24 months later

I went to Sweden for a year and stayed for two. For those who have not read my previous post, I received a PostDoc grant from Finnish Cultural Foundation to go to Lund University for 12 months invited by Prof. Jan-Eric Ståhl. I flew to Lund via Stockholm and Malmö on Thursday, 15th of September 2016. Prof. Ståhl came to pick me up from the Malmö airport that is about 10 km from Lund. I was lucky to get an apartment directly from Prof. Ståhl, since Lund has overheated real estate markets, and it is difficult to get affordable apartment. The Ståhl-estate is two large farmhouses located on the outskirts of the city centre. One of the houses is renowated to three apartments, that are inhabited by international staff of Lund University. Lund is a semi-small city with 88000 inhabitants, out of which students and university staff make over 50% with 42k students and over 7000 staff.

Homely streets in Lund cente


The most surprising thing was that I experienced no cultural shock whatsoever. The food was the same as in Finland, with one exception, everything was more sweet. Old Lappish saying came to mind, “suolanen ja sakia on köyhän suussa makia”, that translates that “salty and thick is poor mans sweet”. The similarity in dishes made me realize that Finnish culinary culture is completely loaned either from Sweden or Russia. Well, since Finland is not officially part of Scandinavia, one could say that we are part of Scandislavia.

The language was more or less manageable even though the Skåne accent was difficult to understand. The other international staff in Swedish language courses praised my “allmost perfect Swedish”, this was in the second introductory course A2, and the other students asked me how long have I studied Swedish, and my reply totally depressed them, when they realized that my actually quite horrible Swedish is a product of 11 years of studies. One of the Finns I met in Lund who had stayed there for a while, said that it takes two years to understand Skånska.

One thing that I read before I moved to Sweden, was expat experiences from Sweden. It seems that despite Finns’ reputation of being closed and difficult to befriend, Swedes are even more difficult. Based on the Expat Insider 2017 (and 2016 for that matter) Sweden was ranked the worst of 65 countries in ease of making friends. (Finland was 57th) Don’t get me wrong, Swedes really are more friendly and extroverted, but they are even more private, when it comes to letting someone new in their circle of trust. I ended up being friends with other international staff members rather than Swedes.

As I said, I didn’t experience any cultural shock, the city had Fazer’s bakery, the local grocery stores had Valio dairy products and even mämmi was sold during easter. Only thing that kept my life from being complete was, well, what else but Sauna. After trying out the lukewarm saunas in gyms or hotels, I decided to order a tent sauna from Savotta, that immediately after delivery made me the local crazy person. Well, it was completely worth it.

Industrial Production Research Group, IPROD

  • Head of the department Prof. Jan-Eric Ståhl
  • 15 acadeemic employees
  • 15 doctoral students
  • 11 laboratory technicians

Research areas:

  • Manufacturing System
  • Applied Materials Technology
  • Sheet Metal Forming
  • Metal Cutting

    IPROD in Stockholm SPS 2018

Research culture in Sweden had some differences compared to Finland. The research was at the same time more professor centered, but also individual researchers had more freedom to conduct the reserch as they see fit. The thing I was impressed and what I will import back to Finland as well was that everyone from master’s thesis workers to lecturers were applying funding constantly. Master’s thesis workers who managed to get a project, got a PhD position. PhD students who got projects, got more responsibilities and freedoms. The total funding pool gave the research group much more agilitity to venture in new research areas and international collaborations. Another thing that was surprising was that there were very multidisciplinary personnel in the lab. Physicisists, chemists, mathematicians and engineers. That brough a lot of depth and girth to the research, that showed in my personal track record during that time. My research output was total of 9 papers in the two years, and in addition I have enough experiment data for 6 more papers to write.

My future

I managed to secure a two year postdoc position from Aalto University (135 applicants for 5 positions), so I was able to continue my research undistrupted right after I moved back to Helsinki in September. Now that I have done my elementary level postdoc, I can see that I am among 30% of graduated doctors, who have manaaged to stay in academia but not yet secure a permanent position.My publication history starts to look more and more impressive, and now only thing that stands between me and a permanent academic position is funding, that I need to show to the academia, that I am able to attract. My extended year 9/2018-12/2019 in Aalto will show the final verdict whether I have what it takes to stay in research career.

Publications made during my stay in Lund:

  1. Laakso, S., Väänänen, A., Bossuyt, S., & Arkkio, A. Dull Punch Line is Not a Joke – Worn Cutting Edge Causes Higher Iron Losses in Electrical Steel Piercing, Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, 2018
  2. Agmell, M., Bushlya, V., Laakso, S., Ahadi, A, Ståhl, J-E., Development of a simulation model to study tool loads in pcBN when machining AISI 316L. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 2018. doi:10.1007/s00170-018-1673-y.
  3. Huuki J., Laakso, S., Surface improvement of shafts by the diamond burnishing and ultrasonic burnishing techniques, International Journal of Machining and Machinability of Materials, 2017, 246-259, 19, 3, 10.1504/IJMMM.2017.084007
  4. Laakso, S., Bushlya, V., Ståhl, J-E., The correct way of splitting tools – Optimization of instrument design for measuring contact stress distribution, 8th Swedish Production Symposium, SPS 2018, 16-18 May 2018, Stockholm, Sweden, In Procedia Manufacturing, 2018
  5. Sampsa Laakso, Tao Zhao, Mathias Agmell and Jan-Eric Ståhl, Too sharp for its own good – Tool edge deformation mechanisms in the initial stages of metal cutting, FAIM2017 conference
  6. Sampsa Laakso, Mathias Agmell, Jan-Eric Ståhl, The mystery of missing feed force – the effect of friction models and ploughing on feed force in metal cutting simulations, Journal of Manufacturing Processes, 2018
  7. Zhao Tao, Shi Yaoyao, Zhou Jinming and Sampsa Laakso, Investigation of the effect of grinding parameters on surface quality in grinding of TC4 titanium alloy, FAIM2017 conference
  8. Mathias Agmell, Daniel Johansson, Sampsa VA Laakso, Aylin Ahadi, Jan-Eric Ståhl, The influence the uncut chip thickness has on the stagnation point in orthogonal cutting, CIRP-CMMO2017 conference
  9. Sampsa Laakso, Heat matters when matter heats – The effect of temperature-dependent material properties on metal cutting simulations, Journal of Manufacturing Processes, 2017

Posted by Sampsa

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