Get to know us: Kalle Korhonen

In this issue of the series of Kone Foundation employees, we present Kalle Korhonen, Head of research funding.

Who are you? I’m an ageing bureaucrat with a background in research (classical studies, historical sociolinguistics, etc.). Married, with three children, still living the busiest years of life.

How did you end up working for Kone Foundation? Before Kone Foundation I was a scholar who occasionally worked in administration. As a researcher, I participated in an interdisciplinary project funded by the foundation. We looked at linguistic divergence using a combination of approaches from historical linguistics and evolutionary biology. It was one of the high points of my academic career, and also how I got to know the foundation.

What do you do at the Foundation? I’m responsible for the funding and other support provided to research and academic projects. I work with Anna Talasniemi to promote collaboration among academics, artists and other creative types, and I also try to provide support for communications concerning the foundation and its projects. Another important part of my job is co-operation with other foundations and similar entities.

What is the best part of your work? Meeting people involved in the projects and having shared goals despite the fact that people work in very different fields. I also enjoy writing about science and foundation policy, as well as reading, hearing and using different languages. In addition, some of my time is allocated for research, which is very important to me.

And what is the most challenging aspect of your work? Understanding and solving situations when conflicts arise in a project. Increasing the appreciation of (humanities) research and multilingualism in the Finnish society and the world. Finding and showing joy.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why? My mental super power would prevent people from making hateful generalisations about other people or entire groups of people.

What is your motto? It could be this line from Samuel Beckett’s Worstward Ho (1983). It is a great text in many ways, but I’m sure many people are only familiar with this part: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”