Since then, Anastasia’s experience of Russian-Finnish cooperation continued up to a similar pioneering position of being the first graduate of the PhD Program on Health and Well-being in the Arctic.
At the end of 2015 the University of Oulu granted a PhD degree in Health Sciences as a follow-up to the public defence of Anastasia’s research results. “In my society-investigating thesis I generated and analysed a large-scale dataset on population ageing during the last 30 years at the national and provincial levels of Arctic countries, applying quantitative methodology of traditional and innovative kind, the latter invented by scholars from the IIASA International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria”.
For those students who study population transitions in the Arctic, rather an emerging area of interest, are there ways to progress into further science after graduation? Certainly yes, as Anastasia’s new updates witness. The experience of being a doctoral student at the program jointly coordinated by the University of Oulu Graduate School, Thule Institute (Centre for Arctic Medicine) and Faculty of Medicine at the University of Oulu allowed, in her words, tremendous opportunities to network with other young scientists and experts in the field. During her 3-year PhD enrolment, Anastasia took part in more than 20 international conferences and summer schools, including an internship with the United Nations Population Unit in Geneva and various activities of the UArctic Thematic Network of Health and Well-being in the Arctic. “My supervisor Dr. Arja Rautio widely encouraged to take part in as many international events as I wanted to expand collaborative network and thinking of not only the current doctoral project but also possibilities for the future. Thanks to such a supportive approach, it became a routine to dive into career- and knowledge-driving courses and apply for related funding”.
A cutting-edge concern for many PhD graduates of Arctic institutions is to find a position that will fit their capabilities and allow for further development of their ideas. Important aspect is not to lose the heritage of data on well-being of Northern populations and environments. Here are now opportunities even beyond the institutions of the Arctic Circle due to the growing interest to the region from the outside world. This spring Anastasia has been employed as a Research Scholar at IIASA, World Population Program as well as newly launched Arctic Futures Initiative (AFI). The IIASA AFI has been created to serve the need for a holistic assessment of plausible futures of the Arctic, integrating research, policy, business, and media.
Under this umbrella, Anastasia will project on population change in the Arctic taking into account human capital variables. Nowadays, projections of population change in the northern localities are often not available, vary widely (between existing attempts), do not explain the socioeconomic reasons behind projected demographic changes, but rather extend recent historical trends into the future. “Significant changes have happened in northern education in the recent couple decades. They influenced tremendously all demographic processes e.g. preferences of educated males to return to their communities while highly educated females move permanently away to cities and from the Arctic regions (e.g. Danish North), migration of youth to pursue education to large urban centers, healthier behaviors, drop of fertility with regard to education, etc. To add the meaning to population projections and the following policy planning we must look to the changing levels of attainment as a crucial factor of future human capital and adaptive capacities of the Arctic. That’s what I am going to work on this year”.