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Page updated 13.6.2022

RDI is an acronym that Paula Ailio knows all about

Paula Ailio (MSc.) has been appointed as the new Head of the Project Management Office (PMO) at Turku University of Applied Sciences. As a top expert in Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) projects, Paula knows all about funders and funding programmes. She also has a vision of where RDI in universities of applied sciences is heading.

Accidentally becoming a project nomad 

Paula Ailio's career in projects came about by accident. After graduating as a Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration, she started her career in projects at Diak University of Applied Sciences and soon found herself progressing to more and more demanding tasks. 

– Somehow it just got bigger and more challenging, step by step. Once I had mastered one funder and funding programme, I applied for the next, more demanding project. 

Paula is also known in-house as an innovator with a willingness and ability to develop. RDI work requires a forward-looking and evolving approach. Processes are constantly evolving and PMO is always ready to learn something new, whether it's a new way of working or a new funding instrument. 

– I just happen to like continuous development, Paula laughs. 

– That's why I applied for the position of Head of PMO.  I want to be involved in developing Turku UAS’ project activities to become the best in Finland. 

Turku UAS’ projects are successfully coordinated

Turku University of Applied Sciences' RDI expertise is highly valued in the field. The Project Management Office employs just over 30 experts with a skilled and broad knowledge base. PMO is known for its expertise and flexibility; researchers can concentrate on research while project experts take care of the practical side.

When asked about the reasons behind PMO’s success, Paula responds without hesitation. 

– People. 

Turku UAS is a multidisciplinary educational organization with excellent prospects for growth in various funding programmes. Strong regional cooperation between business and higher education institutions, international expertise and the courage to innovate are key elements in bringing the RDI activities to the “next level”.  

– Universities of applied sciences have become a reliable RDI provider. We have earned our place at the forefront of applied research and practical solutions, says Ailio. 

A vision of “Finland's best”

Universities of applied sciences are known for their strong links with working life. The development needs of businesses in the region also underpin the vision for RDI. 

– I see scope for further deepening the cooperation between the universities of applied sciences and businesses in the region. Of course, we also aim at international RDI work, but our primary research partners are from Southwest Finland. 

RDI activities may seem like a foreign acronym to a student applying to a university of applied sciences. This is precisely where Paula wants to enable new solutions. 

– It is invaluable for students to become part of regional networks through projects during their studies and to gain important contacts in working life. 

The experience of studying in a research group or RDI project can open completely new perspectives. 

– Project work offers the opportunity to experiment with different fields, research topics and working models. A research project can open a career path to the most interesting, world-changing fields, Paula encourages.

Let's innovate together!

With a high level of expertise in external RDI funding opportunities, our PMO is involved in nearly 200 RDI projects on a yearly basis.