Profile series: Pertti Ala-aho (he/him)

Let’s get the basics. Name, where you are from, and your current affiliation, advisor and profile?

I am Pertti Ala-aho, from Oulu Finland. I am a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oulu, Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering.

What is the research you are currently working on (projects/funding/teaching)?

My central focus is on snow isotope hydrology. I want to understand just how important snowmelt is for ecosystem water use and in recharging our water resources in groundwater and streams. Other important research themes and methods for me are numerical modeling and new snow hydrology measurement technology. My ongoing Postdoctoral Research Fellow project “Where does water go when snow melts” is funded by the Academy of Finland.

Share your experience of recent personal Academy of Finland (AOF) competitive funding you won and what would be your tips for young hydrologists applying to AOF funding.

The basis is a novel research question and a clear impact of your research, which you can articulate The basis is a novel research question and clear research impact, which you can articulate well. The competition is fierce, so you need to have an x-factor that sets you apart from other applicants. For me it was a 2-year postdoc position at the University of Aberdeen Northern Rivers Institute, which gave me a great opportunity to grow my international network and publish with some of the leading scientists in hydrology. You should find, or create, that something to raise the necessary extra interest, whatever that may be.

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The art of science communication

Gökben Demir (GD) in conversation with Sam Illingworth (he/him) and Louise Arnal (she/elle) from Consilience and ConciliARTe

Consilience is an inclusive online journal that provides space for people’s exploration between art and science. While Consilience creates a bridge between poems and science, ConciliARTe (part of Consilience) builds that connection with audio and visual arts.

Consilience special issue themed Geoscience

Gökben Demir (GD) caught up with Sam Illingworth (SI), founder of Consilience and Louise Arnal (LA), co-editor of ConciliARTe, to have a chat about how science and arts meet via Consilience and ConciliARTe.

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YHS Statement on the Russian invasion of Ukraine

We note with great sadness and worry the Russian invasion in Ukraine. We call on Russia to stop the unprovoked aggression immediately. 

Ukrainian and Russian students and early career researchers both in the conflict zones and abroad will be impacted by current events and should not be forgotten. We encourage the global scientific community to keep them in mind, and support them as much as possible in continuation of their research. The current conflict will have far reaching consequences on progress of science in both Ukraine and the world. 

We applaud the bravery of the Russian scientific community in calling out their government for the invasion.  At the same time we are deeply concerned about the cessation of research partnerships built over decades between Ukraine, Russia and the rest of the world. While all actions short of aggression should be considered to bring an end to the conflict, scientific relations should only be ceased with a heavy heart. We see science as a powerful diplomatic tool and an important step in reclaiming peace. 

We, at YHS, call for an end to violence in all forms, and stand in solidarity with all  academic and scientific communities in both countries who do so as well.

We would like to take this chance to express our solidarity with all victims of violent conflict, in any of its forms, in every part of the world. Beyond science, beyond hydrology.

Further resources for displaced scientists:

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Interdisciplinary research: insights from ECRs with diverse modelling backgrounds

A Streams of Thought contribution by Clare Stephens, Danlu Guo, Nevenka Bulovic, Fiona Tang, Anna Lintern and Pallavi Goswami.

As part of the MODSIM conference held in Sydney, December 2021, a group of around 30 Early Career Researchers (ECRs) gathered in-person and virtually for a workshop on interdisciplinary research. We heard from three inspiring speakers: Prof. Gabriele Bammer, Prof. Corey Bradshaw and Dr. Arunima Malik, followed by break-out group discussions about our own experiences guided by the speakers. This article summarizes our thoughts and lessons learned.

Source: Unknown. Licensed under CC BY-SA-NC

Challenges identified for interdisciplinary research

Most of the workshop participants had limited experience with interdisciplinary research, and they identified a number of barriers that have made it difficult for them to get involved. Many of these challenges were related to career metrics and funding policy in Australia and elsewhere. Interdisciplinary research may not align with the indicators we need for career progression, which tend to reward fast publication rather than encouraging research across broader disciplines and diverse teams requiring substantially more time to develop. Funding for interdisciplinary research can be difficult to obtain in countries where impact is measured with respect to a particular field of research (as is the case in Australia). Similarly, job applications tend to relate to a specific area of expertise and the participants felt that there was less demand for interdisciplinary scientists. Time pressure is also a key issue, which makes it difficult for ECRs to learn about topics outside their main areas of focus, particularly as employment is often tied to funded projects with little flexibility in the role.

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Call for applicants – YHS Board

The Young Hydrologic Society (YHS) is a bottom-up initiative to stimulate the interaction and active participation of young hydrologists within the hydrological community.

Founded in October 2012 the YHS is currently run by a team of enthusiastic MScs, PhD students and post-docs from several universities across the world. The YHS board members manage the day to day YHS activities: organising conference sessions, creating blog posts and running the YHS twitter account.

YHS is organised as a group of committees supported by the president and secretary. Each board member usually serves a two-year term.

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