Research Team

Dr Satu Helske is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the PREDLIFE consortium and leads the sociology subproject. She holds a PhD in statistics and is presently working as a Senior Research Fellow in Sociology at the INVEST Research Flagship Center and the FLUX consortium at the University of Turku. Previously, she has worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford and in the Institute for Analytical Sociology at Linköping University. Her research interests span the fields of sociology and statistics, with a particular focus on multigenerational and life course studies. She has also developed statistical methods and tools to analyse and visualise complex interdependent life trajectories. Additionally, she is a member of the executive team of the Sequence Analysis Association.

Dr Jouni Helske is the PI of the statistics subproject of the PREDLIFE consortium at University of Jyväskylä and an Academy Research Fellow at INVEST Research Flagship Centre at the University of Turku. He has previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at University of Jyväskylä and Linköping University. His current research interests include causal estimation problems and Bayesian inference for panel data. He has expertise in developing efficient algorithms for complex models especially in the context of time series, Bayesian statistics, prediction problems, and visualization of uncertainty. He has developed multiple statistical software packages for R, and acts as an associate editor of rOpenSci peer review of statistical software.

Dr Simon Chapman is a Senior Researcher at the INVEST Research Flagship Center at the University of Turku. He holds a PhD in evolutionary biology, having studied the role of grandmothers in pre-industrial Finland. In PREDLIFE, he analyses parental leave reforms and mechanisms in work-family trajectories, and wrangles with register data. His interests include life-history evolution, kin influence on life-course outcomes, and the demographics of leave-taking parents.

Dr Sanni Kotimäki is working as an INVEST Lecturer and Senior Researcher at the University of Turku. She has been part of many research projects, the most previous being ‘Life course experiences, intergenerational processes, and child well-being and development’, an interdisciplinary collaboration with medical doctors and psychologists. Sanni has taught statistical methods for social scientists and her course on social health disparities for many years. Her experience is on intergenerational life course research, with a focus on the role of early-life circumstances in health and socioeconomic wellbeing. In PREDLIFE, she continues with life course research and will analyse mechanisms in work-family trajectories.

Dr, Docent Milla Salin is University Lecturer in social policy at the Department of Social Research and Senior Researcher at the INVEST Research Flagship Centre at the University of Turku. She holds a PhD in social policy. Her research interest lie in the interface of labour market research and family research. She has been studying mothers’ employment and working times, combining work and family life as well as attitudes towards gender roles. In PREDLIFE she examines parental leave reform and fathers’ parental leave use from a social policy and welfare state perspectives.

Dr Santtu Tikka is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of University of Jyväskylä. Currently, he works as a part of the thematic research area of decision analytics (DEMO) with his main research topics being simulation of complex systems and causal inference – topics that he will continue to work on in PREDLIFE. In his previous research, he has worked on improving various identifiability algorithms as well as extending causal inference results to alternative causal models. He received the quadrennial doctoral thesis award for an outstanding doctoral thesis of the Finnish Statistical Society for the years 2017–2020. He has also developed open-source software packages for causal inference and simulation.

Tiia-Maria Pasanen is a doctoral student in statistics at the University of Jyväskylä. Her focus is on Bayesian spatio-temporal models. She has applied those to analyze grain markets during the Finnish famine of the 1860s, and to study the spread of infectious diseases in preindustrial Finland based on historic Finnish parish register data. In PREDLIFE, she studies the spatio-temporal dynamics of parental leave uptake in contemporary Finland.

Sumia Akter is a master’s student in the MPINVEST programme at the University of Turku. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Khulna University in Bangladesh. Previously, she worked as a research intern on the FLUX project and is currently employed as a research assistant on the PREDLIFE project. For her master’s thesis, Sumia is conducting research on the impact of parental leave reform on continued fertility in Finland. In the PREDLIFE project, she is engaged in research on fathers’ uptake of parental leave and its effects on families.