a summer job at the Optoelectronics Research Laboratory of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) after my second year at Aalto University. The research lab gave me my first taste of research and that's the path I've stayed on. You could say it was "love of research at first sight". I am currently trying to find new ways to make solar energy even more affordable than it is today.
What is the best thing about your job?
At best, I get to focus solely on research and solve questions that no one else has solved yet. In the best case scenario, I succeed in the end!
I know that my work is meaningful, meaning that I can use my research to make the world a better place. Doing research with like-minded colleagues is also important.
What have been the highlights and most important lessons of your career?
The most important have been the results, which have required creativity and extreme effort to succeed. The joy of success is often greater the harder you have to work for it. The time spent in top universities and research groups abroad has also been very rewarding. In 2015, my team and I succeeded in developing a black silicon cell that broke the efficiency record for nanostructured solar cells.
What are your expectations for the future?
My work right now is what I hope it will also be in the future. Every day is different, so the work and the research topics live according to the research results. What I like about my job is that research is often unpredictable and you have to be prepared to change direction on the fly.
I think I have already succeeded in making my research results useful to society. The aim is of course to do things even bigger and develop new solutions that will revolutionise our world.
What greetings would you like to send to a young person considering a career?
If you are interested in science and technology, it could be your dream job. When you wake up in the morning, you can wish for more hours in the day so that you can do even more research.
For whom is this a suitable career option?
This career option is well suited to those with a curious, relentless, persistent, ambitious, creative, questioning, even rebellious nature.