31 December 2010
Appointment procedure for
Professorial post, Statistical Methods
1. Background and objective of post
1.1 Operational environment
The mission of the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) is to promote the care and utilization of forests in an economically, ecologically and socially sustainable manner by means of research. Applied research and basic research supporting the same are performed at Metla, where forestry-related research cooperation as well as the advantageous use of research results are under development.
The methods used in statistics and other, closely related data-intensive computational methods and mathematical applications, represent crucial techniques in responding to forestry and environmental questions. Methodological development has been rapid, alongside with the increased computing power. New ways of framing questions, and the new type of data generated by novel measurement techniques, require the development and application of corresponding methods.
The range of methods required in analyzing research data is thereby extensive and dynamic. A good command of statistical experiment design and sampling methods is also necessary for data acquisition. Through the professorship in statistical methods, the aim is to ensure the up-to-date character and development of methodologies at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla).
1.2 Previous activities
A mathematics department was established at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) in 1967, a chair simultaneously being established for the head of department. The professor’s research field was last defined in 1988, to include the following area of responsibility respective to a Professor of Mathematical Statistical Methods: research and development in the computational research methods required in forest research, and assistance and training for research facility personnel in the application of such methods and the development of ADP (automatic data processing) functions in collaboration with the other units, as well as the formulation and development of forest statistics and analyses of forest taxation. (decree 188/1988).
During an organizational renewal in 1991, as with the facility’s other departments the mathematics department was abolished, the post of professor being retained in the new organization but without responsibilities in ADP, forest statistics and forest taxation. The post thereby became that of a statistics professor, functioning within the area of forest-related applications.
1.3. Significance of the post to the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), connection with strategy and other research fields
In connection with Metla’s organizational renewal in 2009/2010, fields of research expertise were formed. The field of research expertise concerning the statistical methods and related services is still being organized. This field of expertise will include the development of statistical, mathematical, and computational methods required by forest research, together with their applications. It supports both the methodological skills of Metla’s researchers, and their methodologically high-quality research efforts.
In forest research – like many other modern research fields – statistical acquisition, analysis and modelling methods of data have a crucial position. This is because forest research is largely based on empirical data, such as measurement data from designed experiments (e.g. growth and yield research, forest genetics), long-term surveys and follow-up data (e.g. National Forest Inventory, the health status of forests), geographic information data or data generated using the latest technologies (e.g. laser scanning). This data can be spatial, temporal or spatiotemporal.
In addition to his/her own research and development work, the professor’s job description includes the development of specialists’ work in statistical methods and services, and leading such work within the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla).
At Metla, an extensive documentation project has been launched in 2009 in forest research data and information content, with the purpose of developing and safeguarding the life cycle of research data as well as accessibility to it. Effective utilization of Metla’s extensive data, information and knowledge pools requires deep familiarity with statistical data analysis and modelling.
There are currently no professorships in statistical methods at Finnish universities with a focus on forest research. For this reason, there is a considerable need for a professorship in statistical methods, for the branches of science represented by Metla.
Clarification of closely related professorial and other, similar posts at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla)
The research field of the Professor of Forest Inventory covers forest inventories and research delving into the grounds of the methods applied in forest mensuration and in forest planning.
The following fall within the research field of the Professor of Forest Yield: structure, growth and yield of forests as well as their development.
The research field of the Professor of Silviculture comprises the fundamentals and methods of forest regeneration and silviculture, and forest ecology and physiology of forest trees. The associated targets of research are natural and artificial forest regeneration, seed crops of forest trees, growing of planting stock and tending of young stands, and the early development of tree stands. The practical field of application includes silviculture recognising the different forms of forest use and their environmental effects.
The following is included within the research field of the Professor of Forest Engineering: the interaction between human beings, work, machines and the forest environment in the field of forestry. The targets of research include the productivity, costs, and ergonomics of work, work safety, work trace, the quality of timber and its management, the recovery of wood biomass, environmental impacts, entrepreneurship, supporting of machine manufacturing and device making, and system know-how.
The research field of the Professor of National Economics of Forestry covers national economic and sociological studies in forestry and wood economics. Question of central importance to the professorship are the functioning of timber markets, investments in forestry and timber sales behaviour as well as measures in forestry policy and their efficacy. The field, in addition to the perspective of wood production, also covers other forms of forest use.
The following fall within the research field of the Professor of Forest Genetics: the genetic structure of tree stands and tree species, and the interaction between forest utilisation and the genetic structure of forests, the genetic diversity of forest trees and the mechanisms maintaining it, the genetic adapting of trees to environmental factors and to the changes in these factors, interactions with other organisms, the genetic control of adapting properties and yield properties, and applications of molecular genetics.
In the future intensive cooperation is needed between the operation area of the professor in statistical methods and other fields of science and research expertise in Metla.
2. Post-related continuation plans
2.1 Tasks of the Professor
It is proposed that the post be continued, with the new duties and objectives outlined below.
The professor’s duties at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) are defined in Metla’s rules of procedure, 21 December 2009, and comprise the following:
- responsibility for the development of know-how in his/her field of research, orientation of such research and the transfer of information and technology in cooperation with research directors,
- participation in the positioning of Metla’s strategic objectives and functions relative to other actors,
- the performance of scientific research,
- the promotion of research cooperation with Metla’s researchers, clients and partners,
- responsibility for obtaining external resources, and
- promoting Metla’s internationalization within its field.
