Baltic Sea Underground Innovation Network (BSUIN) project involves 14 partners, 17 associated organizations, 6 underground labs and many people who share their expertise of different fields. Today we present interview with Jari Joutsenvaara, who is BSUIN Project Content Manager and has more than 16 years of experience of working with underground laboratories.
Could you share your background with the readers? How have you become connected to BSUIN project?
My history with the underground dates back to 2003 when I first started as a research assistant to work on the matters of underground physics at then called Centre for Underground Physics in Pyhäsalmi, Finland. These projects, like BSUIN now, were lead by the University of Oulu. Since then, I have been working with underground laboratories, primarily related safety and usability of underground locations as research facilities. My background is in astroparticle physics, which might seem a bit too far relates to underground environments, but in reality the deeper we are, the better the experiments are projected from the background caused by the cosmic rays.
In your opinion, what is the biggest value of BSUIN project?
The underground spaces, facilities are well under-utilised. Many of the Uls have specialised in specific topics or task, but in many cases, one or few spearheads are not enough to have economically feasible operations at Uls. Moreover, to sell the idea of underground spaces as a possible location for one’s research or business even, one needs to know what you are selling, and moreover how to sell it. Therefore the different characterisations, business model developments are making a difference for attracting new users, helping the Uls operators to see the best of their facilities and the room for improvements which could take place for increasing the usability of their Uls. As many of the Uls are rather small in their operations still, the created network will give the peer-support and sharing of best practices to enhance the know-how, and increase the visibility of Uls in general around the Baltic Sea Region.
Recently you have become BSUIN Project Content Manager. What are the biggest challenges for you?
Taking over the project content managers positions have been made rather smooth by the excellent work done by the WP and activity managers. As the project is extensive in terms of activities, and some of the activities are located out of my comfort zone, the learning curve needs to be steep to be able to support also the managers leading the work packages and the activities.
What particular benefits the Project is generating for you? In your opinion, which concrete skills and (or) prior experience makes the biggest added value for this Project and its participants?
First of all, the BSUIN, Uls is unique and thus to be able to learn from new underground sites, the best practices and the variability of operations is interesting for me. As I have been working in Uls and been participating in the development of Uls (especially Callio Lab), I can relate to the conditions of different Uls and the challenges they might be facing.