Jani Saarinen is originally from Finland. He defended his PhD on "Innovations and Industrial Performance in Finland 1945-1998" at Lund University Economic History Department in 2005.
Dr Saarinen is currently a senior manager in operations development within R&D and Technology at Kemira, a global chemicals company focused on delivering solutions for water-intensive industries. His job includes management of all operations and innovation processes leading the product from idea to market. Dr Saarinen describes his career as a path-dependent process that started with his PhD at Lund University. Before Kemira, he applied his skills directly as a senior research scientist first at the Technical Research Centre of Finland, and later took his experience further towards consultancy as innovation and technology manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He refers to the research at the Economic Hisotry department being a big part of his career in a sense that it helped him appreaciate the broad context of things and provided a unique perspective on economic growth, structural change and deep knowledge in innovation activities whilst providing exposure to real-life commercial issues through cooperation and data collection at various companies. This, as he suggests, was possible because of particular orientation of the department towards economic history and the expertise of his research supervisor: "Economic History offered me the opportunity to see larger things, path-dependencies between things, to combine economic and societal issues connected to innovation and development , ".
Dr Saarinen is often invited to Lund to Guest-lecture for the Master students at the Economic History Department, which he referes to as "one of the highlights of the year". "I really enjoy this one day of lectures here", he says, and describes his feeling about the Department as having very high teaching and research standards, and the University as a well-known and internationally respected one. He highly appreciates his time in Lund, and the broad network of colleagues and friends he built here, therefore, he is an enthusiastic alumni: "I spent ten years of my life in here; it is nice to keep contacts I was able to create".