"I Often Think I Have the Best Job in the World!"
​Internationality is one of the key focus areas for Baoru Yang. Food researchers conduct joint research and teaching projects especially in Asia, but they also co-operate with Australian, European and North and South American research organisations.

​Professor Baoru Yang's career spans almost as many years in business as in academia. Now Yang believes that she is in the University to stay.

– I often think that I have the best job in the world! I get to research, teach, constantly learn new things and collaborate with top international researchers. I also get to apply for funding, and sometimes I even receive some, Yang laughs.

In her position as Professor, Yang wants to focus on securing the quality and international profile of food research.

– We specialise in researching how the composition of food affects its quality and health effects, and how this quality is maintained in food production. Our focus is especially on Nordic food plants and the offerings of Nordic nature. Our research profile is unique in Finland and even abroad, notes Yang.

– We're well known in the world, but we're always striving to develop even more. We're a small unit from a small country, but our expertise is respected, Yang continues.

Brought to Finland by Sea Buckthorn

Yang completed her Master's degree in Beijing Agricultural University, and after graduation worked as the head of research in a Chinese company that manufactured dietary supplements from sea buckthorn.

– Sea buckthorn is the reason why I ended up in Finland almost 20 years ago. Our company did a lot of collaboration with Finnish sea buckthorn researchers, and at the same time I personally became interested in furthering my education. The University of Turku had expertise related to sea buckthorn, so I came here for my doctoral dissertation, tells Yang.

After her dissertation, Yang returned back to the business world, this time to a Finnish food development company. She took on the position of chief product developer with the thought that she would return to the University after one year to continue her research. Yang ended up staying with the company for seven years before she returned back to the University of Turku as a Senior Lecturer.

– Research work is interesting in companies as well, but my academic career has always been the most important to me. The University provides a different sort of freedom for planning research that interests me personally and seeing your plans become a reality.

Working as a researcher and professor is rewarding, but demanding. Yang likes to relax by going outdoors.

– I go for long walks in the woods and stop to listen to the sounds of forest life. In the winter, I swim in the icy waters at least once a week. I've become a Finn, Yang smiles.

Text and photo: Liisa Reunanen
Translation: Sam Parwar

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