Key research themes and the field of study of the Professor in Statistical Methods will be as follows over the next five years:
- to research and develop the statistical methods and especially their applications to producing, analysing and modelling spatial, temporal and spatiotemporal data needed in forest research, including design and analysis of experiments,
- to take responsibility for the methodological training and guidance of Metla's researchers,
- to research and develop the utilization of Metla’s extensive knowledge pools, by means of statistical mathematics and data analysis.
2.2 University and research facility cooperation
Cooperation with universities will increase the possibilities for novel applications of mathematical modelling, data analysis and computationally intensive methods. Moreover, university students working with their theses represent a significant potential resource for Metla. The duties of the post cover opportunities to participate in statistical researcher training, advanced instruction and both Master’s thesis and doctoral thesis supervision. Due to insufficient resources and posts in forestry-related university education in the field of statistics, the Metla professorship may have national and international significance in forest research and education.
Research cooperation with other sector institutions e.g. within the context of Lynet – the consortium of Natural Resources and Environmental Research – will open up new types of question-framing on natural resources, to which a productive response will require a versatile methodological approach. With partners unable to offer professor-level expertise, Metla has the potential to become a pivotal expert in this field.
2.3 Assessment of total number of potential applicants who fulfil the eligibility conditions
Large numbers of possible applicants who fulfil the conditions for eligibility work in Finnish and foreign universities and research facilities: an estimate of the total number of domestic applicants is 6–10.
The post will be filled via international recruitment.
2.4 Expertise used in further preparation
In the field of statistics, there are many researchers of merit who can be deemed capable of acting as specialists and assessors in filling the post. These researchers work in Finland and internationally at universities and research facilities.
3. Specification of the post
Name and field of post
Post of Professor of Statistical Methods, area of application: forest sciences.
The service relationship is valid until further notice.
The Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), office to be determined in connection with the application process.
The salary is determined in accordance with Metla's remuneration system and complies with competence level 13–14. It comprises a task-based component related to the required competencies (competence level 13 €4,190.81/month, 14 €4,635.09/month). In addition, a component based on personal performance is remitted.
Post filling procedure
The post will be filled in accordance with the procedural rules applied at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla).
4. Information concerning filling the post
According to section 9 of decree 762/2005 issued with regard to the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), a doctoral degree is required of the professor, as well as strong familiarity with the duties in question.
Successful performance of the task requires close familiarity with research and development in statistical and mathematical methods and their applications in the forest sciences, together with strong skills in monitoring the information requirements of forestry, as well as in carrying out own research and development activities. The task requires good communication skills and the ability to cooperate with the representatives of different branches of forest science.
The applicant shall briefly present his/her vision of an operational plan (maximum 2 pages) covering the post’s key forthcoming tasks.
4.2 Knowledge of languages
The candidate will be regarded as having excellent oral and written knowledge of Finnish and satisfactory oral and written knowledge of Swedish as indicated in the decree (423/2003).
If needed, the candidate can apply for an exemption concerning these requirements.
4.3 Applying for the post
Applications must be submitted in writing and addressed to the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla). Information on when the application period will end and the address to which the application should be sent will appear in the application announcement.
Four identical copies of the following should be enclosed with the application:
1) Extract from a personal file or similar clarification (if the applicant does not maintain personal files); the extract from a personal file must be submitted no more than three (3) months prior to submission of the application and the résumé must be officially authenticated
2) A brief curriculum vitae in accordance with the instructions
3) A list of publications grouped as follows:
(1) articles in refereed international journals;
(2) articles in refereed international scientific compilations as well as in international scientific conference publications;
(3) articles in refereed Finnish journals;
(4) articles in refereed Finnish scientific compilations and Finnish scientific conference publications;
(5) scientific monographs;
(6) other scientific publications, such as articles in unrefereed scientific journals and conference publications, in addition to publications in university and department series
4) A brief explanation must be provided of important research merits, from the perspective of the post applied for
5) Operational plan
The Board of Directors of the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) shall appoint the Professor.
4.5 Essential ordinances
- Act Concerning the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) (1114/1999)
- Decree no. 1140/1999, amended 22 September 2005 762/2005 and 12 February 2009 80/2009 as well as 22 October 2009 798/2009
- Standing Order of the Finnish Forest research Institute; 22.12.2009;
- Decree on demonstration of ability in Finnish and Swedish (423/2003)
- Instruction concerning the filling processes for posts at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), TES1347, 6 April 2001.
The Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla)
P.O. Box 18
Tel. +358 29 532 2053
C U R R I C U L U M V I T A E
2. Date and place of birth
4. Family status
5. Address, telephone: home and work, email address and fax number
6. Qualifications, degrees and similar
7. Current regular post, since when?
8. Current research activity and key Finnish and international cooperation interests
9. Experience in leading research programmes and in postgraduate education
10. Merits connected with social interdependencies
11. Educational merits
12. Previous employment
13. Scientific awards, honours and significant research grants
14. Other academic and professional merits; for instance, editorial staff membership at journals and in scientific associations; activity as a referee for a scientific journal, as a preliminary reviewer of doctoral theses and as an opponent at a public defence of a doctoral thesis; important committee or similar memberships; confirmed professorial, assistant professorial or similar qualifications.
In sections 12 and 13–14, the period should be reported in years (e.g. 1986–96) or more precisely in years and months (e.g. total 14 months, 1995–97).