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University of Eastern Finland appoints two bioeconomy professors

The University of Eastern Finland invests in social-scientific bioeconomy research by establishing two new professorships. The five-year professorships strengthen the Sustainable Governance of Natural Resources research area, which is one of the five top-level research areas defined in the university’s strategy.

Docent Irmeli Mustalahti, PhD, will start as Professor of Social-Scientific Bioeconomy Research on 1 September. Mustalahti defended her dissertation on the practices and impacts of participation in forest management in 2007 at the University of Copenhagen, and she was awarded the title of docent in forest sciences by the University of Eastern Finland in 2012. Working as an Academy Research Fellow in the subject of environmental policy, she and her research group have studied the possibilities of responsive natural resources governance in Finland, Tanzania, Nepal, Laos and Mexico.

Mustalahti has previously worked at, e.g., the University of Copenhagen and the University of Helsinki, and she teaches as a visiting lecturer at several Finnish and international partner universities every year. Mustalahti is very experienced in development research, international research projects and funding acquisition. In 2014, she received an Academy of Finland award for societal impact. Mustalahti is an active participant in society both in advisory roles and as a provider of training for ministries and various Finnish and international organisations. She has also significantly supported the activities of the Finnish Society for Development Research.

Docent Ismo Pölönen, Doctor of Administrative Sciences, will start as Professor of Environmental Law (Bioeconomy and Natural Resources Law) on 1 September. Pölönen defended his dissertation on environmental impact assessment in 2007 and was awarded the title of docent in environmental law in 2012. Lately, his research has focused on EIA, mining and forestry legislation.

Pölönen's earlier roles include fixed-term Professor, Senior Lecturer and Researcher positions in environmental law at the University of Eastern Finland, and he has also attended to a shared research professorship in environmental law at the University of Eastern Finland and the Finnish Environment Institute. Pölönen is very experienced in multidisciplinary, international research projects and in the acquisition of external funding. He has also held several expert roles that have supported the drafting of legislation and the practical implementation of legal statutes. Furthermore, he has provided training for people working in the environmental sector.

Currently, the Sustainable Governance of Natural Resources research area at the University of Eastern Finland constitutes the most significant cluster for social-scientific environmental research in Finland. The research area comprises 11 professors and more than 50 researchers. The research area focuses on the relationship between natural resources and climate change, natural resources and the green economy, and global aspects of local natural resources governance. The directors of the research area are Professor of Environmental Policy Rauno Sairinen and Professor of Environmental Law Tapio Määttä

For further information, please contact:

Professor of Social-Scientific Bioeconomy Research Irmeli Mustalahti (from 1 September onwards), tel.  +358 50 5632071

Professor of Environmental Law (Bioeconomy and Natural Resources Law) Ismo Pölönen (from 1 September onwards), tel. +358 40 594 6024

Directors of the Sustainable Governance of Natural Resources research area:

Professor of Environmental Policy Rauno Sairinen, tel. +358 50 442 3146

Professor of Environmental Law Tapio Määttä, tel. +358 50 575 1589