Roosa Oja-Lipasti, Food Sciences, University of Helsinki


What do you study and where? How did you end up studying this field?

I study food chemistry, food safety and organoleptic assessment in the master's programme in food sciences at the University of Helsinki. I have not taken the usual route through upper secondary school to university; instead I first trained as a dairy specialist at Häme Vocational Institute. After dairy school, I continued my studies as an engineer in biotechnology and food technology. Because of my engineering studies, I could go straight into the master's phase of university.

What is it about your studies that excites you?

I am excited about those occasions when I am able to combine theoretical knowledge with practical situations. For example, the chemical reactions occur when a bun bakes golden brown in the oven.

If the sky was the limit, where would you like to work in the future?

I would like to work as a quality manager in the food industry in the future. I would like to carry out tasks where I can use the know-how that I have already learned and that I will learn in the future in the areas of chemistry, microbiology and organoleptic evaluation of foodstuffs.

Which global or everyday challenge would you like to solve with the help of chemistry/your work?

Chemistry could be used to reduce food waste. In Finnish households, 120–160 million kilos of food are thrown away each year. Most often, this is because of food spoilage, the expiration of the use-by-date, or the unwillingness to take a risk, even if the food does not look spoiled. Food waste is both a global and everyday challenge.

What do you think is an interesting innovation in the field of chemistry?

I recently became familiar with Ioncell technology, which allows textiles to be made from wood fibres. It is great that we are looking for more environmentally friendly production alternatives.